About 1958, the late Professor R. E. ALSTON and Professor B. L. TURNER, both of the Department ofBotany, The University ofTexas at Austin, initiated a general systematic investigation ofthe legurne genus Baptisia. They found that flavonoid patterns, as revealed by two-dimensional paper chromatography, were valid criteria for the recognition of the Baptisia species and for the documentation of their numerous natural hybrids. Later, they showed that the flavonoid chemistry could be used for the analysis of gene flow among populations. At that time no attempt was made to even partially identify the flavonoids which were detected chromatographically. Neverthe1ess, it soon became apparent that the full value of the chemical data for systematic purposes required knowledge of the structures of the flavonoids. In 1962, one of us (T.J.M.) in collaboration with Drs. ALSTON and TURNER beg an the chemical analysis of the more than 60 flavonoids which had been chromatographi- cally detected in the 16 Baptisia species. In the intervening years, a number of chemists and botanists, inc1uding Drs. K. BAETCKE, B. BREHM, M. CRANMER, D. HORNE, J. KAGAN, B. KROSCHEWSKY, J. MCCLURE, H. ROSLER, and J. WALLACE, participated in the devel- opment of techniques and procedures for the rapid identification of known flavonoids and in the structure determination of new flavonoids. In addition, the flavonoid chem- istry of many plants other than Baptisia was investigated.
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