Editor's Note
This study used a combined untargeted and targeted approach to investigate different Apiaceae plants species by merging high‐performance thin layer chromatography image analysis and pattern recognition methods which were used for fingerprinting and classification of 42 different Apiaceae samples. The authors conclude that using chemometrics tools for evaluation of fingerprints reduced expense and analysis time, and that proposed method can be adopted for routine discrimination and evaluation of the phytochemical variability in different Apiaceae species extracts.
Introduction
Species of Apiaceae are used in folk medicine as spices and in officinal medicinal preparations of drugs. They are an excellent source of phenolics exhibiting antioxidant activity, which are of great benefit to human health. Discrimination among Apiaceae medicinal herbs remains an intricate challenge due to their morphological similarity.

Objective
In this study, a combined “untargeted” and “targeted” approach to investigate different Apiaceae plants species was proposed by using the merging of high‐performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC)‐image analysis and pattern recognition methods which were used for fingerprinting and classification of 42 different Apiaceae samples collected from Egypt.

Methodology
Software for image processing was applied for fingerprinting and data acquisition. HPTLC fingerprint assisted by principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA)‐heat maps resulted in a reliable untargeted approach for discrimination and classification of different samples. The “targeted” approach was performed by developing and validating an HPTLC method allowing the quantification of eight flavonoids.

Results
The combination of quantitative data with PCA and HCA‐heat‐maps allowed the different samples to be discriminated from each other.

Conclusion
The use of chemometrics tools for evaluation of fingerprints reduced expense and analysis time. The proposed method can be adopted for routine discrimination and evaluation of the phytochemical variability in different Apiaceae species extracts.