Essential oils from fruits, stems and leaves and roots of Pimpinella aurea DC., P. corymbosa Boiss., P. peregrina L. were analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques. Fruits and aerial parts of P. puberula (DC.) Boiss were also evaluated. A total of 140 different compounds were identified, and significant qualitative and quantitative differences were observed among the samples. In fact, the main constituents of each species were different and only the oils extracted from roots shared the same principal compound, epoxy pseudoisoeugenyl-2-methyl butyrate (26.8-42.8%). The other fractions were dominated by different sesquiterpene compounds although in three of them, P. aurea stem and leaves, P. puberula fruits and P. puberula stems and leaves, monoterpene constituents also appear as main ones. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.