Abstract The content of four tanshinones was determined in different in vitro cultures of Salvia przewalskii. Accumulation of tanshinones depended on the type and age of tissue and could be altered by growth conditions. Differentiated tissues (in vitro cultured shoots, shoots and roots of plantlets regenerated in vitro) contained more diterpenoids than undifferentiated tissues (i.e., the four callus lines). Root was the most important organ for tan-shinone accumulation. The highest levels were achieved in roots of 4-week-old plantlets (5.1-5.6 mg g−1 DW); the shoots used for root induction were maintained on multiplication medium for 2.5-4 years with regular subcultures every 4 weeks.