Thursday, May 1, 2008

More Botanical Latin

This photo has nothing to do with the subject, but it was one of the prettiest daffodils blooming yesterday. It is called 'Cherry Bounce' and is one of the ones I got from Ireland about 10 years ago.
I was going to try and find examples of each of the Latin words I though of to share, but my whole day yesterday from early to sundown was spent putting our display of plants for sale back together after having to dismantle it to huddle the plants together and cover them to protect them from threatened frost (which didn't happen anyway - but better safe than sorry). Anyway, I'm sure you will be able to think of some, maybe many, that use these in their names. ODORUS is sweet smelling, MOLLIS is soft, ALBUS is white, GLAUCUS is grey, FLAVUS is yellow, AURUM is gold, VIRIDIS is green, ARGENTUM is silver, RUBENS or RUBER is red, CAERULEUS is blue, PURPUREUS is purple. DENTATUS OR SERRATUS is toothed, VERSICOLOR is variegated, NANUS is dwarf, HUMILIS is short or on the ground, LONGUS or PROCERUS is tall, FASTIGATUS is pointed (I always thought that meant skinny), PLENUS is full, ELEGANS is tasteful, PALMATUS is embroidered with palm branches, GLABRA is without hair, FLORIDUS is flowery, PAUCUS is few or little, MUTABILIS is changeable, FOLIUM is leaf, SEMPER is always, VIRENS is green (hence, sempervirens is evergreen), GREX is a herd or a flock and is used sometimes for a group of plants - never though of plants as coming in a herd, PARVUS, MINOR, and MINIMUS are small, smaller, smallest. MAGNUS, MAJOR/MAJUS and MAXIMUS are big, bigger, biggest, SPINOSUS is thorny, RIGIDUS is stiff, FOETIDUS is bad smelling, FILIX is fern, VERNUM is spring, MEDIA is center, MACULA is speck(led), PLENUS is full (double). There are tons more and if you're really interested, Timber Press has a quite thick book on the subject. I haven't gotten it yet, but probably will soon. This is at least a start on understanding just why things are named as they are.

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