Chapter 16B

Botanical Names
What language?
Latin, language of the Romans
Three Latin genders & primary endings:
Not “male” or “female”!
Exception to gender endings?
Many classical trees are feminine,
regardless of ending,
e.g., Quercus, Pinus, Prunus are feminine!
Specific or infraspecific epithet must agree in
gender with genus name:
E.g., for epithet “rubr_” (meaning “red”)
Amaranthus rubrus
Crassula rubra var. rubra
Eriogonum rubrum subsp. rubrum
But, for classical trees:
Quercus rubra
Pinus rubra
Prunus rubra
Epithet for these trees has feminine ending because
genus names are feminine!
What names are Latin plurals?
Rank of families & above (“The Rosaceae are...”)
Commemorative names?
Named after some person or place.
Endings of commemoratives? People:
Genitive (possessive case):
Male: -ii, -i (after r or y or non-a vowel), -e (after a)
smithii, jonesii,
but: breweri, baileyi, montagnae
Female: usually add -e or -ae
barbarae, vanessae, smithae
Use these endings regardless of genus gender:
Amaranthus smithii, Crassula smithii, Eriogonum smithii
Amaranthus smithae, Crassula smithae, Eriogonum smithae
Endings of commemoratives? People:
Add -iana, -ianum, -ianus
Agrees in gender with genus name:
E.g., smithiana, smithianum, smithianus
Because these are adjectives, they agree in gender:
Amaranthus smithianus
Crassula smithinana var. smithiana
Eriogonum smithianum subsp. smithianum
Pronunciation of Latin names?
No universal rules; varies from region to region.
E.g, Pinus in U.S. versus Latin America
Latin itself can be pronounced in various ways.
We will use English pronunciation of vowel
(after Botanical Latin, by W. Stern):
accenting according to Latin rules
pronunciation of short & long vowels as in English.
Latin diphthongs:
two vowel combinations, treated as a single vowel
-ae (æ)
-oe Kallstroemia
-eu Teucrium
-ui Equisetum
BUT: -oe (=oë) if 2 vowels, not a diphthong:
e.g., Aloe (also written Aloë). Monanthochloë
Not a Latin diphthong.
The “o” and “i” are separately pronounced in Latin
But, often like “oil” in English:
Number of syllables in a scientific name?
= number of vowels and diphthongs
Ca ki le
mi cro car pa
Cleis tes
Oe no the ra
Eu ca lyp tus
Py rus
Pa pi li o no i de ae
Cae sal pi ni o i de ae
Rules for syllables?
Tridens Tri dens
excubitus ex cu bi tus
guttatus gut ta tus
sca bra
Ephedra e phe dra
eremophila e re mo phi la
absconditas ab scon di tas
Rules for pronunciation?
Cakile Garcinia
[hard “C” and “G”]
but Cedrus cinerea Gypsophila caerulea coerulea
[“C” and “G” soft if followed by e, i, y, ae, oe]
Cneoridium Gnetales Pteridium Pneumatopteris
[silent first letter]
Chilopsis Cheilanthes
[“Ch” always hard, like English “k”]
Rules for pronunciation?
[“X” at start of word pronounced like “Z”]
[“x” within word pronounced like “z” or “ks”]
[“t” pronounced like “t” or “sh”]
[pronounce both u’s: Car-du-us]
Rules for accenting?
` = long (grave)
´ = short (acute)
1) Last syllable never accented unless only one: max
2) If two syllables, accent always with 2nd from last
(penult), e.g., A` cer
3) If three or more syllables, accent goes with 2nd
from last (penult) or 3rd from last (antepenult)
4) 2nd from last (penult) is accented if:
a) it ends in consonant (vowel short): pe ren´ nis
b) ends in a diphthong (long): a moe` nus
c) ends in a long vowel: al si` ne
d) Otherwise, antepenult accented: dra con´ ti um
How to pronounce commemoratives?
1) As they would be pronounced in Latin
2) As the person or place would be pronounced in
the native language.
E.g., Hesperoyucca whipplei (after Whipple)
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