names of people and plants

Brian Whyer
Fri, 11 Apr 2003 02:16:31 PDT
I try to pronounce botanical latin with all vowels short and equal,
except for a few that sound wrong, or rude, in English. i.e. Pinus and
Picea are better with a long i, and i is also sometimes pronounced as an
e, so you have another choice. I cannot see a good reason for trying to
echo the name of the commemorated person, as for some oriental, eastern
European or Asian names I have no idea how they might be pronounced, and
in my limited worldly travels I found names of artists or composers I
thought I knew well, are even spelled differently in some countries. I
am sure people who do not have English as a first language, or at all,
would have quite a different viewpoint to me. I don't recall being
corrected in the Cape when I said clivia with 2 short i's, but I was
when I said disa with i as an e. A local river on the Cape is the Disa
with a long i.

"Mingies" is (I think) pronounced as in Ming dynasty, with a Scottish
accent of course.

Another problem is when the common and latin name are the same, e.g.
aubrieta, 3 syllables in common usage, 4 in botanical latin.

But who I am to comment with an uncommon name like mine, that people
hesitate over.

Brian Whyer, (as in wire) zone 8'ish, Buckinghamshire, UK

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
[] On
> Behalf Of Diane Whitehead
> Sent: 11 April 2003 04:24
> To: Pacific Bulb Society
> Subject: [pbs] Re: names of people and plants
> I like to honour the person whose name is commemorated by pronouncing
> a plant name like the person's name.  So, since Clivia was named for
> Clive, I use a long i.
> People think I'm a bit strange when I talk about MacAdamia nuts
> instead of Maca dame ia nuts.
> You can't always tell about names, though.  Some of our common
> Pacific Coast plants were named for Menzies, but apparently in
> Scotland, where he came from, his name is pronounced something like
> 'Mingies', and I'm not sure whether that should be a hard or soft g.
> I still pronounce the z.
> --
> Diane Whitehead  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
> maritime zone 8
> cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
> sandy soil
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