Leo Martin wrote": In passing, Greek also lacks the H letter. The H sound is only heard at the start of a word, and is indicated by an inverted comma placed before the letter and at the top of the letter. I beg to differ. It's true that Geek had no letter for H, and as Leo says the H was indicated by a symbol like our comma ( but it was not inverted; when written like our comma, it indicated a lack of the H sound; when written as a mirror image of that, it indicated the H sound). I think Leo has some orthographic conventions confused with the sounds of the actual words. It's true that the sign for the H sound was written only at the beginning of words, and generally only with initial vowels and the Greek letter transliterated as R. In other words, the sign of H typically does not appear within a word or at the end of a word. Those are orthographic conventions. The actual sounds of the words are a different matter. Leo wrote "The H sound is only heard at the start of a word" and this is simply not true - and it's easily demonstrated why this is not true. Greek, unlike English, has a set of parallel un-aspirated and aspirated consonants. Thus, for the Greek letter transliterated as T (which is an un-aspirated consonant), there is the corresponding aspirated consonant transliterated TH. Ditto for P/PH, C/CH. At this point, if you want to understand this issue, you'll have to forget your fraternity and mathematics Greek; the pronunciations which prevail for the Greek letters in English are very misleading. The main point to remember in following this topic is to remember that Greek had different letters for the aspirated and un-aspirated consonants (many of the modern Indo-European languages of India preserve such a distinction; western languages for the most part ignore it, i.e. have lost it). In Greek words, when compounds are formed, and the first part of the compound ends in an un-aspirated consonant and the next part of the compound begins with a rough breathing (the H sound), the un-aspirated consonant changes to the corresponding aspirated consonant. And in changing, it in effect inserts its H sound into the middle of the word. Thus for words which show this change from the unaspirated to the aspirated form of the consonant, the proof is there in black and white: the Greek letter tau changes to theta, for instance. You'll have a hard time convincing me that the H sound was not preserved even when there are no consonant changes to prove it. For instance, I pronounce the generic name Arisaema for jack-in-the-pulpit (in rough phonetic terms) ah- rees - high'- mah because it is derived from the Greek words for ram, aris, and blood, haima (haima is my uconventional translitteration; I'm using it to preserve the sound; it's typically written in its Latin form, haema, incidentally also pronounced high'-ma). When Leo says "But, if you pronounce genera according to the ancient Greek and Latin, anybody in the plant world will look at you in puzzlement." I agree wholeheartedly that that is generally true, sad but true. I don't hesitate to use the so-called reformed academic pronunciations. Yes, it can be momentarily confusing; but then again, so can using the "correct" botanical name. And we have all learned to live with that handicap. Jim McKenney email@example.com Montgomery County, Maryland, zone 7, where I'm high over the emergence of Arisaema onoticum.