Tulipa orithyioides and T. pulchella (more dwarf tulips)

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Tue, 02 Mar 2004 08:19:11 PST
Mark McDonough wrote:

>Curious to learn what the epithet "orithyioides" indicates, the only thing I 
>could find is a bit of greek mythology: "Orithia (or Oreithyia) was a
>of the Amazon Queen Marpesia.

I have not checked out Vvedensky's notes, but here's my guess: 

The form of the word, orithyi + oides, suggests that it is named for or
being compared to something else: is there, for instance, a Tulipa
orithyia? If so, then orithyioides indicates a similarity to that putative

Incidentally, the spelling of the word is unorthodox: four separately
pronounced  vowel sounds in a row (y, i, o, i; remember, oi in Latin does
not equal oi in English ) is very peculiar. A more traditional orthodox
spelling would be orithyjoides, where the j represents not the sound of the
English j but the "consonental i sound" (like j in German).

But don't forget that botanists don't have to follow traditional grammar -
they have their own rules.

In addition to the great story Mark told about the name, I can add a bit
more (but nothing to equal Amazon Queens): the name orithyia looks like it
comes from the words for mountain and a resinous tree, juniper or cedar for
instance. That's an apt name for someone who shows resliiance and

Here's a sort of mnemonic: the part of the name which refers to the cedar
is thyia. Most of you know this as Thuja. Greek upsilon is sometimes given
as u and sometimes given as y. For an explanation of the j, see above. If
you pronounce Thuja as thoo-ya, this might make more sense. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland zone 7 where we had light rain this morning and
are now enjouing temperatures above 60 degrees F. 

At 10:53 PM 3/1/2004 EST, you wrote:
>The two photos recently posted to the Pacific Bulb Society - Tulipa page are 
>terrific.  I have comments on each.  The photos are located at:
>The photo by Jane McGary of Tulipa orithyioides Vved. has me intrigued.  The 
>plant looks akin to T. polypetala, with white flowers, yellow center, and 
>backs of outer tepals an olive color suffused mauve-ish.  But the
similarity ends 
>there as surely the stiffly upright foliage and more starry flowers render a 
>distinctive look apart from polychroma.  Based on an IPNI search, I come up 
>with the spelling "orithyioides" for the species.  It's hard to tell from
>photo, but I must ask; Jane, are the stems multiflowered?  If so, perhaps
it's in 
>the Biflores section similar to T. polychroma.  Also, are the flowers 
>scented?  T. polychroma is heavenly perfumed.
>Curious to learn what the epithet "orithyioides" indicates, the only thing I 
>could find is a bit of greek mythology: "Orithia (or Oreithyia) was a
>of the Amazon Queen Marpesia. When her mother was killed by Asian
>her mother's position fell to her. She forged an alliance with Sagillus,
>of Scythia, who sent his son with an army to help Orithia avenge her
>death."  Is there a relation between this and the species name?
>Dave Brastow posted a gorgeous photo of Tulipa pulchella var humilis... 
>thanks Dave!  The naming of this species is contentious, most often seen
the way 
>Dave labeled it.  I think today it is recognized as T. pulchella (Fenzl at 
>Regel) Baker.  But horticulturally, there are two distinct forms, one with
blue to 
>black centers, and another with yellow centers.  I believe these are
>to Hoog & Dix's Tulipa humilis 'Violacea Black Base" and T. humilis
>Yellow Base" respectively, but I'm just guessing.  Anyone care to attempt 
>clarifying the naming of the tulips in the "humilis" alliance?
>Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States 
>antennaria@aol.com "New England" USDA Zone 5
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