Lycoris, Crinum and other blooms

Jim McKenney
Mon, 08 Aug 2005 08:00:55 PDT
Jim Shields asked: "What is the gender of Leptochiton?  I assume it is
neuter, but I don't really know.  The ending -on in Greek usually equates to
the neuter ending -um in Latin, but is that always true?"

No, that is not always true, and that inconsistency has the source of much
confusion. Mecon (often used in poppy names such as Stylomecon, Hylomecon,
both of these are feminine) and Codon (as in Platycodon, which is masculine
but the popular literature and emails are full of Platycodon grandiflorum
and so on) are other examples.

Chiton is masculine, and in botanical Latin is treated as a third declension
noun: thus, Leptochiton helianthus. 

If you are a stickler for pronunciation, note that the I in chiton is short.
Thus, in a word such as Leptochiton, the accent falls on the third syllable
from the end (the antepenult), which in this case also happens to have a
short vowel: le - PTO - chi - ton. 

Jim McKenney

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