Tigridia pavonia & cochineal

johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk
Sat, 13 Aug 2005 00:52:20 PDT
I have looked up cochineal in the dictionary & find the interesting
derivation from as far back as the Greek kokkos, which I take to indicate
the insects that feed on the Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) and from which a
scarlet dye was formerly obtained (a nice account of this is given by Bean
in the account of Q. coccifera in 'Trees & Shrubs Hardy in the British
Isles'). Kokkos turned into coccineus in Latin - a well-known epthet in
botanical nomenclature (e.g. Dahlia coccinea). From here, says the
dictionary, it became cochenille in French or cochinilla in Spanish, all
relating to scarlet.

On the subject of Tigridia pavonia, I am greatly impressed by the selection
'Sunset in Oz' from Ellen Hornig in which the yellow base of the outer
segments is feathered with soft red. Lovely!

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens

Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP

Website: http://www.colesbournegardens.org.uk/
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim McKenney" <jimmckenney@starpower.net>
> Last week, a friend and I were discussing a New York Times article by
> Ackerman about cochineal, the red dye developed by the Aztecs from scale
> insects. I began to wonder what that word cochineal means, i.e. what its
> etymology is. And I was wondering if there was any connection between the
> words cochineal and cacomite (apparently not).

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