colchicum byzantinum & friends

Jim McKenney
Tue, 06 Oct 2009 12:38:41 PDT
Jerry wrote “???? One of my pet peeves is the misspelling of the word
"cupanii".? This Italian botanist regularly used in his corespondence and
other writing the latinized version of of his name as Cupanus.? Hence the
genative singular would be " cupani,"? with just one "i" .?? Admittedly
verry few people learn Latin any more? but Brian Mathew and others who
should know better consistently use the misspelled version.? “


Jerry, I think you’re being rather hard on those of us who routinely write
cupanii rather than cupani.  Is Gussone’s cupani to be construed as a
masculine singular genitive adjective derived from the neo-Latin word
Cupanus  or is it to be construed as a masculine nominative plural Italian
noun in apposition to the word Colchicum? How do we know that Gussone did
not intend to write cupanii, and that cupani is not a typo? Did Gussone
himself make his intentions clear? 


And would you then say that specific epithets based on the Italian name
Bertoloni are misspelled when they are cited as bertolonii? 


This issue is doubly confusing because in modern botanical usage the –ii
ending is now the standard for the masculine singular genitive forms of
words with stems ending in a consonant (or in the case of non-Latin words,
words which end in a consonant) – and words published with a single –i are
now routinely corrected to –ii when the stem (or non-Latin word) ends in a


To add to the potential confusion,  zoology uses the  –i exclusively in
similar cases.  


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 

Editor PVC Bulletin 


Webmaster Potomac Lily Society







More information about the pbs mailing list