Patron saint of Lapeirousia

Rodger Whitlock
Sun, 05 Feb 2012 14:24:18 PST
On 5 Feb 2012, at 8:06, Jim McKenney wrote:

> we had already established without contention that the genus was named for Picot
> de Lapeyrouse.By then the issue (for me at least) had moved on to the question
> of why the name was spelled the way it is.

At one time, the international code for the naming of plants specified that the 
name was the name as originally published, whether or not it was good Latin or 
not, whether or not it agreed with the spelling of the eponym.

However, one edition of the code in relatively recent years changed this in two 

1. names had to be good Latin, hence Crocosmia masonorum, named after the 
Masons (note plural) became C. masoniorum. Something to do with the correct 
Latinisation of Mason (if there is such a thing) would be "Masonius", not 

2. Names had to be spelled in agreement with the eponym.

[Warning: I'm running on dimly recollected mentions in the horticultural 
literature. I reserve, as always, the right to be spectacularly wrong. 
Corrections are welcome.]

My own opinion is that such changes were b.s. Though Latinate in form, 
botanical names are really just arbitrary, often made-up words and it is silly 
to expect them to conform to the linguistic conventions of the ancients.

It may be that these provisions have since been reversed.

Historical side note: there was an English botanist in the late 1700s or early 
1800s who was very much of the opinion that botanical names were arbitrary. He 
made up generic names that meant nothing at all, though Latinate in form. 
Somewhere along the line, his commonsense, clear-sighted approach was rebuffed 
by the classicists and his names declared invalid.

I don't remember the name of this offender against classical rectitude; can 
someone fill in the knowledge gap, please?

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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