Oporanthous, its etymology; was Re: Late summer bulbs (was Oporanthous bulbs)

L. Cortopassi - G. Corazza cortocora@gmail.com
Sat, 20 Aug 2016 14:06:45 PDT
Just to create an other neologism we could use "antoporanthous" for the
"pre-spring" flowering plants. It means "flowering in the season opposite
to opōra" (like arctic/antarctic).

Gianluca Corazza, Italy, Z9a

2016-08-20 22:07 GMT+02:00 Jim McKenney <jamesamckenney@verizon.net>:

> Yes, plain English is almost always better than something most people
> won't understand.
> Let me make oporanthous a little easier to understand. I've been using it
> since 2007.
> It's derived from the Classical Greek word ὀπώρα. If your screen does not
> print Greek characters, the conventional transliteration of that word would
> be opōra. In modern Greek it means fruit.Here's the translation given in
> Liddell & Scott, the standard Classical Greek-English lexicon:
> “ὀπώρα…the part of the year between the rising of Sirius and of Arcturus
> (i.e. the last days of July, all Aug., and part of Sept.), the latter part
> of summer;…”
> Sirius is sometimes called the dog star, thus our expression "the dog days
> of summer". And to me, although that's plainer and more poetic English than
> "late summer",  I suspect that most people don't really know why the dog
> days are so called. It's apparently still Greek to most people!
> In my climate, this word oporanthous exactly describes the season of
> Lycoris, Sternbergia, many Colchicum - all bulbs often mistakenly described
> as autumnal.  There are certainly Colchicum which are not oporanthous -
> members of that genus bloom from late summer until late winter. And there
> are Sternbergia which bloom in late winter, and the occasional Lycoris
> blooms in true autumn. But the word oporanthous is useful for calling
> attention to bulb activity in late summer, to call attention to the fact
> that it is something which happens predictably at about the same time each
> year and well before the onset of autumn in late September.
> There is another important bulb season which does not have a familiar name
> in English: the late winter days when snowdrops, crocuses, winter aconites,
> reticulate irises and so many other important bulbs bloom. Karl Foerster,
> in one of his early works ( Vom Blütengartender Zukunft, 1922) uses the
> German word Vorfrühling for this period. That translates literally as
> "pre-spring". I'm sure Vorfrühling falls more gently on the ears of German
> speakers than "pre-spring" does on the ears of English speakers. When I'm
> talking to myself, so-to-speak, I use Vorfrühling.  Someone needs to come
> up with a more felicitous translation for those of us who speak English.
> JimMcKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the dogs
> are panting hard!
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