Балалаева Елена Юрьевна
Национальный университет биоресурсов и природопользования Украины
г. Киев, кандидат педагогических наук, старший преподаватель кафедры украинского и классических языков

Статья посвящена этимологическому и словообразовательному анализу латинских индифферентных ботанических терминов. В частности, приведены способы образования названий родов и видовых эпитетов растений от собственных имен.

Ключевые слова: ботанические термины, видовой эпитет, индифферентные термины, латинский язык, словообразование, этимология


Balalaieva Olena Yurievna
National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine
Kiev, PhD in Pedagogy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Ukrainian and Classical languages

The article deals with etymological and derivational analysis of Latin indifferent botanical terms. In particular, the ways of forming plants generic names and specific epithets from personal names are described. Formants recommended by the current International Code of the nomenclature of algae, fungi and plants for the formation of nomenclature from proper names are given.

Keywords: botanical terms, etymology, generic name, indifferent terms, Latin language, specific epithet, word formatio

Рубрика: Филология

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Балалаева Е.Ю. Etymology and formation of Latin indifferent botanical terms // Гуманитарные научные исследования. 2017. № 9 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: https://human.snauka.ru/2017/09/24415 (дата обращения: 14.05.2024).

Latin botanical terms could be divided on informative and indifferent. Informative names contain certain information about plant (morphological features, form, size, color, taste, smell external similarity, birthplace and habitat, practical value etc.) [1].

Unlike the informative, the indifferent names carry no information about morphological and other features of plants. Indifferent terms are eponyms, formed from the proper names: first names and last names of scientists (mainly biologists) or other famous person. For example: the genus Magnolia is named in honour of French botanist P. Magnol; genus Linnaea – in honour of Swedish naturalist C. Linnaeus; genus Nicotiana – in honour of French ambassador J. Niko [2, p. 142].

Terms formed from the mythological names are indifferent too.

For example, C. Linnaeus named genus Atropa (deadly nightshade) in honour of one of the mythological Moirai or Fates Atropos (Ἄτροπος “without turn”). Atropos was the one who decided how each human would die, and held shears in her hand with which she cut the thread of life (plant are very toxic for people).

The name artemisia (wormwood) is related with the name of the Greek goddess ἀρτεμισία, from Ἄρτεμις Artemis. She was goddess of chastity, hunt, natural environment and protectress of the forest. Also it is possible, that the name comes from the Greek word artemes “healthy” as the wormwood is salubrious useful for health.

Pliny the Elder connects the name of a plant Centaurea (cornflower) with the name of mythical Centaur Chiron who used healing plants to treat various diseases.

The noun achillea (yarrow) is derived from the name Achilles (Ἀχιλλεύς), the Greek mythological hero and the follower of the Centaur Chiron. According to the legend, Achilles was the first person who used yarrow for wound healing.

The name of a plant Adonis (pheasant’s eye) is given in honour of the young man Adonis (Άδωνις), the lover of the Aphrodite. He was attacked and killed on hunting by wild boar. The upset goddess has grown up a flower from drops of Adonis blood as embodiment of young man’s beauty. The myth about Adonis symbolizes dying and revival of the nature.

The name mentha (mint) is derived from the name of the nymph Minthe who was turned into a plant by goddess Proserpina.

Indifferent names can be both generic names and specific epithets [3, p. 232].

  Table 1. Ways of forming indifferent specific epithets 

Part of language
Type of syntactic connection
(Nom. Sing.)
Stipa lessingiana
(Gen. Sing. )
 attribute without agreement
Rugosa raicovae
(Nom. Sing.)
Daphne sophia

Not only specific but also intraspecific epithets can be indifferent to. For example: Chrysosplenium rimosum ssp. dezhnevii.

Both the generic plants names of and specific epithets can derive from the proper names (names and last names).

The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants recommends giving a feminine form to all personal generic names, whether they commemorate a man or a woman [4].

At formation generic names from the names and last names should be to done by following rules:

a) if the personal name ends on vowel (except for -a) or -er ending -a is used: Sloanea;

b) if the personal name ends on -a, ending -ea or -ia is used:

c) if the personal name ends on consonant, ending -ià is used: Sesleria;

e) in the latinized names, or names, formed from Latin names ending on -us, it changes on -a: Dillenia

Specific epithets can be formed from the personal names by two basic ways:

1) adding to the stem of the personal name endings of genitive case;

2) formation of adjectives.

There some rules for the first ways specific epithets formation:

a) if the personal name ends in a vowel (except for -a) or -er, ending -i is added - (as at the nouns of masculine II declensions): Orchis fedtchenkoi

Stipa syreistschikovii, Centaurea angelescui, Cytisus zingeri, Cecropia glazioui, Brasenia shreberi;

b) if the personal name ends in -a ending -ae is added: (as at nouns І declension). Ending -ae is added also, if a specific epithet is formed from the feminine gender and last names: Abutilon avicennae, Crataegus poiarcovae, Primula juiliae.

The feminine names and last names can be used as a specific epithet without changes (in Nom. Sing.): Daphne sophia;

c) if the personal name ends in consonant, ending -ii is added: Triticum thimopheevii, Salvia gontscharovii, Avena wiestii, Abies glehnii;

d) if a specific epithet is given in honour a few persons, endings of genitive case in plural -orum (for masculine) or -arum (for feminine) are added: Artemisia verlotiorum.

While using the second method specific epithets derive from the proper names in the following ways:

a) if the personal name ends in a vowel (except for -a) or -er, the suffix an- and endings -us, a, um are added: Pyrus raddeana, Scilla Mischtschenkoana;

b) if the personal name ends in -a is added suffix -n- (-aen-) and endings -us, a, um are added: Saussurea kitamurana, Adenophora golubinzewaena;

c) if the personal name ends in a consonant, the suffix -ian and endings -us, a, um are used: Thymus marschallianus, Stipa lessingianana, Veratrum lobellianum.

Personal names, adopted from languages with the Roman alphabet (English, French and others) keep the original writing. For example: Jonson, Gilmour, Pourtet.

Specific epithets of plants, formed from place-names, as a rule, are adjectives. They are formed from stem of place-names by following suffixes and endings:

-(i)ensis, e – chinensis, e; australiensis, e; kioviensis, e; canadensis, e; carolinensis, e;

 -(i)anus, a, um – odessanus, a, um; mexicanus, a, um; americanus, a, um; marocanus, a, um;

-icus, a, um – italicus, a, um; britannicus, a, um asiaticus, a, um; germanicus, a, um; ucrainicus, a, um; sibiricus, a, um;

-inus, a, um – alpinus, a, um.

Some specific epithets, formed from place-names are  expressed by noun in the form of genitive case: Aster novae-angliae, Cedrus libani.

Personal names, adopted from languages with the non-Latin alphabets are transliterated by special rules.

  1. Балалаева Е.Ю. Content of latin plant names // Сельское, лесное и водное хозяйство. 2015. № 5. URL: http://agro.snauka.ru/2015/05/2357 (дата обращения: 03.05.2017).
  2. Hrytsenko S.P. Balalayeva O.Y. Latin language for the students-agrobiologists: manual. K. 2008.
  3. Гриценко С.П., Балалаєва О.Ю. Латинська мова для студентів-агробіологів: навчальний посібник. К.2006.
  4. International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code) (online). A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG, 2012. 154. URL: http://www.iapt-taxon.org/nomen/main.php. (дата обращения: 12.04.2017).

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