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Re: Amorphophallus titanum

  • Subject: Re: Amorphophallus titanum
  • From: Alistair Hay <ajmhay@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2011 18:15:32 -0500

I think the point is that not all speces epithets are adjectival, so they do not necessarily have to agree with the gender of the genus.

For example in Alocasia scalprum the epithet is a noun which happens to be neuter: the knife alocasia. An adjectival latin epithet in Alocasia would indeed be feminine:  Alocasia indica: the indian Alocasia.

Aglaonema is a neuter genus, as are Cyrtosperma, Arisaema and Syngonium. So its Aglaonema rotundum, Cyrtosperma cuspidispathum, Arisaema concinnum and Syngonium chiapense when the epithet is adjectival.

In Amorphophallus titanum,  the epithet is not an adjective. I am uncertain but fairly sure it is the genitive plural, meaning "of the titans" or something like that. It does not mean the adjective "titanic".


On 05/02/2011, at 10:50 PM, "Marek Argent" <abri1973@wp.pl> wrote:

Dear Eduardo,
A good point.
The suffix -um is neutral and it fits to all grammatic genera:
Also feminine botanical genera species epithet can end with -um,
the examples are: Arisaema triphyllum, Alocasia scalprum, Aglaonema commutatum, Syngonium auritum...
But indeed, I have never heard another construction like Amorphophallus titanum.
I always wondered why Alocasia macrorrhizos is a proper name, the epithet is of Greek origin,
and I don't know why it is named so. The suffix -os is masculine in Greek, and Alocasia is feminine.
And what do you think about the name Synandrospadix vermitoxicus?
I can't find anywhere what is the gender of the word "spadix". Isn't it feminine?
There is also one important note,
many people erroneously take genera ending with -is as masculine, but it is feminine,
Ariopsis peltata or in other families Iris pumila, Clematis lanuginosa etc. 
Also the genera ending with -as are feminine: Anubias gigantea, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, Cycas revoluta.
But... the pine tree, Pinus seems to be a masculine word, and we have Pinus sylvestris, P. excelsa, P. nigra,
while some other species of pine end usually with -us: like Pinus strobus.
Strange things...
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 4:34 PM
Subject: [Aroid-l] Amorphophallus titanum

Dear fellows, 

I have a silly (but important) question for you. As far as I know, Amophophallus is a masculine word, am I correct?

In Latin, except for the name of traditional trees (Malus, Pyrus, etc), all names ended in -us are male names. So it is correct to say that all adjective epithets in Amorphophallus species  end with -us (A. gomboczianus, A. hirsutus, A lunatus, A. glaucophyllus, etc). 

Why Amophophallus titanum is not A. titanus? Other species with a similar epithet (I don't remember none in plant kingdom, but I know Dorcus titanus - a beetle)...  Wilbert, do you have any reason for this?

Very best wishes,



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