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Re: Plants with funny names (was Re: Dieffenbachia seguine)

  • Subject: Re: Plants with funny names (was Re: Dieffenbachia seguine)
  • From: Jason Hernandez <jason.hernandez74@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2016 09:01:56 +0000 (UTC)

" I may not have fully understood if it was being suggested they might be the same thing/plant/drink."

No. I was giving them as two different examples of plants whose Native American names were adopted by white settlers who had no name of their own for the plant.

Now, re: seguin. The Arawak language of the Caribbean is lost, except for a partial word list compiled from Spanish colonial records. If it should be that seguin was borrowed from that language, it may not be possible to find out what it meant -- if, indeed, it ever meant anything other than that particular kind of plant. I have to add that last caveat because, well, asking what a plant common name means is rather like asking what the word "maple" means. It may be an understandable question for someone from a country where maples do not grow, but the only answer is that "maple" means that particular kind of tree. It has no other meaning.

Okay, I was pretty sure this subject had been discussed before, but now that I search the Aroid-L archives, I can't find it.

Jason Hernandez
Naturalist-at-Large
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