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Re: Dieffenbachia

I wouldn't be surprised that it is actually based off that word, and all sources I could quickly find listed its meaning as obscure, with one mentioning it could be based off "seguin" as you suggested.

The answer may be in the original description, but that is from 1760 as Arum sequine Jacq. Even if it didn't completely describe the etymology it may say if the original description was of a plant from a specific set of islands, like Grenada, in which case you may have as direct an answer as you will get.

I don't have a chance to look, but there may be a copy of that description scanned somewhere on the internet. I've found scans from a similar period for other species so not impossible, especially as more herbariums are print their catalogs online.

Reading the lesson description may be a whole other set of issues though ;)


On Nov 8, 2014 9:44 PM, "John Criswick" <criswick@spiceisle.com> wrote:

Here in Grenada the native Dieffenbachia species is D. seguina.


I perhaps would not have thought very much about this were it not for the fact that Grenadians call these wild dieffenbachias, âseguinâ, pronounced âsigginâ. Iâm aware that the name Seguina could be a surname, and the species simply named after someone with that surname. But if that were the case, it is hardly likely that this surname would have entered the vocabulary of the French patois-speaking planters and slaves of Grenada.


Therefore I am wondering what is the significance of this specific name âseguinaâ and also why do Grenadians call dieffenbachias âsigginâ. Is anyone able to supply this information please?


John Criswick.



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