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Re: [aroid-l] Etymology of AROID <= ARUM <= ARON

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Etymology of AROID <= ARUM <= ARON
  • From: "W. George Schmid" hostahill@bellsouth.net
  • Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 18:55:33 -0400

Hi Ric,
The entry you are referring to is in the Lewis and Short Latin Dictinary:
aros, also aron or arum = wake robin: Arum dracunculus Linn.: quod aron
vocant Plin. Unfortunately, Pliny referred to Arum dracunculus Linn. (not
wake robin = Trillium) that is now called Dracunculus vulgaris, a plant well
known to the ancient Greeks and native to the Central and Eastern
Mediterranean region. The common name wake robin is now exclusively used to
apply to our native trillium (RHS Index) so is not applicable in this case.
What we have here is Latin scholars colliding with botanists. The word aron
first appeared in Theophrastus (b.372 BC - the successor to Aristotle), who
wrote the two important botanical treatises in ancient times. One (On the
History of Plants) is the source of many of our modern scientific plant
names that was heavily referenced by modern botanist/namers like Linne.
W. George Schmid
Hosta Hill - Tucker Georgia USA
Zone 7a - 1188 feet AMSL
84-12'-30" West_33-51' North
----- Original Message -----
From: "Planter Rik" <planterrik@hotmail.com>
To: <aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 1:52 PM
Subject: [aroid-l] Etymology of AROID <= ARUM <= ARON

> Well, I've lost the earlier comments now, but here's the gist:
> A post noted that "aroid" derived from the Latin word "arum," which means
> lily.
> Either the same post or a response said that "arum" derived from the
> Greek "aron" (which is where etymological comments end in most
> dictionaries).
> Another post reasonably asked for the meaning of the Ancient Greek,
> Now, this is me:
> From what I find, the Latin "arum" was more specifically applied to one
> plant, the wake robin (Trillium erectum), the Ancient Greek word for which
> was "aron."  Later, the Latin "arum" was generalized to include all
> Aroid, therefore, etymologically, means lily-like:  "ar[um]" (lily) plus
> suffix "-oid," which means "like or resembling."
> There's my best effort.  Oh, the thrill and inescapable lure of pedantry.
> Ric
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