What's In A Name?
David Goheen, Camas, Washington
Reprinted from The Portland Chapter Newsletter
A rose, is a rose, is a rose as the old saying goes. Thus, to us a rhododendron, is a rhododendron, is a rhododendron. But wait...how many of us in talking with friends and acquaintances and, I even suspect some society members, have heard the name rhododendrum?
What is it about the name that is so conducive to changing dron to drum? The name originated from the Greek words rose, rhodos, and tree, dendron. Therefore we have a perfectly understandable designation of rhododendron - a rose tree. But I'll be willing to wager a proteoides against a 'Pink Pearl' that each and every one of us will hear rhododendrum before the next rhododendron show.
What to do? Do we just smile and nod the next time we hear that "rhododendrums sure are beautiful plants" and "I have twelve real nice rhododendrums in my yard?" I say no. I positively vow that the next time I hear of a rhododendrum, I'm going to interrupt the conversation and say, "A rhododendron, is a rhododendron, is a rhododendron."
(Pursuing his pet peeve, Dr. Goheen gave a new trophy to the Portland Chapter Show. A handsome small drum, decorated in red, white and blue, was mounted on edge between a pair of drumsticks on an artistically worm eaten board. The Rhododendrum Award was given to the winner of Class 46 for the "worst" New American Hybrid, truss or spray, showing the poorest genetic qualities in the opinion of the judges. -- Ed)