JARS v44n2 - Names Of Plants: Part Nine

Names Of Plants: Part Nine
Theo Smid
Hayward, California

The botanical names listed in this work follow the latest correct nomenclature known to the author at the time of writing. Several recent books and nurserymen's catalogs have made them available to gardeners. Still, inertia is a powerful anti-force. Pliny the Elder, source of many names of plants, also referred to it in his Natural History XXI, 52. After listing several kinds of foliage used for chaplets, he commented: "There are other kinds also that can be indicated only by their Greek names because our countrymen for the most part have paid no attention to this nomenclature [nomenclature. Though most of them grow in foreign lands, yet I must discuss them, because my subject is not Italy but nature [natura] ."

Since the first installment was published ( ARS Journal , Vol. 42:2), various reactions to it have been noted, suggesting that the following points should be emphasized.

1. As noted previously, English pronunciation generally places the stress on the same syllables as does Latin. Since botanical names are Latinized, it follows that in this field a strong attempt should be made to follow those rules.

In a two-syllable word the stress falls on the first one, e.g. R. album whether it is long or short.

In a word of more than two syllables the stress falls on the penult when it is long, e.g. R. barbàtum , but when the penult is short it falls on the antepenult, e.g. R. amábile . There are two exceptions. When the penult is a short syllable, but it is followed by (a) a double vowel, it takes the stress, e.g. R. pentaphýllum , or (b) the first of two different consonants constitutes a stop, e.g. R. altémans .

These rules apply equally to epithets derived from proper names. Some examples: Elliott becomes R. ellióttii , Fortune becomes R. fortùnei and Nuttall becomes R. nuttàllii .

A correction has been called to the author's attention. The British pronunciation of Falconer is Faulkner; therefore the plant is R. fàlc(o)neri .

2. Apparently the diphthong ae presents difficulty to many persons. Both within the word and as an ending it is pronounced as in algae (al-jê).

Rhododendron Species - W

R. wallaceànum Mill, (of H.F. Wallace, who collected it in Gansu, China, in 1911)

R. wallíchii Hook.f. (of Nathaniel Wallich, olim Nathan Wolff, 1766-1854, M.D. Copenhagen. He was surgeon to the Danish settlement in Serampore, 1807; supt. of Calcutta Botanic Garden, 1815-41; collected in Cape Prov., So. Africa, 1842-43; Tentamen Florae Napalensis lllustratae , 1824; PlantaeAsiaticae Rariores , 1830-32; drawings at BM(NH). Wallichia Roxb.

R. walongénse (wah-)Ward (of Walong in Lohit Valley, s.e. Xizang/Tibet)

R. wàrdii W.W. Sm. (of Francis Kingdon Ward, 1885-1958, M.A. Cantab. Nat. Sc.) Kingdon-Ward, as he preferred to be called, was the most versatile of British explorers in Asia, as a geographer, ethnologist, photographer, professional plant-hunter and author. In 1909 he went to Shanghai as a teacher, but in 1909 broke his contract to travel in Sichuan and Gansu with an American, Malcolm P. Anderson.

The extent of his collecting can be surmised from the following lists of rhododendrons in The Rhododendron Handbook , Royal Horticulture Society, 1980: 1913, N. Yunnan & Tibet Frontiers; 1919, N.E. Upper Burma; 1921, N.E. Yunnan, Yunnan-Sichuan Borders; 1922, Yunnan-Sichuan-Tibet & N.E. Burma; 1924-25, Tibet & Bhutan; 1926, Burma & Assam; 1927-28, Assam & Mishmi Hills; 1931, N.E. Upper Burma & Tibetan Frontier; 1933, Assam & Upper Burma; 1935, Tibet, Assam-Himalaya Frontier Tract; 1937, N.E. Upper Burma & Tibet; 1938-39, N. Burma; 1946, Khasia & Jaintia Hills, Assam; 1948, E. Manipur, Assam; 1949, Mishmi, Khasia & Naga Hills, Assam; 1950, Lohit Valley, Assam/Tibet Frontier; 1953, The Triangle, N. Burma; 1956,W.C. Burma. Wardia, Kingdon-wardia and Wardaster are genera named for him, as are species in 36 genera.

Described as "lean and tough," Kingdon-Ward taught survival in the jungle to British armed forces during World War II and, immediately afterward, was employed by the U.S. to search for the wreckage of planes and the bodies of airmen who had crashed while flying from India to China.

Of his many books the first, The Land of the Blue Poppy (1913) was reprinted in 1973. Some others are: Romance of Plant Hunting (1924), Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World (1930) and Pilgrimage for Plants (1960), all in great demand from book-dealers.

R. wariànum Schlechter (of the Waria region of e. New Guinea)

R. wasónii Hemsl. & Wils. (of Rear-Adm. C.R. Wason, 1874-1941, friend of E.H.Wilson) Ch. "unusually-colored r."

R. watsónii Hemsl. &Wils. (of W.C. Haines-Watson of Chinese Customs) Ch. "sessile r." referring to the position of the lvs.

R. wáttii Cowan (of Sir George Watt, who collected it in Assam in 1882)

R. websterànum Rehd. & Wils. (of Frank G. Webster, 1841-1930, banker in Mass.) Ch. "hairy-stamen r." intro. 1908.

var. yulongénse Philips. & Philips, (of Yulongksi, n.w. Sichuan)

R. wentiànum Koord. (of F. Went, Sr., a Dutch botanist who worked at Buitenzorg, now Bogor, Java)

R. westlándii Hemsl.(of Alexander B. Westland,fl. 1880s-1890s, Kewgardener) Ch. "silk-thread-hanging hibiscus" Westland became asst. supt. of the Botanical and Afforestation Dept., Hong Kong. He collected the species on Lan Tan Island and other plants on adjacent islands. Later he was at Taj Mahal Gardens and in the U.S. in the 1890s. Aristolochia westlandi Hemsl.

R. weyríchii (-rih-) Maxim, (of Dr. Weyrich, 1828-1863, Russian naval surg., who discovered it on the Goto Islands, Japan, in 1853) Weyrich Azalea, Tsukushi Tsutsuji .

R. whiteheádii Rendle (of John Whitehead, 1860-1899, ornithologist who also collected plants in Corsica, the Philippines and Borneo; explored Mt. Kinabalu in 1893)

R. wìghtii Hook. f. (of Robert Wight, 1796-1872, M.D. Edinburgh) Ch. "grand-bell r." Surgeon in Madras; supt of Botanic Garden, Madras; among his publ.: Icones Plantarum Indiae Orientalis , 1840-53, 6 vols.; Illustrations of Indian Botany , 1840:50, 2 vols. Wightia Wall.

R. wilhelmìnae Hochreutiner (of Mt. Wilhelmina, New Guinea, c.4750 m., named for Wilhelmina, 1880-1962, Queen of The Netherlands, 1890-1948, when she abdicated in favor of Juliana)

R. williamsiànum Rehd. &Wils. (of John C. Williams, 1861-1939, who created the garden at Caerhays, Cornwall, and financed several expeditions for plants. Camellia williamsii ) Ch. "round-leaved r."

R. williámsii Merr. ex Copel f. (of a collector in the Philippines named Williams)

R. wilsóniae Hemsl. & Wils. (of the wife of Ernest Henry Wilson, Chipping Camden 1876-1930) Wilson spent 1900-2 in China for Veitch & Sons Nursery, where he was sent especially to collect seed of Davidia involucrata . Among his acquisitions were Acer griseum , Actinidia chinensis and Clematis armandii . In 1903-5 he explored Omei Shan, habitat of many rhododendrons, and Wa Shan. His finds included Meconopsis integrifolia and rhododendrons calophytum, intricatum, lutescens and souliei . (The list of Wilson's rhododendrons appears in The Rhododendron Handbook , RHS 1980, pp. 358-362.) In 1907-9 he was in China for Prof. Charles Sargent and private collectors and brought back, among others, Lonicera nitida , Magnolia wilsonii and Rosa wilmottiae . Later in 1909, while he supervised the digging of 6-7,000 bulbs of Lilium regale , his leg was severely fractured, became infected, and took three months to heal. However, the bulbs arrived safely and are considered to be the source of the world's supply. Wilson introduced about 1,000 new plants, including 60 new spp. of rhododendrons which were distributed among gardens by Prof. Sargent. Wilson and his wife were killed in an automobile accident in the U.S.

The "Wilson 50" — In Japan, Wilson was astounded by the beauty of azaleas that had been developed at Kurume from natives on Mt. Kirishima. In 1917, at his suggestion, John S. Ames of No. Easton, Mass., imported some of them. In May, 1918, Wilson selected fifty varieties at Kurume and had two specimens of each shipped to Arnold Arbor. These burst onto the scene at the spring show of the Mass. Horticultural Society in 1920. In 1926 Wilson added English names to forty-nine of them. About a dozen of the original fifty are still in the trade, but many new hybrids have been created. According to Harold Hume, an earlier lot was exhibited in San Francisco in 1915, but no trace of the plants remains.

Of Wilson's many publications, A Naturalist in Western China (1913), was reprinted by Cadogan Books, London, in 1986.

R. wiltónii Hemsl. & Wils. (of Sir Colville E. Wilton, b. 1870, of the Chinese Consular Service) Ch. "wrinkled-skin r."

R. womerslèyi Sleum. (of John S. Womersley, Eng. 1920-Australia 1985) He was botanist and ass't director in the Dept. of Forests in Papua, expanding the collections from 2,000 to more than 250,000 specimens. After his retirement he served as consultant to the governments of Bangladesh, the Cameroons and Singapore. Among his publications: "Goals and Coordination in Collecting Vireya Rhododendrons," Rhododendron Notes & Records , Vol. 2, The Rhododendron Species Foundation, 1988.

R. wóngii Hemsl. & Wils. (of Y.C. Wong of Ichang, of whom E.H. Wilson wrote: "a cultured gentleman who rendered me signal service during the whole of my stay in China")

R. wràyi King & Gamble (of Leonard Wray, 1853-1942; supt., Government Hill Garden, Perak, 1881; curator, Perak State Museum, 1883-1908; collected plants in Taiping Hills; various expeditions; director of museums, Federated Malay States, 1905-8)

R. wrightiànum Koord. (of Charles H. Wright, 1864-1941, asst. keeper, Kew Herbariam, 1908-29; worked on mosses, ferns, palms and described several Vireyas in publications)

Rhododendron Species - X

R. xanthopétalum Merr. (G. xanthos yellow + petal)

R. xanthostéphanum Merr. (G. yellow + Stephanos crown, wreath) Ch. "bright-yellow r."

Rhododendron Species - Y

R. yakuinsulàre Masam. (Yaku + L. of an island)

R. yakushimànum Nakai (of Yaku Shima = island)

ssp. makinoi (no stress) (Tagg) Chamb. (of Tomitaro Makino, 1862-1957, Japanese botanist)

R. yedoénse Maxim, (of Yedo or Edo, old name for Tokyo) Yodogawa Azalea, Botan Tsutsuii ; intr. into Eng. in 1884, but mentioned in Kinshu Makura , 1692)

var. poukhanénse (Lévl.) Nakai (of Mt. Poukhan, Korea), Korean Azalea; intr. 1905.

R. yelliótii Warburg (of a member of the Finisterre expedition in New Guinea named Yelliott)

R. yungchangénse (yong-) Cullen (of Yungchang Fu, a village, Yunnan)

R. yungningénse (yong-) Balf.f., (of Yungning, s.w. Sichuan)

R. yunnanénse Franch. (of Yunnan Prov.) Ch. "Yunnan r." intr. 1889. Hormöphorum Group (G. hormos necklace, collar + bearing)

Rhododendron Species - Z

R. zaleùcum Balf. f. & W.W. Sm. (C. za- an intensive prefix + leukos white, i.e. lower surface of lvs. gray-white) Ch. "white-surfaced r."

R. zoélleri Warburg (of H. Zoeller, a Ger. journalist who led the first expedition to the Finisterre Mts., New Guinea)

R. zollíngeri J.J. Sm. (of Heinrich Zollinger, 1818-1859)

Other Ericaceous Genera - Z

Zenòbia D. Don (2nd wife of Odaenathus, king of Palmyra) Zenobia was said to have had him and his eldest son murdered in 267, after she seized the throne in the name of her infant son and conquered Egypt and most of Asia Minor. Emperor Valerian's Gen. Probus defeated her forces in Egypt and at the head of his legions conquered Asia Minor. She was exhibited as a prisoner in a triumph in Rome, but then given a villa at Tibur and a pension. Her attributes: intelligence, beauty, unscrupulousness and ruthlessness. 1 sp. Coastal plain, s.e. Va. - n.e. S.C.

Z. pulyerulénta (Bartr.) Pollard (L. powdered, i.e. lvs. covered with bloom)

f. nítida (Michaux) Fernald (L bright)

This concludes the series of articles by Theo Smid, California Chapter member, on the pronunciation, meaning and historical background of rhododendron and other ericaceous species names. The series began with the Spring 1988 issue (Vol. 42:2) of the ARS Journal.