Sphaeroides of tuber?

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed Dec 18 06:15:39 CST 1996

At 07:00 AM 12-18-96 +0100, you wrote:
>In a recent message about the subject of Latin diagnoses the
>following was posted:
>>How about this:
>>   Sphaeroides of tuber 5 cm longis in diametre, flowering before the leaves 1
>>leafing 3 leaflet decurrent pinnatatus 4-6 cm longis spathe 30 cm longis
>>spike brevioribus 20 cm longis floret Aprili; leafing Junio. ... typus ...
>My question remains: does this Amorphophallus taxon seem validly published?

Cicero, Caesar, Pliny, et cie. must be rolling in their graves to have such
gibberish as that accepted as Latin by scholars.  The most uneducated
members of the Menarii, Treveri, or Latobrigi could have managed better,
I'll wager.  And they didn't have Wm. T. Stearn to lean on.

In my previous post, I suggested that courtesy dictates that we accept a
diagnosis put forth *in good faith* as adequate for effecting and validating
publication, even if the diagnosis really doesn't diagnose anything or if
the grammar is not so good.  Of course, I was thinking of, e.g., using
dative case instead of ablative, or a feminine adjectival ending with a
masculine noun, or other schoolboy errors.  I have a very hard time
believing that the "diagnosis" quoted above was offered *in good faith*.  It
is my impression that their are Latin dictionaries (ordinary if not
botanical) available for nearly every major language, so unfamiliarity with
English and Latin both (or the Roman alphabet, for that matter) seem to have
put much effort into it.  It seems more a parody of our way of doing things.
Unless perhaps a half-translated early draft was inadvertantly printed
instead of the finished translation?  My diagnoses look something like that
-- a mixture of English and Latin -- as I work through them, Stearn's book
in hand.

Thomas G. Lammers                                       lammers at fmppr.fmnh.org
Department of Botany
Center for Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

More information about the Taxacom mailing list