Ranunculus alismaefolius or alismifolius ?

Athanasios at Athanasios at
Tue Apr 15 11:22:27 CDT 1997

Unfortunately, botanical Latin and classical Latin & Greek are quite
different things. Only the latter have a grammar to be consulted and
strictly followed. Grammatically:

1. Alisma is not a Latin word (see Lewis & Short), it is a latinized Greek
word and follows Greek orthography.
2. Alisma, genitive alismat-os, hence Alismataceae.
3. alism*folius is a compound of a Greek and a Latin word. The stem of the
former is alismat-, and if the second word was Greek, the correct
orthography should be alismat-o-phyllon (or alismatophyllum) with the
accent on *to*.
4. Because the second word is Latin, there is hardly any meaning to find a
correct orthography. IT IS AN ARBITRAL WORD and the best solution is to
accept the original spelling.
5. Note also that the ...adjective folius also violates the Latin grammar.
The correct form is foliosus-a-um (see Lewis & Short). Folius is simply an
orthographic variant of folium (plural folia).
6. If folius was standing as an independent epithet, it should be treated
as an orthographic error to be corrected to Ranunculus folium or R.
foliosus. However, it is the second compound of an arbitrary made word and
as such can stand without problem.
7. All that grammatically and providing that the original author didn't
specify her/his intention in some other way.

A. Athanasiadis
University of Goteborg, Dept of Marine Botany, Carl Skottsbergs gata 22,
S-413 19 Goteborg, Sweden

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