gender of -opsis?

Robert Mill R.Mill at RBGE.ORG.UK
Thu Aug 15 09:22:11 CDT 2002

Dear Taxacomers

On Wed 14 Aug Margaret Thayer wrote:
> limbus is a Latin noun mean edge or fringe, so evidently that's what the
> author meant.  It would have been helpful for him to mention that it was a
> noun, but in the three Latin dictionaries I checked (one of them the size
> of a large phone book) I see no indication of there being an adjectival
> form.  It thus appears to be a noun in apposition and unchanging.

Yes, there is an adjectival form of limbus: limbatus, as in Anchusa
limbata Boiss. & Heldr., Boraginaceae, for which I and my
colleague D. F. Chamberlain erected the new subgenus Anchusa
subgen. Limbata Chamb. & R.R. Mill in 1977. The corolla lobes in
this very unusual Turkish species of alkanet are minute or
indistinct, reduced to a fringe, hence the 1849 species epithet
coined by Boissier and Heldreich and our subgeneric name derived
from it.

Whoever used limbus in the zoological name would have been
better to have used limbatus, or, if the genus is feminine as it
appears to be from the other epithets mentioned, limbata. But,
since I know nothing at all about what is deemed correctable in the
ICZN (I only know the ICBN), I will not voice an opinion as to
whether the epithet should be left as limbus or not. Leave it in
limbo, perhaps? :-)

Best wishes
Robert Mill

      (Dr) ROBERT R MILL
      Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
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