[Taxacom] endings in -fer and -ger

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Fri Feb 29 15:50:10 CST 2008

Again, thanks to Richard Zander for allowing me to use his Taxacom
account to post this question regarding Botanical Latin:


In Latin there are endings -fer,-fera,-ferum, and -ger,-gera,-gerum,
both meaning '-bearing' in Latin compounds. I see in my English
dictionary that the comparable English ending is -ferous or -gerous.  I
am seeing many species epithets in Latin in the masculine singular in
-ferus and -gerus, after searching in the family Poaceae in the
International Plant Names Index - these endings are perhaps mistaken
applications of English endings to Latin ones.


Since in Latin the -ferus and -gerus ending is not, as far as I can
reference it, standard Latin, should these epithets be 'corrected' to
-fer and -ger in the masculine singular?  Or has 'botanical usage'
arisen to make -ferus and -gerus legitimate Latin endings in the
masculine singular?


Any assistance the readership may provide would be appreciated


P. M. Eckel


Patricia.eckel at mobot.org





Richard H. Zander 
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Missouri Botanical Garden
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