IV: it lives still

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Oct 8 16:45:16 UTC 2002

duane campbell:
 >On Sat, 5 Oct 2002 13:19:59 -0700 Arnold Zwicky

  >> from the 5 october 2002 Palo Alto Daily News, a garden column
  >> (provided by a service, i think, not written locally) by lee
  >> reich, "Getting the creeps", about virginia creeper:

  >>   In fact, the word "ivy" lacks precise botanical meaning, and
  >>   is applied to any number of vining plants...

 >Aside from his mistaken derivation of Ivy League, Lee Reich is also
 >wrong, or at best foggy, about ivy. Ivy is ivy, genus Hedera, and
 >people involved with plants at anything beyond the most superficial
 >level know that.

 >The fields of botany and horticulture can provide an interesting
 >paradigm for linguists. There are in essence two separate parallel
 >languages, and those of us involved in the field slip from one into
 >another almost without distinction, unless we are very careful...

i was going to comment on that.  as someone who grew plants of the
genus Geranium in his garden in ohio and now grows plants of the genus
Pelargonium (commonly called 'geraniums') in his garden in california,
i have trouble negotiating the vocabulary.  calling pelargoniums
'pelargoniums' seems pedantic (like insisting on referring to
tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, etc. as 'fruits' rather than
'vegetables') and probably wouldn't mean anything to non-specialists,
so i end up calling pelargoniums 'geraniums' and geraniums 'true
geraniums' or 'wild geraniums'; 'cranesbill' would be better, but
only plant people seem to be familiar with that name.

on the lily (vs. daylily, lily of the nile, peruvian lily, etc.) and
ivy (vs. boston ivy, swedish ivy, etc.) fronts, though, i am adamant:
'lily' is Lilium, 'ivy' is Hedera.  (i see that the Sunset Western
Garden Book, which is aimed at serious amateurs, agrees with me.)

'daisy' is hopeless, and SWGB doesn't even give it an entry with a

arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)

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