more French conundrums

hzenk at PDX.EDU hzenk at PDX.EDU
Wed Feb 23 21:37:45 UTC 2005

> I find it very funny that Vine Maple was called Bois de Diable,
> while the truly diabolical Devil's club, which can rip a hiker to
> shreds, was as far as I know, named something akin to "prickly
> tree".

Are you saying that there is a French term for Devil's Club meaning something
akin to "prickly tree"?  I've wanted to know if there was a French (e.g.
voyageur) term for this plant, but have never found anyone who could tell me
(Devil's Club is unique to the Northwest, though if memory serves there is a
related species farther east and another that is well known as a folk medicine
in Japan).

> > Mathews Dict. of Americanisms has "bois de diable. = vine maple... 1823
> > D. Douglas Journal (1914) 108 This Acer forms part of the underwood in
> > the pine forests... It is called by the voyageurs Bois de Diable from
> > the obstruction it gives them in passing through the woods." And "vine
> > maple..a small tree, Acer circinatum, of the Pacific Northwest, the
> > stems of which are often prostrate."
> >

Amazing.  It really pays to ask the list!  Henry

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