Anomalies/enigmas of the plant "toloatzin" (and a deity "Tolo")?

Michael McCafferty mmccaffe at
Sun Nov 27 20:03:51 UTC 2011


Florentine Codex (Dibble and Anderson), Book 11, page 147, gives 
"Toloa" as a term for Datura. That would imply, with the endearment 
suffix -tzin attached in your word 'toloatzin', that we are not dealing 
with a verb; 'toloa' here is a noun, and an unusual one, in that it 
lacks an absolutive suffix, the "-tl/-tli" that you see in Nahuatl.

The noun "toloa" (presumed *toloatl*) could be found to derive from a 
verb, although we have a slight problem since there are two verbs in 
the sources spelled "toloa," one meaning 'bend', the other 'swallow'.

Michael McCafferty

Quoting Stewart Felker <stewart.felker at>:

> Greetings! New member here; and while I'm really glad to have found this
> list, I'm still quite an amateur in Mesoamerican studies--so bear with me.
> I'm looking for some insight into the meaning of the Nahuatl name for a
> plant (*Datura stramonium*), identified in textual sources as either
> "toloatzin" or "tolohuaxihuitl" (Codex de la Cruz-Badiano).
> What I am a little confused with is this: I understand that "t?lo?" is
> simply a verb in its infinitive form, usually translated as "to bow (the
> head)," or "to bend"?so at first it would seem that "toloatzin" might be
> very literally translated as "the revered to bend." This obviously doesn't
> sound right. Is there some rule in Nahuatl nominal formation that allows
> for the presence of the infinitive, or its transformation to produce the
> normal translation of "toloatzin" that I see?"the revered bended one"?
> As an addendum to this, in "tolohuaxihuitl," I understand -xihuitl to
> pretty unambiguously signify "herb." Am I also correct to assume that the
> -ohua in "tolohua" is simply an transliterative variant of -oa (thus being
> the same form as in "toloatzin")?therefore "tolohuaxihuitl" is to be
> understood as "the herb, the bended one"?
> Finally, while I know that this is addressed in Romero's monograph *El Dios
> Tolotzin*, I haven't been able to access it--does anyone have any
> information about a deity known as Tolo, and whether he might be considered
> a "hypostatized" tolohuaxihuitl?
> Best regards,
> Stewart Felker (University of Memphis)
> _______________________________________________
> Nahuatl mailing list
> Nahuatl at

Nahuatl mailing list
Nahuatl at

More information about the Nahuat-l mailing list