Botanical anagrams

Jan Wesenberg jsp at nlh.no
Wed Dec 21 05:50:54 EST 1994


A comment to resta at iei.pi.cnr.it (Giovanni Resta)'s list of botanical 
anagrams:

The list is very interesting. One can read from it the history of several 
nomenclatural revisions. Indeed, most of the anagrams from the same family 
are certainly results of taxonomical revisions, where an author has 
constructed an anagram from an earlier generic name in the prosess of 
splitting a large genus into several minor ones. This seems to have been a 
favorite way of making new generic names, especially among taxonomists 
with a sence of humour (and of linguistics as well). The "Filago" group of 
names, for example, are not typos, as suspected by Resta, but a result 
of revisions of the Linnaean genus Filago: at least Logfia (and I think, 
also the two other ones) by the French taxonomist A. H. G. de Cassini (1781-
1832). Similarly, the name Leymus was invented by the German taxonomist C. 
F. Hochstetter (1787-1860) for a new genus established from the Linnaean 
genus Elymus. One should be able to track down the history of the other 
anagrams as well, using the author index of a flora which has such an 
index (or a book like Mabberley's Plant Book).

Perhaps it would be useful to make a version of the list indicating the 
original names and the derived ones, as well as the authors. And maybe there 
are more anagrams to be found if one searched from a larger database?

The anagrams which belong to different families, however, must be largely 
coincidents. 

The Corydalis and Cytisus entries: aren't these identical, or do I have to 
read them once more?



Jan Wesenberg
Agricultural University of Norway
Department of Biology and Nature Conservation



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