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Ancient Plant-Names1

Nature volume 101, page 186 (09 May 1918) | Download Citation



THE antiquity of plant-names needs no proof. We read in Genesis how man, early in his career, came to designate living things, and learn the name of the tree from which he improvised his first raiment. Semitic tradition is corroborated for other regions by Chinese ideographs which admit of comparative study and by Aryan vocables that lend themselves to ethnic generalisation. The results of the study of ancient plant-names are only satisfactory when the incidence of the names is assured. But assurance is not easily attained. The work calls for the exact knowledge of the scholar, the historian, the ethnologist, and the naturalist. The requisite combination cannot always be secured.


  1. 1.

    "On Some Ancient Plant-names.” III., By Journal of Philology, vol. xxxiv., pp. 290–312.

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