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(818 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle) | Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] With around 30 different species, oaks are by far the most common deciduous trees in the natural vegetation of the countries around the Mediterranean. As such, the Greeks gave them the collective Indogermanic name for a tree δρῦς ( drŷs) which was already documented in linear B, as well as special names to distinguish between them. Thus the name for the sacred oak oracle of Zeus in Dodona varies between δρῦς and φηγός ( phēgós), whilst in Latin it is consistently called quercus. This refers to the ‘Trojan oak’, Q uercus troiana [1. 385-391]. The most detailed and reliab…


(448 words)

Author(s): Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] (ὑάκιντος; hyákinthos). The name of the plant hyákinthos with its pre-Greek suffix [1. 510] denotes several flowers with clusters of crimson (blue, but also red) blossoms. Due to its natural realism, archaic Greek literature allows definite identifications: The hyákinthos growing wild in the mountains mentioned by Homer (Il. 14,348) and Sappho (105b Voigt) is the squill, Scillabifolia L., an odourless plant of the lily family up to 20 cm tall with blue flowers that can cover large areas with intense colour on some mountain ranges in So…


(251 words)

Author(s): Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] The most common species of ash in the Mediterranean is the flowering ash, Fraxinus ornus L., which is widespread in warmer locations reaching far to the south; less common is the higher-growing ‘narrow-leafed ash’, Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl, that requires more moisture. The ‘common ash’, Fraxinus excelsior L., that is the most frequent and highest growing one in the rest of Europe, retreats in easterly direction to north-facing mountain slopes because of its great need for water (in the south it reaches to the central Apenni…


(620 words)

Author(s): Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] The names μήκων/ mḗkōn (Greek) and papaver (Lat.) denote in the proper sense (1.) red-flowered poppy species, which grow wild in fields (i.e., the field poppy, Papaver rhoeas L.) and which were eaten immature before harmful alkaloids accumulated in them (with purgative effect: Theophr. Hist. pl. 9,12,4; for more on this and on medical use [1. 2440f.]); (2.) the yellow-flowered horned poppy, Glaucium flavum Crantz, which grows on coasts, and related species (Theophr. ibidem 9,12,3; [1. 2442f.]); (3.) the garden or opium poppy, Papaver somniferum L., cultivated in…


(768 words)

Author(s): Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] (λωτός/ lōtós, Lat. lotos, -us). The plant name, which is also attested in Semitic, refers among the Greeks of Asia Minor from the 8th cent. BC to several species from the families of the water lilies ( Nymphaeaceae) and the crowfoot plants ( Ranunculaceae) with round leaves, radial symmetrical individual blossoms and storage roots rich in starch. The identification of the Homeric forage plant lotus (Hom. Il. 2,776; 12,283; 14,348; 21,351; Od. 4,603) with species of clover, which [1. 1530] rightly criticized already in 1927, probably goes back…

Crocus, [2]

(231 words)

Author(s): Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] The genus Crocus (the word κρόκος/ krókos is Pre-Greek with Semitic analogues) has its greatest diversity in Anatolia with 32 species. The extraordinary splendour of the colour of mass occurrences in the mountains (first on the bed of the Gods on Mount Ida, Hom. Il. 14,348, with the yellow endemic Crocus gargaricus [1. 74f.]); the use of the stamen as spice, medicine, dye and perfume and its popularity as a cultivated and garden plant secured the crocus general fame in mythology and daily life in all of Graeco-Roman antiquity (ref…


(449 words)

Author(s): Herzhoff, Bernhard (Trier)
[German version] (Greek ἐλάτη/ elátē, Latin abies; but Ancient Greek elate is never 'spruce'). Eleven species of fir, some of uncertain taxonomy, are today distinguished in the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean countries, their development variously explained partly by clinal variation and geographical isolation, partly by natural bastardization ([1. esp. 7-10] with figs. and area maps). Beyond the Graeco-Roman cultural sphere, the West Himalayan Fir ( Abies pindrow Royle) was discovered during the campaigns of Alexander the Great (Arr. Anab. 4,21,3; Str…