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Amusing link for the day

Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature

Apparently I discovered this a few years back, linked to it, and promptly forgot about it. Nice collection of some of the sillier, ruder, or weirder things taxonomists WILL come up with to name defenseless organisms. I think this is my favorite for the moment...

Amorphophallus (Araceae) The name means something like "misshapen penis" for the shape of the flowering part, or spadix. Various species include Amorphophallus elegans, A. elatus, A. excentricus, A. gigas, A. hottae, A. impressus, A. interruptus, A. maximus, A. minor, A. odoratus, A. pendulus, A. purpurascens, A. pygmaeus, A. rugosus, A. spectabilis, and A. titanum (at heights up to 8 ft., A. titanum has the world's largest inflorescence, and one of the stinkiest.)

I guess when you've got a genus name like that, a certain sort of species names do seem inevitable. (The Huntington has an A. titanum which bloomed awhile back and I went to see it. Whew... Just looked up A. impressus which may be smaller but still kinda fits its name.)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2012 12:47 pm (UTC)
If I recall my Latin cognates properly (mostly from reading, no formal study) it's root word would be "amorphous", shapeless.

Not really an improvement, is it?
Aug. 5th, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
You do, and yes it is. And depending on the penis of WHAT, not so amorphous, either. :)

"A thing's a phallic symbol if it's longer than it's wide, as Freud goes marching on..."
Aug. 5th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )