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Acacalis, Stephanus in synonimis puto inquit speciem tarfe et tarfe est tamariscus.


Acacalis (-lis jp) AC ejp | Acacalis f | Accacalis B | Calis H
synonimis AC p | synonymis H | sinonĩis B | syno͞is e | synois fj
inquit | inquid ep
{et} tarfe | tarfa B
tamariscus | tãarischus B


Acacalis; in his Synonyms {Breviarium} Stephanus says: "I believe this is a kind of tarfe {"tamarisk"}". And tarfe {in Arabic} means tamariscus {"tamarisk"}.


Stephanus in his Breviarium writes: acacalis … puto spe͞m tarfe. [[1]]

Greek ἀκακαλίς /akakalís/, also ἀκακαλλίς /akakallís/ has several meanings. According to Hesychios, a Greek lexicographer of rare words living in the 4th c. A.D., it denotes the flower of νάρκισσος /nárkissos/ {"various species of narcissus"}. It is also found in the R.V. version of Dioscorides, which is often referred to as Pseudo-Dioscorides, ἀκακαλλίς /akakallís/, but with many variant readings in the mss., where it is mentioned as a synonym for ἄρκευθος /árkeuthos/ {"some juniper species"}. But Stephanus was clearly thinking of the word in the usual sense of "gall of the Oriental tamarisk" (LSJ). Dioscorides also has a short chapter on ἀκακαλλίς /akakallís/, De materia medica, 1, 89, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: I.83), but see Botanical identification below.

According to Carnoy (1950: 2), s.v. acacalis, the word consists of the prefix a- and the redoubled Thraco-Pelasgian root –kak- as in cac-tos {"Spanish artichoke"}, a-cac-ia, etc., denoting globular objects and here alluding to the galls growing on the tamarisk. However this etymology is disputed. Frisk on the other hand suspects Oriental (Egyptian) origins but possible folk-etymological influence from the Greek root ἀκ- /ak-/ "pointed" as in ἄκανθα /ákantha/ "thorn" etc., a suspicion Genaust shares, s.v. Acacállis.

Botanical identification:

Following Siggel's (1950: 50) identification: ﻃﺮﻓﺎﺀ /ṭarfāʔ/, ﻃﺮﻓﺔ /ṭarfa/ it is Tamarix gallica L., the "common" or "French tamarisk", see [[2]], but according to LSJ ἀκακαλίς /akakalís/ is the "oriental tamarisk", a vernacular name applied to Tamarix aphylla (L.) Karst. also knows as "athel tamarisk" after the Arabic name of the plant ﺍﺛﻞ /aṯl/ [[3]], a native of northern and eastern Africa, south-west Asia and Pakistan.

Dioscorides, op.cit., calls it "the fruit of a shrub growing in Egypt in some ways similar to the fruit of μυρίκη /myríkē/ {'tamarisk'}", see Murice. He obviously did not consider it to be a true tamarisk, but only a shrub with a similar fruit. Nevertheless Berendes (1902: 107) mentions Prosper Alpinus, the 17th c. Italian botanist, who described the "mother plant" of acacalis in his book: De plantis Aegyptii liber, p. 32ff [[4]] and has an illustration p. 34, which is usually interpreted to be Tamarix orientalis Forssk. or Tamarix articulata Vahl, both are nowadays seen as synonyms of T. aphylla.

Acacallis has survived into botanical Latin for a small genus of South American orchids, commonly referred to in modern taxonomy as Aganisia. Genaust (1996) suspects the naming author to have wrongly associated the antique name with Greek κάλλος /kállos/ "beautiful". Naturally there is no connection between whatever plant the ancients had in mind and a plant that can only have been known after the discovery of the Americas.

WilfGunther 18:57, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

For Arabic ﻃﺮﻓﺎﺀ /ṭarfāʔ/ cf. Tarfa, Tarafa, for ﺍﺛﻞ /aṯl/ see Atel.

See also: Tamariscus

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