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Driopteris Plinius filicis similis in arboribus nascitur tenui foliorum subdulcium incisura radice irsuta et cetera, hoc nomen videtur compositum ex drio quod est quercus et pteris quod est filix, drioperis scripsit Stephanus et cetera.


incisura C | ĩcisura AB | in cissura e

irsuta AC | yrsuta B e

videtur om. B e

ex AC e | ē ex B

drio quod ABC | drio que e

filix AB | felix C e

drioperis AC e | diriopeis B

et cetera om. B e


Driopteris: Pliny states that it is similar to filix {"fern"} and it grows on trees. It has a slight indentation in its somewhat sweet leaves and a hairy root, etc. This word appears to be made up of Geek drio, which means in Latin quercus {"oak"} and Greek pteris, in Latin filix {"fern"}. Stephanus writes drioperis, etc.


The entry, up to irsuta (= 'hairy}, is a direct quote from Pliny, 27, 48, 72, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VII.432).

δρυοπτερίς /dryopterís/ is glossed by LSJ "black oak-fern, Asplenium onopteris".

Simon's parsing is correct, i.e. this is a compound word made up of δρυο- /dryo-/ "oak" + πτέρις /ptéris/ "fern", i.e. "oak-fern".

Botanical identification:

Precise botanical identification is not possible due to the dearth of information. As said before, LSJ identify it as Asplenium onopteris L. "black oak-fern", which is found all around the Mediterranean Sea, including North Africa.

André (1956: 121), s.v. dryopteris and (1956: 138), s.v. filicula mentions Polypodium vulgare L. with a near pan-European, including Mediterranean, distribution.

Berendes (1902: 473) says that most authors of his time prefer Polypodium dryopteris L. , syn. Gymnocarpium dryopteris (L.) Newman "common oak fern", the result of a natural hybridization, which he claims is "not rare" in the mountains of Northern Italy but has in fact a very wide distribution over the whole of the northern zone.

Berendes also mentions Sibthorp’s identification, adopted by Fraas, Adiantum nigrum L., syn. Asplenium adiantum-nigrum L., "black spleenwort", which is supposedly common in Greece, in fact this fern is also found on most continents, except Australia and Antarctica.

Beck (2005: 327), quotes Asplenium onopteris L. and possibly Dryopteris species.

See also: Drioperistri

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