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Onitis est secunda species origani earum quas Dyascorides describit.


Onitis ABC f | Onithis ms. e

describit ABC | scribit ms. e | dicit f


Onitis is the second kind of origanum {"oregano, marjoram"} of those that Dyascorides describes.


Onitis refers ultimately to Dioscorides Longobardus, 3, 29, ed. Stadler (1899: 29), where it says: Onitis dicitur [ab] aliud genus origani, cujus folia alba sunt et similia ysopi. Semen ejus in capite collectum est – "Onitis is said to be another kind of origanum whose leaves are white and similar to hyssopus. Its seed is gathered in the {flower-} head".

The original Greek Dioscoridean text is in 3, 28, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.38-9) [[1]].

The word onitis, a loan from Greek, is also mentioned in Pliny, 30, 175 and in Pseudo-Apuleius, 123, Herba Origanus, ed. Howald (1927: 209), in an interpolation from Dioscorides [[2]]. Carnoy (1959: 194), s.v. onītis believes the word means «plante pour ânes» "plant for donkeys" - cf. Greek < ὅνος /ónos/, because origanum plants had a low reputation in ancient Greece, but this etymology is disputed.

Botanical identification:

The word ονῖτις /onîtis/ is glossed by LSJ as "pot marjoram", Origanum Onites L. [[3]], whereas Berendes (1902: 283), thought it was Origanum vulgare var. creticum (L.) Briq., a synonym of Origanum vulgare L., the "Cretan origanum" [[4]].

Wilf Gunther 08/05/2014

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