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Phaleri Plinius tirsum habet longum tenuem ceu calamus in summo florem inclinatum semen simile sisami.


Phaleri AC ef | Paleri B

tirsum AC f | tirsũ B | tyrsuʒ e

longum (-uʒ e; -ũ f) A ef | lõguʒ C | lũgum B

ceu AC f | seu B e

florem (-eʒ f) ef | florẽ B | flore AC


Phaleri - Plinius says: It has a long, thin stalk like calamus {"reed"} and at the top it has a drooping flower; its seed is similar to sisami {"sesame"}.


Simon's entry is a verbatim quote from Pliny, 27, 102, 126, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VII.466).

φαλαρίς /phalarís/, φάλαρις /phálaris/ or φαληρίς /phalērís/ is a derivative of φάλαρος /phálāros/, φαλαρός /phalārós/ or φάληρος /phálēros/ "having a patch of white; with a white spot". According to Genaust (1996: 474), s.v. Phaláris, and Carnoy (1959: 211), s.v. phalēris, the naming motive lies in the white-green glumes {i.e. chaff-like bracts} around the ears in some Phaleris species.

The Greek word and its Latin adaptation phaleris are also the name for the "water-hen" or "coot", Fulica atra L. recalling the bird's bald white head.

The lost of final '-s' in Simon's form Phaleri is unexplained.

The plant is also described by Dioscorides, in the Longobardic translation, 3, 154, ed. Stadler (1901: 440); and in the Greek original, 3, 142, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.151-2) φαλαρίς /phalarís/.

Botanical identification:

Phalaris is a genus of grasses [[1]]. André (1956: 246), s.v. phalēris, cautiously only says that it denotes the smallest Mediterranean species of the genus Phalaris. Authors like Berendes (1902: 356), Jones (1938-63: VII.53), mention Phalaris nodosa or Phalaris canariensis. LSJ name Ph. nodosa and Carnoy, op.cit. and Beck (2005: 244), go for Ph. canariensis.

Phalaris nodosa L., syn. Phalaris aquatica L., "bulbous canary grass" [[2]], [[3]], has a wide distribution covering Mediterranean and Southern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Southern Asia.

Phalaris canariensis L., "canary grass" [[4]], is originally a native of the Mediterranean region, Africa and the Canary Isles, but has now been introduced to most of Europe except the northern countries.

Other Phalaris species are also possible.

WilfGunther 08/01/14

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