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Tragopone Dyascorides quam multi comi vocant herba est habens virgam in medio et folia similia croco radix est illi longa et dulcis in qua virga profert semen nigrum hec a multis comeditur et cetera.


Whole entry missing in p
comi (-mĩ? C) AC | comin B e Diosc. Longob. | corim f {'min' misread as 'rim'} | comiu? j | κόμην /kómēn/ Graece
quam | quem f
virgam | virgas ul’ virgã j
radix | radi. B
hec AC | hʼ ms. e | hoc B | om. fj
et cetera om. ef


Tragopone, Dyascorides says, {is a plant} which many also call comi {"head hair or beard; also: foliage or fine-haired structure"}; it is a herb that has a stalk {virga – lit. "branch"} in the middle, and leaves similar to crocus {"saffron"}; it has a long and sweet root, from which the stalk produces dark seeds. This plant is also eaten by many.


Simon's entry is a near verbatim excerpt from Dioscorides Longobardus, 2, 129, ed. Stadler (1899: 227) De tragopone {printed with Stadler's correction as tragopo<go>ne} [[1]].

The Greek original can be found in 2, 143, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: I.212), τραγοπώγων• οἱ δὲ κóμην /tragopṓgōn hoi dè kómēn/ "tragopogon, some call it kómē" [[2]].

< Greek τραγοπώγων /tragopṓgōn/, a compound noun consisting of the compound form of τράγος /trágos/ {"he-goat"} + πώγων /pṓgōn/ {"beard"} > "goat's beard". The elimination of the syllable go in Simon's form had already occurred in Simon's source text, i.e. Dioscorides Longobardus: *tragopogone > tragopone.

is the itacist pronunciation of κόμη /kómē/ > /kómi/ "hair of the head or of the beard" (LSJ) but often referring to "fine foliage or fine-haired plant structure".

Presumably because of the different authors of his source material, i.e. Dioscorides and Pliny, as well as the phonetically different outcomes of the corruption which the word tragopogon suffered in the course of transmission, i.e. tragopone and tropogogon, Simon does not seem to have recognised that he was dealing twice with the same plant and with an essentially identical botanical description; and he therefore has two separate entries Tragopone and Tropogogon q.v. Evidently both Pliny and Dioscorides used the same source material here.

Botanical identification:

Concerning the identification of tragopogon there is a consensus that it is Tragopogon porrifolius L. [[3]], [[4]] {click on: Tragopogon porrifolius. Observe how on several photos certain features can be imagined as resembling a goat-buck's beard} "salsify"; cf. André (1985: 263) and Berendes (1902: 230), who also mentions a second possible species Tragopogon crocifolium L. [[5]]. This fits in well with the statement in both texts that tragopogon has leaves like crocus [[6]].

Both plants' leaves and roots are edible and both have a Mediterranean distribution. [[7]].

WilfGunther 19/09/2013

See also: Tropogogon, Laiet

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