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Tropogogon quam alii comum vocant caulem habet parvum foliis croci radice longa dulci super caulem calice lato nigro nascitur in asperis et cetera, Plinius.


comum (-muʒ e; -mũ AB) AB ef | cõium C

foliis AC ef | foliũ B

plinius & cet́́. B | &c. plinius (Pli. A) A f | &c. Pli. &c. C | &c, Plinius ms. e


Tropogogon, which other people call comum, has a small stem with leaves {like those} of crocus {"saffron"}, with a root that is long and sweet and on top of the stem there is a broad dark calyx. It grows in rough places etc. This is according to Pliny.


Simon's entry is an excerpt from Pliny, 27, 117, 142, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VII.478): Est et tragopogon quem alii comen vocant, caule parvo, foliis croci, radice longa dulci, super caulem calice lato nigro. nascitur in asperis … which Jones (1938-63: VII.479) translates: "There is also tragopogon, called by some come, with a small stem, leaves like those of saffron, a long, sweet root, and at the top of the stem a broad, dark calyx. It grows on rugged soils, ..."

The excerpt shows some transmissional corruption:

Tropogogon < τραγοπώγων /tragopṓgōn/, lit. "goat's beard", suffered a "p/g" metathesis *trapogogon and furthermore perseverance of the vowel 'o' > tropogogon. Comum is a misreading of comen, from Greek κόμην /kómēn/, the accusative sg. of κόμη /kómē/ "hair of the head or of the beard" (LSJ) but often referring to "fine foliage or plant structure".

For further commentary and the botanical identification see Tragopone.

WilfGunther 19/09/2013

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