Call to restore Indigenous names for plants and animals

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by Junglekeeper, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  2. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    I think this idea has much merit. Many plants are being given new botanical names these days anyway so it may be an opportune time to choose names that reflect their importance in indigenous cultures. Until I read the article below, I had no idea of what is involved in changing plant names.

    Pacific Horticulture Society | Why Plant Names Change

    Something to keep in mind is that the new names should be relatively accessible. I'm thinking of a small new park nearby which has been named “Es-hw Sme~nts" which has a lot of cultural significance but is almost impossible to pronounce, spell - or remember.
     
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  3. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    The Code has been challenged on a regular basis in the past with similar proposals. It's interesting that its Preamble has already directly addressed this in advance:
    Personally I feel there is very, very strong value in finding ways to restore respect for indigenous traditions, but as someone who has worked in the trenches and relied heavily on one worldwide, universally agreed upon system for plant names, I feel the authors there don't really realize the scope of what they are asking for or the repercussions if their request were granted.
     
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  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  5. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Not sure about this.Whilst I love to find out what plants are called in their native countries,think about how confusing our common names for plants are.This is also the same in other countries with different regions having different names and duplicate names etc.They are often as confused as we are.
     
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Having read the article and the posts below, IMO 'leave well alone'!!! Because how far back is an indigenous name. For England ie, Saxon, Early Briton, Roman, Norman etc etc etc. Then there are local dialects and customs to take into consideration.
    The plant world can be very confusing with all the names given locally and especially with maples and don't get me started with Latin, lol.
    In my career there was a saying when new people came in to change things 're inventing the wheel'. Nothing different they just gave it a new title to make it look like it was something new. Basically it just confused everything, as would giving new/old names to plants however ancient the name might be.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I don't think we should be changing scientific names, but there is a very strong case for using indigenous vernacular names rather than imported 'colonial' names that are frequently misleading and inaccurate over identification, and/or may be offensive to indigenous people. So e.g. Cryptomeria japonica should be called Sugi (スギ), and not 'Japanese Cedar' (i.e., "Cedrus japonica").

    The difficulty will come with species with a wide range covered by multiple indigenous languages; which Native American language would one use for a new vernacular name for Juniperus virginiana, to replace the erroneous naming as a 'cedar'?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  8. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Agree with you on those 'colonial' names Micheal,irritate me too.....and then there's the translation problems adding to it.Eg Chinese plum/Japanese apricot,that word doesn't even mean plum and is used with many other plants....Wintersweet & Bougainvillea are just two of them.
     

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