Japanese names....

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by rob pnw, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. rob pnw

    rob pnw Member

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    I would like to find a list of commonly used descriptive Japanese plant names. For example...in latin we have 'alba' for white...in japanese names i believe we see 'shiro' used in a similar manner. Beni is, i would guess...used for dwarf growing plants. Does anyone know of handy list of commonly used names....googling is not working well on this one. thanks. r
     
  2. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    In the book " Japanese Maples " by J. D.Vertrees there is an appendices with the Japanese names and there meanings. I realise it mostly applies to Maples, but it is a start. eg. Shira=white. Beni=red.
    I am sure you will find this book in a library.Hope this helps.
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I agreee with the Vertrees reference, I pulled some out for a newsletter I wrote a few years ago, I will paste it here for what its worth. :)
    Beni – red
    Chisio – blood
    Gashira – lion’s mane, lion’s head
    Goshiki – multicoloured
    Haku – white
    Higasu – parasol
    Ichi – one
    Kaede – maple
    Kaku – pillar, tower
    Ko – deep (color)
    Nishiki – brocade (variegated, rough)
    No – of, from
    Sango – coral
    Schichihenge – changeful
    Shin – new, improved
    Ōgon – gold
    Shira – white
    Shishi – legendary lion
    Tai – thick, big
    Taki – waterfall
    Uki – drift, float
    Ukon – yellow
    Yatsubasa – dwarf, compact
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    So Prunus 'Tai Haku' means 'big white'

    What's the difference between 'haku' and 'shira' - you have both listed as meaning 'white'.
     
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lemme get the book and see. :) BRB.

    ok, back. I looked at the list in Appendix A of the book Japanese maples, Momiji and Kaede, 3rd edition, Vertrees. The one I pilfered my original list from, it does list multiple words for the same meaning.
    IE. White can be: Shira, Shiro, Haku

    I checked another little book on my shelf, Charles Berlitz passport to Japanese. It lists the word Shiro for white, no other words suggested.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    'Tai-haku' is written with the Chinese characters tai ("thick" or "big") and haku ("white")

    --Kuitert, Japanese Flowering Cherries (1999, Timber Press, Portland)
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    So maybe the difference is whether written with Chinese or Japanese characters?
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I guess.

    Not that English doesn't have multiple different words that would probably translate to the same word in another language. And I suppose a Japanese person might have a frame of reference that we don't have, that would be used for understanding what seems to us to be a single meaning for multiple different words. Discussions of Japanese cultivar names by western authors rather often indicate more than one possible meaning.
     
  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Yes, the difference depends on the alphabet that's being used. Think about how many words English has for the concept "white." Why is it hard to reach the conclusion that other languages are similar in the sense of synonyms?
     
  10. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    if you buy one dictionary Japanese/English ;English/Japanese is better of course japanese with english character.....in Italy is easy avaible "botanical dictionary" english/latin/italian;italian/latin/english. ex. oak/quercus/quercia ; quercia/ quercus/oak

    ciao
     
  11. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    The Oxford-Duden Pictorial Japanese & English dictionary gives names for pretty much anything you ever wanted to know. The catch is that some of the names are in Kanji (the script that you have to be born to). A lot of them though, are in Katakana which is the phonetic script that translates directly into "a foreign language". For example: stone pine translates to Itaria Matsu-Italian pine. As for colours, Shiroi=white, Shirai=yellow, Akai=red, Aoi-blue, Kuroi=black and I can't remember what green is and its in Kanji. Sorry.
    Carl
     

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