This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
N., Cuyahoga Falls, O., says :"I notice that, in several of our best plant catalogues, the Amaryllid, Imatophyllum is written, Imantophyllum. Loudon says Imatophyllum, and this is doubtless right. This name was evidently intended to be descriptive. It is some sort of phyllum (leaf). Imanto is not significant, and of course is not descriptive. Imato is significant. It means a coat (vestment). And Imatophyllum means a coatleaf. Loudon gives no derivation, and I have no authority for this. But it is certainly not a strained one. For, if you strip oft' one of the outer leaves, and invert it, you will find more than a fanciful resemblance to the typical swallow-tail coat. Or if not found, in the absence of older or better, the authority of Loudon, I suppose, is sufficient to determine Imatophyllum to be the right name.
[Botanists do not always tell the reasons for the names they give the plants. Therefore in matters of orthography, unless they be clearly and manifestly wrong, we take the names just as the author of the botanical name gives it to us. In this case Sprengel gives it Himantophyllum, and this we suppose is the oldest orthography. As in the case of Haplopappus, and other words; when it got to London the H was dropped, and then we read of it as Imantophyllum. Hooker we believe to be the first to use it in this form, dropping the n also, and making it Imatophyllum. It is not clear to our mind whether derivation is from imas, a leather thong, perhaps from the strap-shaped leather-like leaves, or from imato, a vestment, as our correspondent suggests.
At any rate, the name might as well be dropped in general use, as we take Clivia nobilis, under the rules, to be the correct name for it. - [Ed. G. M].