This section is from the book "The Florists' Manual", by William Scott. Also available from Amazon: The Florist's Manual.
Copyright 1904, Florists' Publishing Co.
Frequent inquiry as to the correct pronunciation of plant names has led us to compile the following list of names, selecting those in most common use in the trade, and including botanical terms most frequently met with in articles upon plant culture.
As many names of plants are derived from Greek roots, we feel sure the following brief list of Greek root words, covering only those most readily recognized in names in common use, will be helpful.
Ampelos-A vine. Anthemon-A flower. Anthera-An anther. Argyros-Silver. Bios-Life. Botrys-A cluster. Brachys-Short. Calos-Beautiful. Cephale-A head. Chamae-Dwarf. Chlamys-A cloak. Chloros-Green. Chroma-Color. Chrysos-Gold. Codon-A bell. Cyanos-Dark blue. Cyathos-A cup. Dactylos-A finger. Deca-Ten. Derma-Skin. Didymos-Twin. Dolichos-Long. Dory-A spear. Dracon-A dragon. Echinos-A hedgehog. Erythros-Red. Gala-Milk. Glossa-A tongue. Glottis-A mouth. Gonos-Offspring. Gyne-A woman. Hedys-Sweet. Helios-The sun. Hemera-Day.
Hemi-Half. Hesperos-Evening. Hymen--Marriage. Hyper-Above. Hypo-Beneath. Lycos-A wolf. Macros-Long. Micros-Little. Monos-One. Myrios-Countless. Nephros-A kidney. Odontos-A tooth. Ornithos-A bird Oxys-Sharp. Pachys-Thick. Pedilon-A shoe. Peri-Round. Petalon-A petal. Philos-Fond. Phlebos-A vein. Phyllon-A leaf. Phyton-A plant. Platys-Broad. Pogon-A beard. Polys-Many. Podos-A foot. Pteris-A fern. Pyros-Fire. Rhinos-The nose. Rhiza-A root. Rhodon-A rose. Rops-A shrub. Sciados-An umbrella Sideros-Iron. Siphon-A tube. Solen-A pipe. Soros-A heap. Spira-A coil. Sporo-A seed. Stemma-A wreath. Stichos-A row. Stoma-The mouth. Stylos-A column. Trichos-Hair.
With this help to an understanding of the construction of plant names derived from Greek roots, we will proceed to pronunciation. This is a matter upon which the best authorities are apt to disagree, in spite of the great amount of study that has been devoted to the subject. Though the greater part of our list of plant names has been derived from Greek and Latin, many other languages have been drawn upon, including those spoken by barbarous peoples, and no present day scholar can be positive as to the correct pronunciation of many names.
But all we of the trade desire is to know the pronunciation adopted by the best authorities, that we may have uniformity among ourselves. Our principal authorities in the compilation of this list have been The Century Dictionary and the Pronouncing Dictionary in Nicholson's Dictionary of Gardening. Other dictionaries have been consulted, but the two mentioned have, in practically every case, determined the pronunciation adopted in this list.
Where these two happened to radically disagree, preference has generally been given to the pronunciation adopted by The Century.
It may be well to add that of the two systems presented by Nicholson's Dictionary, we have drawn from the " Old Style." The " New Style" may be of interest to students, but it will never be current in trade circles.
In our list we have used the following
a as in fat a as in fate a as in far a as in fall a as in fare a as in Persia e as in met e as in mete e as in her i as in pin i as in pine o as in not
0 as in note o as in move o as in nor a as in tub u as in mute u as in pull
The syllables to be accented are marked thus '.