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Browse the Botanical Definitions

In addition to searching through the individual botanical definitions you may now benefit also from browsing the extensive information gleaned through our research. This list has been compiled in alphabetic order according to the genus or species..

To browse the definitions please click on one of the buttons below to see the section under that letter. In some cases there may be no words under a particular letter.

 

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Definitions
Menispermum [genus name] is derived from Greek mene (crescent moon) and -sperma (seed, seeded) components with reference to the shape of the seed. [See Menispermum.]

menthifolia is made up of the genus name Mentha and Latin -folia (leaved) components meaning 'mint-leaved'. [See ... .]

Menyanthes [genus name] is, for some authorities, an old Greek name for water plant; for others it is derived from a Greek name menanthos used for a plant of a different genus in the same family fringed water-lily (Nymphoides peltata), and for yet others it comes from Greek meni- (moon, month) and antho- (flower) components with reference to not only the flowering period but also its past use in the medicinal treatment of period problems. [See Menyanthes.]

menziesii commemorates the name of a Scottish naval surgeon, botanist and plant collector, Archibald Menzies (1754-1842). After serving as an assistant surgeon in Wales, he joined the Royal Navy. For his first posting he was based for four years as an assistant surgeon on the Halifax Station (Nova Scotia) which enabled him to study the local flora particularly. This period led to his introduction in 1786 to Sir Joseph Banks (who was President of the Royal Society and Director of Kew Gardens). His next appointment (as surgeon) on HMS Prince of Wales took him on a 3 year world voyage to the North Pacific during which he sent plants home and after which he was congratulated upon the health of the ship's crew. Both aspects appear to have been relevant in the British Government's decision to appoint him in 1790 as naturalist on HMS Discovery when she made her five year circumnavigation of the world under the captaincy of the English navigator Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798). During this voyage Vancouver carried out survey work in Australia and New Zealand and then went on to chart some of the western North American coastline as well (but one wonders whether Menzies' brief from the Government was not the more arduous one particularly as he also replaced the appointed surgeon who had to return home after falling ill). He was required to study the natural history (flora and fauna) of the countries visited, collect dried specimens and seeds, grow any significant plants that could not be propagated from seed in a special glass frame supplied on board ship, assess the viability of European plants in those countries, collect mineral samples, and keep notes on the activities of natives - their customs, clothing, artefacts, language - all with a view to the possibility of sending settlers out from England in the future. At the end of the voyage he was again congratulated on the health of the crew. On his return to England he was posted to the Caribbean and when he retired from the Service he set up a practice in London as a doctor and surgeon. Apart from many plants being named after him, Menzies' name was also given to Menzies Bay and Menzies Point on Canada's western coast and Vancouver itself and Vancouver Island were named after George Vancouver. [See Arbutus menziesii, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Ramalina menziesii, Ribes menziesii.]

merkusii commemorates a Dutch colonial administrator, Pieter Merkus (1787-1844), who was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. [See Pinus merkusii.]

Merremia [genus name] commemorates a German naturalist (with emphasis on ornithology), Blasius Merrem (1761-1824) who was a professor of mathematics, and physics from 1784-1804 at Duisburg in the Rhineland-of-North-Westpahlia, Germany. Some authorities note that he was professor of botany and political economy at Marburg from 1804-1821. His Tentamen Systematis Naturalis Avium on part of his bird classification is still highly regarded today. [See Merremia.]

Mertensia [genus name] commemorates a German philologist, botanist and algologist, Franz Carl Mertens (1764-1831), who taught theology and languages at a Bremen college but devoted the rest of his time to botany. He often collected plant specimens with the German botanist, Albrecht Wilhelm Roth (1757-1834), and he specialised in seaweed. He not only travelled all over Europe but also corresponded with leading European naturalists and much of the correspondence can be found in the library archives of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pennsylvania, USA. Mertens illustrated Roth's Catalecta botanica and also described some of the seaweed species it contained. [See Mertensia.]

Mesembryanthemum [genus name] was originally spelt Mesembrianthemum, by the Polish merchant and botanist, Jacob Breyne (1637-1697) in 1684, derived from Greek mesembria- (midday, noon) and -anthemon (flower) components meaning 'flowering at noon'. But a night-flowering species was then identified and in 1719 the German botanist, Johann Jakob Dillenius (1687-1747) proposed the revised spelling with a 'y' plus derivation from Greek meso- (middle, half), embryo- (embryo, unborn, unformed) and -anthemon (flower) components with reference to the plant's reproductive structure. [See Mesembryanthemum.]

Mespilus [genus name] is derived for some authorities from Greek meso- (middle, half ) and pilos (ball) components with reference to the shape of the fruit, and it is a classical Latin name (mespilum) for medlar (Mespilus germanica). [See Mespilus.]

Mesua [genus name] commemorates an Arab physician and botanist, Johannes Mesue (c.777-c.857) of Damascus, who was first physician to five caliphs and a hospital superintendent in Baghdad. He was a linguist, he oversaw the translation of many scientific works into Arabic and he also established a school of medicine. [See Mesua.]


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