Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Conophytum & Lithops Update II (12 Days)

Pretty much nothing has happened with the Conophytum.  However there are now at least 36 Lithops and probably more on the way (some are too tiny to see in the picture).  Fortunately they don't look lanky any more so I think moving them closer to the light is the secret.  One of them is already a lot bigger than the others.  I think I'll name that one Larry the Lithops.  The 's' really bothers me though.  It seems like the species is always plural...  So Larry likes his last name pronounced like 'Lithop' with the 's' being silent but still present.


  1. What interesting little creatures :-)

  2. They are interesting aren't they?

  3. First time here...nice blog. following you now.

  4. Heh... You name plants, too? I'm glad to see they're really coming along!

    Also, random linguistic note: the -ps ending is a Greek singular third-declension ending (actually the letter psi, or ψ, if that shows up), similar to how it appears in the word "cyclops." The plural form changes psi to pi and has an -es ending, e.g. "cyclopes" (κυκλωπες). Same would go for lithops, probably... λιθωψ to λιθωπες in the plural.

    I like Greek. I always get a funny feeling when someone says something such as "Spathiphyllum" is the Latin name. I'm like, uh, okay... But those are all Greek word elements, really, except for the -um ending. But I don't mind, really. It just jars me a bit.

  5. Thanks for the linguistic lesson. That actually makes 'Lithops' bother me a little less. I'll make sure not to refer to them as latin names but rather scientific.

    Does the plural of Conophytum just have an 's'?

  6. Short answer: sure!

    Long-ish answer: I like what Mr. Subjunctive does to pluralize genus/species names: italicizes them as per usual and then sets a regular, unitalic S at the end. So, "Conophytums." Because then we're using them properly, but also kind of conversationally... You don't want to change the genus name (by changing the ending or italicizing something that shouldn't be italicized), but you want to indicate that you're talking about specific pre-mentioned plants.

    The actual plural Latin ending for -um (neuter second declension ending) would be -a, but scientific terminology is trickier than the language from which these word elements came...

  7. I like that unitalicized s. It's simple and can be applied to just about everything. Thanks for the explanation.


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