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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

Coma, “the hairs at the end of some seeds; the empty leaves or bracts at the end of the spike of such flowers as the Pine-apple” (Lindley); tuft, group of capillate trichomes, i.e. hair-tuft on some seeds, as in Asclepiadaceae; tuft of leaves at top of an inflorescence, stem or trunk, leafy crown of a palm or other tree: coma,-ae (s.f.I), abl. sg. coma, nom. pl. comae, acc. pl. comas, dat. & abl. pl. comis 'the hair of the head; the leaves of trees, a canopy;' cf. corona,-ae (s.f.I); see rosette, rosula, tuft; see pteron,-i (s.n.II); see penicillum,-i (s.n.II);

- semina erecta, nunc in comam seu rostrum setiforme longe plumoso-pilosum producta, nunc erostria undique v. circumcirca longe pilosa v. alata (B&H), the seeds erect, sometimes extended into a coma or bristle-like beak long plumose-pilose, sometimes everywhere lacking a beak or round about long pilose or winged.

- semina oo (parva), glabra, apice in comam sessilem v. subulato-stipitatam producta (B&H), seeds indeterminate (small), glabrous, with the apex drawn out into a sessile or subulate-stalked tuft (coma).

- semen fusiforme 3 mm. longum coma alba vel flava, seed fusiform 3 mm. long with hair-tuft white or yellow (Stearn).

- caudices 3 m alti comas 3-8-foliatas includentes, caudices 3 m tall including the 3-8-leaved crowns.

- arbor 15-20 m alta, coma lata fere aeque lata ac [[Pinus?] longa, tree 15-20 m tall, with a broad canopy almost equally wide and long, as in Pinus.

- coma sericea usque 1.4 cm longa, brunneo-cuprea, conspicua, secus margines seminis disposita, coma silky to 1.4 cm long, brown-copper, conspicuous, arranged along the margins of the seed.

- squamis rhizomatis non comis obtectis, with the scales of the rhizome not covered with hair-tufts.

- semina erecta, nunc in comam seu rostrum .setiforme longe plumoso-pilosum producta, nunc erostria undique v. circumcirca longe pilosa v. alata (B&H), seeds erect, sometimes prolonged into a bristle-like coma or beak, long plumose-pilose, sometimes [everywhere?] lacking a beak or .... long pilose or winged.

- semina oo (parva), glabra, apice in comam sessilem producta, axi comae setiformi pilis longis plumoso (B&H), seeds [numerous] (small), glabrous, at the apex prolonged into a sessile coma [i.e. hair-tuft], with the axis of the coma bristle-like, plumose with long hairs.

- [alga: CALLITHAMMION] frondes pinnaeque singulae circumscriptione lineares, pinnulis simplicibus inferne magis incurvis, superne parum densioribus — nec comam ut in C. cruciato formantibus (Agardh), the individual fronds and pinnae linear in outline, with the pinnules simple [i.e. undivided] below more incurved, above somewhat denser - -not forming a coma as in C. cruciatum.

- (moss) rami tenues flexuosi protensi longi attenuati plerumque bini, comales breves erccti v. horizontales julaceo- cuspidati; (moss) (Mueller), the branches thin, flexuose, elongate, long, narrowed, usually in twos, the comal branches short, erect or horizontal, julaceous-cuspidate.

- Sphaerocoma,-ae (s.f.I): flores glomerati; glomeruli pedunculati, post anthesin in capitula globosa sepalis abortivis rigide setigera transformati (B&H), flowers in glomes [i.e. heads or balls] the glomerules pedunculate, after anthesis transformed into globose heads with abortive sepals, [the capitula] rigidly bristle-bearing.

Penicillum,-i (s.n.II), abl.sg. penicillo: brush-like tuft of hairs; a pencil, i.e. an artist’s painting brush (straight and ending in a tuft, as of hairs);

NOTE: coma,-ae is also derived from a Greek first declension feminine noun, kome,-es (omicron) 'the hair; the foliage, leaves of trees;' it is not a neuter third declension noun with an augmented stem, -ma,-matis, q.v.;

- Callicoma,-ae (s.f.I); Catocoma,-ae (s.f.I), Macrocoma,-ae (s.f.I) (Hornsch. ex C.M.) Grout; Rhacoma,-ae (s.f.I); Rhodocoma,-ae (s.f.I); Trichocoma,-ae (s.f.I), Xiphocoma,-ae (s.f.I),

NOTE: Comesperma,-atis (s.n.II), > Gk. comE, ‘hair’ + ‘sperma’ in allusion to the tuft of hairs on the seed.

1. -coma,-ae (s.f.I) ‘-hair; -coma; -tuft’ (L. combining noun suffix);

NOTE: Gk. nouns ending in ‘e’ may also be transcribed in ‘a,’ becoming regular Latin -a,-ae (s.f.I).

[examples of generic names ending in -coma with a representative epithet: all are declined as standard Latin first declension feminine nouns:]

Achyrocoma tomentosa; Acoma dissecta; Anisocoma acaulis; Chrysocoma acaulis; Clomenocoma aurantia; Dicoma aethiopica; Eriocoma crenata; Heterocoma lanuginosa; Isocoma arguta; Phaenocoma prolifera; Piptocoma hypochlora; Podocoma nana; Pyrrocoma angustifolia; Rhacoma salinum; Stephanocoma incana; Xanthocoma dentata

2. -come,-es (s.f.I) ‘-hair; -coma; -tuft’ (Gk. combining noun suffix)
  Nom. -come (s.f.I)   Chrysocome        Anemone     (after Stearn) 
  Gen. -comes          Chrysocomes       Anemones 
  Acc. -comen          Chrysocomen       Anemonen 
  Dat. -comae          Chrysocomae       Anemonae 
  Abl. -come           Chrysocome        Anemone 
[As these are Greek noun suffices, they combine with Greek prefices: all feminine gender:]

Argyrocome,-es; Chrysocome,-es, Dipterocome,-es, Pericome,-es

NOTE: the generic name Brachyscome, “with short coma, i.e. pappus bristles,” published by Henri Cassini in 1816, was formed from the masculine nom. sg. of the Greek adjectives brachys (m.),-eia (f.),-y (n.). The name has been controversial in that the -s- in the original name was meant to be later dropped by the author, but was maintained by the Committee for Spermatophyta in 1993 (“Brachyscome” Wikipedia 2016]. Since the stem is ‘brachy-‘ the name should probably be “Brachycome,” the combining -o- not necessary as ‘y’ is a semivowel.


A work in progress, presently with preliminary A through R, and S, and with S (in part) through Z essentially completed.
Copyright © P. M. Eckel 2010-2018

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