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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

Stirps (also stirpes, stirpis) (s.f.III), gen. sg. stirpis, abl. sg. stirpe, nom. & acc. pl. stirpes, dat. & abl. pl. stirpibus: plant, stock, tree trunk, shoot, race; the stock or stem of a tree, the trunk with the root, the trunk; a branch, a young shoot or sprout; of plants, a plant, stalk, root, a twig; the stem (source, origin, root); see progeny;

1. “the lower part of the trunk of plants, including the roots; a stock, stem, stalk; a root,” stirp (Lewis & Short);

a. of vegetables: a plant, shrub, [classically] esp. freq. in plural; (with herbae) a shoot, sprout;

- Synopsis Methodica Stirpium Britannicarum, methodical survey of British Plants.

- cum arborum et stirpium eadem paene natura, with the nature of trees and plants almost the same.

- stirpes herbarum, the shoots [sprouts] of herbs.

- rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispaniam observatarum historia, an account of some rather rare plants observed in Spain (Stearn).

- stirps pulcherrima ad specimina perfectiora recognoscenda (B&H), a plant most beautiful should be recognized in the more complete specimens.

- arbores seminibus intra pericarpium cum stirpe matre cohaerens germinantibus et radices in terram agentibus singulares, trees remarkable by the seeds within the pericarp attached to the mother plant germinating and roots into the earth driving (Stearn).

- hi characteres tamen plus minus obvii sunt in plurimi aliis speciebus sectionis Hibbertiaa, etsi non omnes in eadem stirpe (B&H), these characters are still more or less evident in many other species of the section Hibertia, even if all of them are not on the same plant.

- specimina non vidimus et stirps imperfecte descripta adhuc dubia remanet (B&H), specimens we haven’t seen and plants hitherto imperfectly described remain doubtful.

- clavis artificialis ad stirpes másculas solas aptata (B&H), an artificial key suitable to male plants only.

- e Malacca, quarum stirpes masculae solae notae sunt (B&H), from Malaca, the male plants of which only are known.

- folia saepius nitidula, in eadem stirpe integra v. lobata, impunctata (B&H), leave quite often somewhat shining, on the same plant entire or lobed, without dots (small round spots].

- stirpis autem trunco pistillum nequaquam immediate adhaeret (Bridel), however the pistil in no way immediately adheres to the trunk [i.e. main axis] of the plant.

- flores parvi, perfecti utriusque sexus i n verticillis et saepius in stirpibus distinctis separati (B&H), flowers small, perfect, both sexes in verticils and quite often separated on distinct branches.

- antherae in diversa stirpe, anthers on a different shoot.

b. of persons: a stem, stock, race, family, lineage; scion, offspring, descendant, progeny;

i. a line of descendants of common ancestry; stock, branch (as in a genealogy or as in heraldry);

- per stirpes, ‘by branch:’ when the estate of a dead person is distributed to each branch of the family which receives an equal share of it (when the head of a branch is dead, his share is divided among his branch-members ‘per capita’).

- per capita, ‘by the head’ or individual: when such distribution of share in an estate is made to members of the same generation (shares may not be equal)

ii. a person from whom a family is descended; a progenitor of a branch of a family; a line of descendants of common ancestry.


iii. genetics: a strain; cf. stirp (English) “the sum of the determinants of whatever nature in a fertilized egg” (WIII).


c. also’ source, origin, foundation, first beginning, cause etc.;’

- stirpes superstitionis, the causes of superstition.

- stiprs virtutis, the origin, first beginnings, of virtue.

- stirps ac semen malorum omnium, the root and seed of all evils.

d. (in botany and taxonomy): (English) stirps, plural stirpes:

“1. a race or permanent variety, as the Red Cabbage

2. formerly equivalent to ‘species;’

3. a stem (Kerner), as:

Stirps cirrhosa, a tendril-bearing stem

Stirps clathrans, a lattice-forming stem

Stirps fluctuans, a floating stem

Stirps humifusa, a prostrate stem

Stirps palaris, an erect, unbranched stem

Stirps plectens, a weaving stem;

Stirps radicans, a stem which climbs by means of roots;

Stirps volubilis, a climbing stem.” (Jackson).

4. a race or fixed variety of plants, esp one in which the characters are maintained by cultivation.

e. (in zoology): a large group of animals comprising:

i. a taxonomic group of uncertain rank and no fixed position, by MacLeay made intermediate between a family and a tribe;

ii (in zoology and botany) a superfamily.

NOTE: as an i-stem noun the genitive plural is stirpium.

NOTE: in some of the examples given above, ‘stirps’ may be rendered ‘tree’ or ‘shrub,’ rather than ‘plant’ when the genus refers to tree or shrub species only.


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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