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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

Strobilus,-i (s.m.II), abl.sg. strobilo: a cone; a kind of Indefinite or Indeterminate Inflorescence with an Elongated Primary Axis; “ a kind of spike formed of persistent membranous bracts or scales, each of which bears at its base a pistillate flower. It is seen in the Hop” (Bentley); {in Greek, the strobilos, a pine-nut, pine-cone (Lewis & Short); also called a Strobil or Strobile (Jackson) [NOTE: plural strobiles (Engl.)]; “a Fir-cone. An imbricated scaly inflorescence; a collection of hard scales, representing distinct flowers, arranged spirally, but closely imbricated; (obsol.) any fruit which resembles a Fir-cone” (Lindley); “1. an inflorescence largely made up of imbricated scales, as the Hop [Humulus lupulus] or Fir-cone [Abies]; 2. cf. strobiloid; 3. the special form of the assumed type of the angiospermous flower (Arber and Parkin)” (Jackson); “a conelike aggregation of sporophylls (as in the club mosses and horsetails; also the cone of a gymnosperm” (WIII) [> Gk. strobilos (s.m.II), round ball,; spinning-top; cyclone, whirlwind; whirling dance; fir, pine (Liddell & Scott); also > LL. pine cone, > Gk. strobilos, whirling or twisted object, ball, top, pinecone, > strobos, action of whirling (WIII); see catkin, cone, galbulus;

In the Cannabinaceae, the female flowers are arranged in spikes or strobiles (Bentley).

“The Strobilus or Strobile.—The fruit of the Hop (Humulus Lupulus)is by some botanists considered as a kind of Cone with membranous scales, to which the name of Strobilus or Strobile has been given; but the strobile differs essentially from the cone, in having its seed distinctly enclosed in a carpel placed at the base of each scale. We distinguish this fruit, therefore, as a distinct kind, under the above name. It should also be noticed that the term Strobilus is frequently employed as synonymous with Cone.” (Bentley).

“The Strobile, (strobilus), is a catkin, the scales of which have become woody, and, according to the nature of the plants, contain one or two loose seeds, or even nuts, under each scale. The whole has the appearance of a particular sort of fruit. The kinds of the strobilus are: . Cylindrical, (strobilus cylindricus); Conical, (strobilus conicus); Ovate, (strobilus ovatus); Spherical, (strobilus globosus), &c. (Willdenow p. 139); “With regard to the Strobilus it remains to be noticed, that we often falsely so call the scaly imbricated seeds of the tulip-tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, and the imbricated capsules of the Magnolia. But the Strobilus proceeds only from a catkin. (Willdenow, p.140).

“The Strobilus, or Strobile, is the last species of pericarp enumerated by Linnaeus. He defines it, a pericarp formed from an ament by the induration of the scales. This is the definition as given in the Termini Botanici. In the Dclineatio Planta it is thus expressed : " Strobilus imbricatus amenti coarctati." That is, the strobile is made up of scales that arc imbricate, or lie over each other, from an ament contracted or squeezed together, in this state of maturity. " This term includes" (as. Dr. Martyn observes) " not only the cone of former writers, but also some " other fruits, which recede considerably in structure from that " sort of pericarp; as that of Magnolia," Tulip-tree (Liriodendron), and others. It must be evident, therefore, that it is improper to translate strobilus by cone, as has been done by some writers” (Barton).

“Although Linnaeus, in the later editions of his works, has discarded the term cone, and adopted that of strobile, he has, nevertheless, retained an order of vegetables, which he calls Conifera, or Cone-bearing.... To this order belong the Fir, the Pine, the Cypress, the Thuja, and others” (Barton).

“Strobilus has very different significations in the Latin language; it signifies a wild Pinetree,a Pine-apple, an Artichoke, and also a whirlwind.” (Barton).

- [Hermidium] flores in racemos strobilos simulantes terminales et axillares gracile pedunculatos dispositi (B&H), the flowers arranged in slenderly pedunculate terminal and axillary racemes resembling strobili [i.e. pine-cones].

- [Bougainvillaea] inflorescentiae (strobilum mentientes), solitariae v. fasciculatae, axillares v. terminales (B&H), the inflorescences (deceptively resembling a strobilus), solitary or fasciculate, axillary or termina.

- strobilus ovoideus vel globosus lignosus, squamis valde incrassatis post anthesin auctis persistentibus, cone ovoid or globose woody, with scales strongly thickened after anthesis enlarged persistent.

- strobili maturi caeruli vel rubri 1/2 - 1 poll. diametro, mature cones blue or red 1/2 - 1 in. in diameter (Stearn).

- strobili megasporangiati maturi ovoidei, mature megasporangiate strobili ovoid.

- [Abies] strobilis ovato–cylindricis erectis, squamis bracteolaribus inclusis carpellis multo brevioribus (Boissier), with the strobilis ovate-cylindric, erect, with the bracteolar scales enclosed, with the carpels much shorter.

- [fungi] parasitatur species distinctissima solitaria gregariaque in Strobilis Pinorum sylvestris [sic] et Abietis (S&A), a most distinctive species, solitary and gregarious, parasitic on the cones of the [wild] Pines and Fir.

- [fungi] Solum natale pertinacissima sibi eligit prorsus peculiare: nidulatur enim in Pini piceae strobilis vetustis semiputribus, quos fundum paginae squamarum superioris circumquaque occupans distendit mireque divaricat (S&A), it selects for itself the most unswerving certainly peculiar native substrate, for it nestles in the very old, half-rotted strobili of Pinus picea, which, occupying the base of the upper side of the scales all around, it swells them out and spreads them remarkably wide.

- [fungi] Rarior nobis species semel hactenus observata in squamis putrescentibus madidis strobilorum Abietis secus rivum medio Maio (S&A), more rare, the species so far observed once by us on the moist, rotting scales of strobili of Abies (fir) along a small stream in the middle of May.

Gymnosperms produce two kinds of cones (strobili): the female, and the male.

Female cone, seed-cone, ovulate cone: with woody scales, produces the seed: megastrobilus,-i (s.m.II), abl.sg. megastrobilo; = an ovulate cone bearing ovuliferous scales.

NOTE: macrostrobilus is not recommended usage for female cone.

Male cone, pollen-cone: usu. smaller than the female cone, usu. herbaceous, produces the pollen: microstobilus,-i (s.m.II), abl.sg. microstrobilo; also strobilus masculinus (adj.A), abl. sg. strobilo masculino; strobilus masculus (adj.A); strobilus mas, abl.sg. strobilo mari.

Arcesthida,-ae (s.f.I), arcesthide,-ae (s.f.I): “(obsol.) a cone or strobilus, whose scales are fleshy, and become united; the same as galbulus,-a,-um (adj.A)” (Lindley); “= galbulus “(Jackson) [> Gk. arkeuthis,-idos, a juniper berry.

Galbulus, Galbule, a cone of cypress; “a strobilus, whose scales are fleshy, and combined into a uniform mass” (Lindley); a fruit formed by the Combination of several flowers [> L. galbulus,-i (s.m.II), the nut of the cypress-tree (Lewis & Short): galbulus,-i (s.m.II), abl. sg. galbulo, nom. pl. glabuli, dat. & abl. pl. galbulis.


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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