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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

 
vel (conj.): 'or,' generally used when there are two clear alternatives); see 'or;' [> L. vel, akin to or the imperative of volo; to wish or choose);

NOTE: ‘l.’ [the letter ‘ell’]: an abbrev. for ‘vel; ‘or’ “(l for vel, like h for nihil, derives from the procedure of medieval scribes who did not necessarily use an initial letter when abbreviating)” (Stearn); often used by Swartz:

- anthera magna, profunde bipartita 1. integra (Swartz), the anther large, deeply two-parted or entire.

- folia, oblonga 1. obovatá, integra, glabra, enervia (Swartz), the leaves oblong or [= vel) obovate, entire, glabrous, lacking nerves. NOTE: abbreviated: v. = ‘vel;’

- folia integerrima, serrata v. in eodem specimine incisa (B&H), the leaves completely entire, serrate or incised in the same specimen.

A. when used alone: 'or'

- folia basalia obovata vel late spathulata, basal leaves obovate or broadly spathulate.

- margine dentata vel subintegra, with the margin dentate or nearly entire.

B. vel potius, or, or if you will, or rather (to correct a previous statement, perhaps inserting a condition, such as age or a different state);

- folia laevia, vel potius in statu sicco striata, leaves smooth, or rather in a dry state striate.

- pileus viscosus vel potius aetate siccus, pileus viscose or rather with age dry.

C. vel ... vel: either ... or; be it ... or (vel may be repeated 3 or 4 times);

- androgynophoro sepalis vel aequante vel potius paulo breviore vel nullo, with the androgynophore either equaling or somewhat shorter than the sepals or none.

- capsula vel primo vel deinde non schizocarpica, with the capsule be it at the beginning or finally not schizocarpous.

- sepala v. basi in tubam connata, tubo infundibuliformi v. campanulato, v. calyx spathaceus (B&H), sepals either at the base connate into a tube, the tube infundibuliform, or campanulate, or the calyx spathaceus.

- filamenta v. a basi v. apice tantum libera, erecto-patentia v. incurva (B&H), the filaments either at the base or only at the apex free, erect-spreading or incurved.

D. vel ... vel ... vel etiam (vero etiam or omnino): either ... or ... or even

even (or in truth, or even; or in general);

- folius pilis variabilibus vel papillis vel omnino ambabus praeditus, leaf provided with variable hairs or papillae or in general both.

- margine vel plano vel subrecurvo vel etiam deflexo, with the margin flat or almost recurved or even deflexed.

E. with superlatives, whether of adj. or adv. to denote the highest possible degree: the very; the utmost; the most ... possible.

- flore valde glabro vel glabrissimo, with the flower strongly glabrous or as glabrous as possible.

- sporae minus vel aetate minime ampla, spores less or with age least abundant.

NOTE: another use of 'vel,' particularly in botanical Latin prose, with adjectives and adverbs, is to indicate a gradient or range, translating the English preposition 'to.' The Latin preposition 'ad' + object in the accusative is fine with nouns (especially numerals), but there is a problem with adjectives whose case endings must follow that of a noun within the text:

- petallis ablis vel cinereo-albis, with petals white or grayish-white.

'Petallis' is in the ablative (plural); were one to use 'ad' between the two color terms, the second term would be strange in the accusative (cinereo-alba).

'Vel' here does not express two distinct choices but perhaps the end members of a gradient or cline.

- ovula 6 ad 8, fructu obovato vel oblongo, ovules 6 to 8, with the fruit obovate or oblong.
NOTE: another use of 'vel,' particularly in botanical Latin prose, with adjectives and adverbs, is to indicate a gradient or range, translating the English preposition 'to.' The Latin preposition 'ad' + object in the accusative is fine with nouns (especially numerals), but there is a problem with adjectives whose case endings must follow that of a noun within the text:

- petallis ablis vel cinereo-albis, with petals white or grayish-white.

'Petallis' is in the ablative (plural); were one to use 'ad' between the two color terms, the second term would be strange in the accusative (cinereo-alba).

'Vel' here does not express two distinct choices but perhaps the end members of a gradient or cline.

- ovula 6 ad 8, fructu obovato vel oblongo, ovules 6 to 8, with the fruit obovate or oblong.

 

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 2010-2017

 
 
 
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