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Horticulture/meaning of word


QUESTION: Jatropha is a genus of plants.
jatrophae is a species of butterfly (Anartia jatrophae).
Six genera of fungi have a species jatrophae.

What does jatropha mean?


Here is what Wikipedia says:

Jatropha is a genus of flowering plants in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. The name is derived from the Greek words ἰατρός (iatros), meaning "physician," and τροφή (trophe), meaning "nutrition," hence the common name physic nut.
Hope this helps!


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QUESTION: " 'physician,' and... 'nutrition,' hence the common name physic nut"

If you "bee" "leave" it, you need refresher courses.
That is patently silly.


I'm a plant expert - not a language expert.  I don't speak Greek, and I didn't invent bionomenclature.  However, I have picked up a little Latin in my studies, and with you, I think it's a case of "pons asinorum".  Below are 2 other links which gives the same answer.  It is a matter of indifference to me if you accept it or not.  Lions do not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.

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QUESTION: Who dare fail to laud the profound thinking devoted to the presented topic!
Thereby and henceforth declared, the world has the Physic Nut butterfly.
Genuflect all.

Dear Q,

Blame Linnaeus.  He first called the White Peacock Butterfly Papilio Jatrophae in 1763.  He also named the plant genus in the family Euphorbeaceae in 1753.
Jatrophae means "of Jatropha" in Latin, but there is no such place, and this butterfly doesn't feed on Jatropha.

The above link is his original description, where he lists the habitat as "Jatropha Americes".  

Linnaeus Joker moth (cyllopoda Jatropheria) is not known to feed on any of the spurges, either.

The only info I can find on Corallonectria Jatrophae - which appears to be a small cup or birdnest fungus, is that the genus was changed from Corallomycetella.  

There are several other bacteria or fungi with a form of "jatropha" in the species name because of their association with the plant.


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Susan Tabor


Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.


35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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