Wednesday, 30 September 2020

burdock and bindweed

Via our Oxford English Dictionary word of the day subscription, we are treated to a bonus pair of botanical epithets of Latinate origins in the infrequent but still in use terms ruderal and campestral.

While the latter is referring prosaically to the countryside and grasses and scrub native to rural expanses, the former from rลซdera meaning rubble and the ruins of buildings applies to plants growing among rubbish or on the margins. Unfairly characterised as weeds, ruderal specimens are also accorded the sense of being forerunners, pioneers in finding a niche and thriving despite the stressful environment. A coordinate term—that is, a hypernym or subordinate word that’s in the same class—is agrestic, for uncultivated land.