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Bumelia secundum Plinium vocatur quedam species fraxini.


vocatur | est f


Bumelia according to Pliny is the name of a certain species of fraxinus {"ash-tree"}.


Bumelia is a Greek compound word, βουμελία /boumelía/, consisting of the elements:

βου- /bou-/ "ox" + μελία /melía/ "ash". The element βου- /bou-/ "ox" is here used to express augmentation as e.g. in βου-λιμία /bou-limía/ (lit.) "ox-hunger" = "ravenous hunger" {Cf. Genaust (1996: 110), s.v. Bumélia.}

Simon is here alluding to Pliny, 36, 34, 63, ed. Rackham (1938-63: IV.428): Graeci duo genera eius {i.e. fraxini} fecere: longam enodem, alteram brevem duriorem fuscioremque, laureis foliis. bumeliam vocant in Macedonia amplissimam lentissimamque - "The Greeks distinguished two kinds of fraxinus {"ash-tree”}, a tall one with no knots, and another one that is short, harder and darker, with laurel-like leaves. In Macedonia they call a very tall ash-tree with very tough and pliable wood bumelia."

Pliny’s description is itself a retelling of Theophrastus, 3, 11, 4-5, ed. Hort (1916: I.230-2), where the word appears as βουμέλιος /boumélios/.

Botanical identification:

Most authors agree that the description fits best Fraxinus excelsior L, the "common ash", which has a near pan-European distribution, it is also found in Asia Minor and North Africa.

Bumelia has survived into botanical Latin as the name for a totally unrelated genus of tropical trees or shrubs.

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