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Spinastellum quidam latini vocant peucedanum ut in libro antiquo de simplici medicina.


Spinastellum (-stellũ C) AC | Spĩsastelũ ul’ spĩaselũ B | Spina stellũ e | Spina egipciaca supra in achain pina stellũ f {ms. f has collapsed most of the previous entry Spina egiptiaca into one with this entry}

peucedanum (-nũ C) AC f | pucedanũ e| pēcedãũ B


Spinastellum is the name some Latin speakers give to peucedanum {"hog's fennel, sculpture-weed"} as is stated in an old book of medicinal simple herbs.


Simon is alluding to the Herbarius Ps.-Apulei, 105, ed. Howald (1927: 172). HERBA PEUCEDANUM, where it says under Nomina herbae: A Graecis dicitur peucedanon, ... Itali pinastellum – "the Greeks call this herb peucedanon, the Italics pinastellum ..."

Pinastellus or pinastellum are the diminutives of pinaster "a wild pine" (Lewis and Short). Since pinastellum is listed under the letter 'S' an error must have occurred very early on in the transmission when the element pina- {"pine"} was misinterpreted as spina- {"thorn"}, the latter being a common element in plant names. The only witness that has pina stellũ is ms. f, but the entry is so corrupted that it is difficult to trust the scribe.

Botanical identification:

Pinastellus/-um is said to be a synonym of peucedanum, a plant that is widely supposed to be Peucedanum officinale L.. {"hog's fennel"} [1]], [[2]].

Pinaster is identified by André (1985: 199) as Pinus pinaster Soland {"maritime pine"} [[3]], [[4]].

The naming motive for pinastellus is according to André op.cit. that the crushed leaves of pinastellus have a resinous odour. Another possibility is that the bushy radiating mass of dark green leaves of pinastellus with long stalks attaching them to the stem [[5]] is reminiscent of the arrangement of the long bluish-green needles of the maritime pine [[6]].

WilfGunther 08/09/13

See also: Peucedanum, Pinaster

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