X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Synonyms......just what are they?

    As a plant forum we get into age old debates about plant names. We use synonyms constantly. However I believe many people believe synonym means only exactly alike and that is not true. I have listed 3 different definitions that were among the first on the search page for sources of the definition of synonym and you will see they all have the same exact phrase, "or nearly the same". At least they are consistent.

    One other noted definition for synonyms nunder Biology is the acceptance of synonyms for "
    superseded and is no longer valid" .
    Meaning if we used a name as a synonym that has been proven to be incorrect it is still acceptable to publish that it was considered a synonym at a previous date for historical accuracy.

    What this means to figgers is that based on the limited identification methods in use the multiple names of figs have always been called synonyms not exact matches in modern research. Maybe one day all figs will be sequenced for DNA identification and true relationships documented.

    So don't freak out when we find from DNA that some are not an exact match. A list of synonyms does not say they will be. What it says is they will be a match or nearly the same. Fig researchers have always known that going back to Pliny in 44 AD when figs first started acquiring names and synonyms. Researchers have always understood that the physical characteristic were all we had to ID plants but were not perfect proof of lineage, hence synonyms were used.

    One other noted definition for synonyms under Biology is the acceptance of synonyms for "superseded and is no longer valid" .

    Simply meaning if a name was used as a synonym that has been proven to be incorrect it is acceptable to publish that it was a synonym at a previous date for historical accuracy.



    Were you surprised to find synonym does not only mean an exact match?

    Does this affect how you will view fig synonyms in the future?


    Fig on!






    Merriam-Webster

    Definition of synonym
    1: one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses




    From Oxford Languages

    Synonyms
    1. a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language
    1. a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close.
      • a person or thing so closely associated with a particular quality or idea that the mention of their name calls it to mind.
        "the Victorian age is a synonym for sexual puritanism"
      • BIOLOGY
        a taxonomic name which has the same application as another, especially one which has been superseded and is no longer valid.



    Synonym

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    A synonym is a word, morpheme, or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word, morpheme, or phrase in a given language.



  • #2
    Thank you for that explanation.
    I would love to see a list of known (fig) synonyms.
    Piney Point Village, Zone 8b
    W/L- Allix, Cateto

    Comment


    • jmrtsus
      jmrtsus commented
      Editing a comment
      Condit for known synonyms and DNA studies for proven ones.

  • #3
    If we all agree in advance that "synonyms" will keep their given names, OK. So for example, I don't need to grow VdB and Beer's Black and Vista and Negronne and Nero 600M because they are "synonyms" (i.e., maybe not identical but at least extremely similar).

    If we plan to rename "synonyms," then maybe OK or maybe not. If the varieties are genetically identical, then OK -- the names can be interchangeable. But if the varieties are merely very similar, then not OK.
    Last edited by jrdewhirst; 08-24-2021, 12:47 PM.
    Joe, Z6B, RI.

    Comment


    • goodfriendmike
      goodfriendmike commented
      Editing a comment
      Agree! If there is a slight difference than it is still different. Color, ripening times, slight different shape. means it is not the same.
      Last edited by goodfriendmike; 08-23-2021, 09:12 PM.

    • Figland
      Figland commented
      Editing a comment
      Comparing figs to dragon fruit, I think this is a good way to look at it, I have many varieties that are extremely close genetically ( from the limited genetic mapping available) but their taste is not the same, maybe imperceptible to some but it's clear to me, and I think that would mean that some people may like one more than the other, just like fig varieties.I would try to discern the differences so I could "know" them, and right now I'm taking cuttings from the flavors I like best to make more plants, just like figs!

  • #4
    Question? If you find 2 people that look very similar are they the same person. No. Are you and your brothers and sisters the exact same? No. So you could have almost the exact same genes but be completly different. Yes..
    Louisiana Zone 8/9. W/L Whatever fig I don't have.

    Comment


    • It Could use another day
      It Could use another day commented
      Editing a comment
      I get what your trying to say but that's a crazy analogy, we eat, grow, and observe figs. If you can't tell 2 figs apart that look the same, taste the same, grow the same, etc. there's no reason to have 2 separate varieties.

    • jrdewhirst
      jrdewhirst commented
      Editing a comment
      It Could use another day --

      Two varieties that appear the same in one set of growing conditions might appear very different in another. It would be a mistake to extrapolate from the apparent similarity that you see.

      Consider Violette de Bordeaux (VdB) and Nero 600 M. In warm, sunny, fertile growing conditions, these two varieties would appear to be the same. But Nero 600M was reportedly discovered growing at an elevation of 600 meters in the foothills of the Alps. So it was touted as a cold-tolerant variety.

      Let's suppose that's what it is. Let's suppose too that VdB is less cold tolerant. If we treat the two varieties as synonyms, there might be a lot of disappointed growers in cold regions very disappointed that their VdB / Nero 600M-NOT is dead.

      The same could be true of disease resistance. My two very similar sons could differ with respect to recessive genes for hemophilia. The heterozygous son would live a long and healthy life; the homozygous son would -- if bumped the wrong way -- die young.

      These are just two simple examples, but we could easily imagine others. The basic point is that without genetic proof we could never be sure that two highly similar varieties will behave the same across diverse conditions.

    • It Could use another day
      It Could use another day commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm talking about 99% the same, if there are major differences like cold tolerance obviously we cant call them the same. for example bm&figo preto, they have been reported the same across the country, its no pointless separating them anymore other than the name. i could sell you a figo preto as bm and you would never know. and I'm not saying we should trust just one source butt if its generally accepted as a synonym we should eliminate one.

  • #5
    I will point out though that the definition of synonym is “exactly or nearly the same”, which indicates differences should be very minor or imperceptible. As in, you could swap one out for the other and it should be hard to tell the 2 apart. I have seen some people list varieties as synonyms that have clear differences, which I think misses the meaning of the word.
    ░░░SoCal░ ░ ͡ i ͡ ░ ░Zone░ ░9A░░░

    W/L: La Joya, Ondata, Belvedere, Bebera Branca, Fico Giallo, Vernino, Asunta 5 Paco (DF)

    Comment


    • jmrtsus
      jmrtsus commented
      Editing a comment
      It's because they do not understand the meaning of the word.

  • #6
    Doesn't the word "synonym" in a botanical context apply mostly to plants that have been reclassified but are still sometimes referred to by the former name(s)? Like dipladenia/mandevilla or all the asters that got split up now that plants can be grouped by genetics rather than just appearance.
    Zone 10b, Long Beach CA
    Creator of The Original Wasp In Fly Out (WIFO) Bags
    Wish list: Bebera Branca

    Comment


    • jrdewhirst
      jrdewhirst commented
      Editing a comment
      Good point. I was waiting for the botanists to weigh in. Meanwhile as a non-botanist I’ll say that I don’t think it’s appropriate to apply a definition related to linguistics to a problem in botany.

    • jmrtsus
      jmrtsus commented
      Editing a comment
      From above the only biological reference agrees with you.

      BIOLOGY
      a taxonomic name which has the same application as another, especially one which has been superseded and is no longer valid.

  • #7
    A synonym thread for exactly or nearly the same thread. Renaming Figs 2.0

    Lol. Just had to sorry.

    Great write up as always, very detailed and informative.
    Forest Hill, Texas: Zone 8a

    No wish list but open to trades and offers

    Comment


    • #8
      The topic is very interesting, but difficult. Varietal figs always migrate and acquire phenotypic features in a new place, names migrate with plants and also change, sometimes slightly, sometimes to the point of unrecognizability, the further from the "homeland" the more changes. This process is inevitable and uncontrollable. One old X tree in California can (and did!) Produce hundreds or thousands of cuttings. And hundreds of clones X grew, with the name X and dozens of clones with the new name Y. 20 years later, an old man came to the owner of the house with an old tree and said that the tree was planted by his father, the variety is called Z. Thus, we have several thousand trees, dozens of synonyms, but that does not make us feel good or bad.
      Another situation is if you need to "manually" process this array of information, resolving a bunch of contradictions and finding common ground. For example, in front of you are two (or several) specimens that have all the traits of the same variety, the phenotypic traits are almost the same. But the names and related information suggest that you have two or more varieties of figs in front of you. It is logical to assume that if you have no method other than comparative in morphology, then you will combine all samples of the same phenotype into one variety that has two or more synonyms. Otherwise, you simply cannot do your job.
      Андрей. N.-W. Кавказ, пень Абрау, 7б-8а

      Comment


      • Figland
        Figland commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks acerpictum! That is what I was thinking when told that I had to use genetics only-not available really, can't do it! I also have one fig tree that has one branch of brownish figs, and the rest are yellow. The nursery says the "mother tree" is the same way. I have a Panache with branches of green fruit, some branches of yellow stripes, so there is some genetic modification going on by nature, or the plant.

    • #9
      The OP missed the boat on this one, sorry jmrtsus . The relevant point is not what "synonym" means in general usage. Instead, it is what is means in taxonomic classification (since we are talking about living organisms). In short, it means "the same", not similar. In taxonomy, synonyms are different names for the SAME species.

      You can learn more here:
      Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my small, crowded yard.
      Wish List: more free time

      Comment


      • Shaft
        Shaft commented
        Editing a comment
        venturabananas Umm why did you cite a source then dismiss the source that you cited? It seems like jmrtsus has you beat on this one.

        As far as "ask a biologist..." that's a fallacy my dude. Appeal to authority. Anyone who is an expert in ANYTHING can tell you the experts make mistakes. Plenty of experts question other experts for not showing proper scientific rigor, or for publishing something that doesn't ring true. The problem is that an expert who knows to question experts in their field will still fall victim to assuming all experts in another field think the same thing or agree, that there is a "consensus." It's also called the EXPERTISE TRAP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS5VwWKE6nM
        Last edited by Shaft; 08-26-2021, 08:39 PM.

      • venturabananas
        venturabananas commented
        Editing a comment
        Shaft what is the source you think I dismissed?

        Taxonomists are biologists. They are the ones who use this term (synonym, synonymy) in the context of naming biological entities, and to them it has a specific meaning. That's what we're talking about, e.g., what Condit (a fig biologist) meant when he used this term. I use taxonomy and teach taxonomy for my job. I'm not speculating about it. This is not a search for a fundamental truth of nature. It is a question about usage of a word in the field of naming living organisms (taxonomy). It is not a question about how it is used in every day speech.

      • Shaft
        Shaft commented
        Editing a comment
        venturabananas I understand that, and the source you provided (WikiPedia) disagreed with you. I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of using an encyoclopedia, but I saw the definition you said was valid. Then I saw you dismiss it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synonym_(taxonomy)
        --
        Botany
        In botanical nomenclature, a synonym is a name that is not correct for the circumscription, position, and rank of the taxon as considered in the particular botanical publication. It is always "a synonym of the correct scientific name", but which name is correct depends on the taxonomic opinion of the author. In botany the various kinds of synonyms are:

        Homotypic, or nomenclatural, synonyms (sometimes indicated by ≡) have the same type (specimen) and the same taxonomic rank. The Linnaean name Pinus abies L. has the same type as Picea abies (L.) H.Karst. When Picea is taken to be the correct genus for this species (there is almost complete consensus on that), Pinus abies is a homotypic synonym of Picea abies. However, if the species were considered to belong to Pinus (now unlikely) the relationship would be reversed and Picea abies would become a homotypic synonym of Pinus abies. A homotypic synonym need not share an epithet or name with the correct name; what matters is that it shares the type. For example, the name Taraxacum officinale for a species of dandelion has the same type as Leontodon taraxacum L. The latter is a homotypic synonym of Taraxacum officinale F.H.Wigg.
        Heterotypic, or taxonomic, synonyms (sometimes indicated by =) have different types. Some botanists split the common dandelion into many, quite restricted species. The name of each such species has its own type. When the common dandelion is regarded as including all those small species, the names of all those species are heterotypic synonyms of Taraxacum officinale F.H.Wigg. Reducing a taxon to a heterotypic synonym is termed "to sink in synonymy" or "as synonym".

        In botany, although a synonym must be a formally accepted scientific name (a validly published name): a listing of "synonyms", a "synonymy", often contains designations that for some reason did not make it as a formal name, such as manuscript names, or even misidentifications (although it is now the usual practice to list misidentifications separately[12]).

        Comparison between zoology and botany
        Although the basic principles are fairly similar, the treatment of synonyms in botanical nomenclature differs in detail and terminology from zoological nomenclature, where the correct name is included among synonyms, although as first among equals it is the "senior synonym":

        Synonyms in botany are equivalent to "junior synonyms" in zoology.
        The homotypic or nomenclatural synonyms in botany are equivalent to "objective synonyms" in zoology.
        The heterotypic or taxonomic synonyms in botany are equivalent to "subjective synonyms" in zoology.
        If the name of a species changes solely on account of its allocation to a new genus ("new combinations"), in botany this is regarded as creating a synonym in the case of the original or previous combination but not in zoology (where the fundamental nomenclatural unit is regarded as the species epithet, not the binomen, and this has generally not changed). Nevertheless, in popular usage, previous or alternative/non current combinations are frequently listed as synonyms in zoology as well as in botany.
        --
        Junior vs Senior synonyms seems particularly important to this discussion considering jmrtsus' movement to rename White Marseilles as Blanche. At the end of the day though you're arguing about something your own source admits is entirely subjective: It is always "a synonym of the correct scientific name", but which name is correct depends on the taxonomic opinion of the author
        Last edited by Shaft; 08-27-2021, 01:20 AM.

    • #10
      With no definitive tests like DNA that could prove plants were the same the word used was synonym, not matched. Scientists used this word because they were familiar with its meaning and believed the target population of the document would also know the meaning of the word. To understand fig documents and history you must first understand the not very common or not in everyday use words. From Pliny to Condit they all knew they had no proof of figs being matching. Now anyone that reads this also knows the correct definition as I am sure most have forgotten from English class. Going out to pick breakfast now, Fig on.

      Comment


      • venturabananas
        venturabananas commented
        Editing a comment
        Shaft -- I think we must be talking about different things, because I can't even understand what is you are trying to say.

        My point is simply this: in taxonomy, the word synonym means a single taxon (usually a species) has more than one name. In general, one name is considered valid, i.e., the correct name and the other is not. My take on the OP claims synonyms are not necessarily exactly the same cultivar. If we are following the rules of taxonomy, which if you want to bring it back to Condit, as a trained botanist, he would have done, names he lists as synonyms, he believed were exactly the same cultivar. Note in his monograph how he sometimes mentions "probable synonyms". These are ones he thought were likely the same cultivar, but wasn't certain. And that contrasts with most cases where he lists "syns." immediately after the cultivar name he has chosen to use. Those synonyms, in his best professional judgement were all different names for the cultivar being discussed. With the case of Verte, that you mention, here's the start of that entry:

        "Verte (syns. Cœur, De Cour, De Cuers, Verdalle, Verdale, Des Dames, Figue d’Espagne, Trompe-Chasseur, Trompe-Cassaire, Ischia Green, Figue d’Hiver, Ficus carica aulica Risso)."

        Followed by...

        Described as Verte by Merlet (1667), La Quintinie (1692), Tournefort (1700), Liger (1702), Garidel (1715), Langley (1728), La Brousse (1774), Rozier (1805), Duhamel (1809), Christ (1812), Lamarck (1817), Bory de Saint Vincent (1824), Couverchel (1839), and Leclerc (1925). Described as De Cour or De Cuers by Bernard (1787), Risso (1826), Du Breuil (1876), and Eisen (1901). Described as Verdale by La Brousse (1774), Hogg (1866), and Société’ Pomologique de France (1947, probably). Described as Trompe-Chasseur or Trompe-Cassaire by Sauvaigo (1889) and Simonet et al. (1945). Described as Ischia Green by Miller (1768), Hanbury (1770), Forsyth (1803), Brookshaw (1812), Green (1824), Lindley (1831), Burnette (1894), Earle (1900), Leclerc (1925), Stansel and Wyche (1932), and Condit (1947). See Rolland (1914) for synonymy.

        Note that even though he himself described it as Ischia Green (Condit 1947), he followed the rules of taxonomy, giving the first published name, Verte (Merlet 1667), precedence as the correct name of this single cultivar.

      • Shaft
        Shaft commented
        Editing a comment
        Nevertheless, in popular usage, previous or alternative/non current combinations are frequently listed as synonyms in zoology as well as in botany."

        Not that hard to understand bro. I rest my case

      • venturabananas
        venturabananas commented
        Editing a comment
        Ya dude, you completely missed the point. This is not a contest, though it appears you want it to be.
    Working...
    X