Are you a Galanthophile? Or perhaps a Lexophile?
“Oxford Dictionaries Online’s word of the day a few days ago (sign up here) was galanthophile, which means ‘a collector of, or expert in, snowdrops’, Galanthus being the genus name of the snowdrop. The first part of the word comes from the Greek word for milk, γάλα (gala), and so, interestingly, does the word galaxy, which, more precisely, is from the Greek for ‘milky circle’ or ‘milky one’. Originally, galaxy referred to the Milky Way alone; according to the OED, “The existence of galaxies as separate systems analogous to and outside of the Milky Way system was proposed in the 19th cent. but not proved until the first meaningful determinations of the distances of galaxies by E. P. Hubble in the 1920s.”. The classical Latin lact- meaning milk, is related.” (By courtesy of The virtual linguist.).
Most interesting! Now let’s come back to ‘galanthophile’.
The second part of the word means ‘lover of’ or ‘enthusiast for’ and comes from Greek -philos, as everybody already knows, and if you happen to be a ‘bulbophile’ like me, then read on.
I admit that I’m neither an expert in nor a collector of snowdrops, but I do love these delicate harbingers of spring. They grace my garden in the month of August and remind me of the advent of springtime in March back in my old home.
Sings the springtime breeze
So long! Goodbye, winter freeze!
But are they true snowdrops? I mean the ones in my garden.
To my great astonishment I discover on Google that the ‘snowdrops’ which grow in my garden are actually ‘snowflakes’ or Leucojum aestivum. You can check out this link if you don’t believe me:
In short, snowflakes (but you can keep calling them snowdrops because everybody does) are much taller than snowdrops and have more than one flower per stem, and I think they are much prettier, as their petals are adorned with a green spot on the end. They prosper well in Sydney and many parts of Australia while snowdrops like a colder climate in southern parts and in New South Wales in the Blue Mountains.
So, having studied this subject in some depth, I can now conclude that I am not only a ‘galanthophile’, remembering the pretty flower of my childhood, but definitely a ‘leucojumophile’ since the snowflakes in my garden put a smile on my face.
And I guess, I’m a bit of a lexophile into the bargain.
What about you? What kind of ‘phile’ are you? Remember, learning new words keeps your brain cells in good nick.
Cheers 🙂 Irina
© Copyright 2016 Irina Dimitric