Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Acient (for Ancient)

A lot of words begin with the letters ACI, but when looking for a picture to illustrate today's ancient typo, this one totally aced it with the provocative Latin name Acianthus fornicatus. And no, it's not your fevered imagination: fornicatus means "prostituted" in English. I really don't know—but I dearly wish I did—how a flower's morals might come into play here; however, an orchid by any other name would certainly smell as sweet. (I wouldn't count on Rush Limbaugh, though, to make that case for you.) Acianthus fornicatus, which also goes by the more understandable and adorable name "Pixie caps," is a small terrestrial orchid native to Australia. According to Wikipedia: "It flowers in winter with a red central stripe." Perhaps that stripe is its "Scarlet Letter." There were eight instances of Acient in OhioLINK and 211 in WorldCat.

(Flowering orchid at Chatswood west, possibly Acianthus fornicatus—dead leaves in the background are Schizomeria ovata—July 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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