expectation (Re: Anyone heard of a flower called "aniccam?")

Jean-Luc Chevillard jean-luc.chevillard at UNIV-PARIS-DIDEROT.FR
Wed Mar 24 18:33:18 UTC 2010

அன்பின் V.S. Rajam,

I believe there are (at least) two distinct ways of answering your 
"naive / un-harmful" question.

*(1)* EITHER we consider that linguistic fieldwork is needed
(and that it MUST/CAN be done ONLY with native speakers, who tap on 
their native knowledge
[[which means that people will not pretend to really have known 
(INTUITIVELY and previously)
the answer to a question about something that they did not know about 
for sure
before making a GOOGLE search on Google Images]])

*(2)* OR we remember that the LIVERPOOL INDOLOGY list
(on which this message has appeared recently)
is a mailing  list frequented by the users of many INDIAN languages
(including sanskrit).

That being the case,
it makes sense to compare:

*a.* the data found on the PANDANUS web site
SEE: <http://iu.ff.cuni.cz/pandanus/database/>
(recently quoted by Dominic GOODALL),
which contains:

784 Malayalam plant names

675 Tamil plant names

670 Hindi plant names

650 Latin botanical names

616 Sanskrit plant names

543 English designations

146 names in Bengali

68 names in Prakrit

[Welcome additions would be: Kannada, Telugu, etc.]

*b* data compiled by the native users of many Indian languages 
(including Tamil)


As a Post-Scriptum,
I would like to add that this exchange on the Liverpool Indology mailing 
is, to some extent, a post-scriptum
to an exchange which earlier took place on another mailing list
for which I am the owner [[DISCLAIMER STATEMENT]], on a French CNRS server.

A more complete set of textual data
will be found at the following URL-s
(the ORIGINAL post by Palaniappan Vairam Sarathy,  which triggered 

A recent post,
in which I am trying to make a synthesis of the NON-SPECULATIVE evidence
(including the பிங்கலம் / Piṅkalam [a moderately  old KOŚA] evidence,
which my friend George Hart seems to have been using,
when mentioning alternate names for அனிச்சம்),
is available at:

Best wishes to all

You are all of course welcome to join CTAMIL
on the CNRS server,
if you are interested in such topics

-- Jean-Luc Chevillard

Le 3/23/2010 9:27 PM, rajam a écrit :
> The work by the young engineer at 
> http://karkanirka.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/99tamilflowers_slideshow/
> is excellent, informative, and educative. In fact, my initial query 
> originated there.
>  /Unfortunately, it does not give names in Sanskrit and other Indian 
> languages,/
> Just a naive / un-harmful question: But why do we have such 
> expectation -- for "names in Sanskrit" to be available?
> On Mar 23, 2010, at 11:02 AM, George Hart wrote:
>> Aruppalam might be from aruphala.  Aru, according to Apte, is "rakta 
>> khadira," but unfortunately he doesn't define it.  Kittel says it is 
>> a plant and says it is "meṇasige," but that is not defined either.  
>> Khadira by itself is acacia catechu, and rakta khadira might be an 
>> acacia tree with red flowers.  Acacia arabica (which is native to 
>> India)?  (see 
>> http://www.exogarden.nl/palmzaden/images/acacia-arabica.jpg).  The 
>> leaves of this are small, gentle and fernlike and could possibly be 
>> said to retreat when touched.  In any case, this is all speculation 
>> -- it points up how difficult it can be to identify botanical names 
>> in old Indian texts.
>> For a list (with pictures and recitation) of the flowers in the 
>> Kuṟiñcippāṭṭu (63-95), see
>> http://karkanirka.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/99tamilflowers_slideshow/
>> This is a wonderful website and gives some very useful information.  
>> Unfortunately, it does not give names in Sanskrit and other Indian 
>> languages, but it does give Latin names and so can be used if you 
>> know the botanical name of a flower.  George Hart
>> On Mar 23, 2010, at 8:54 AM, Dipak Bhattacharya wrote:
>>> aruṣpānam is a healing herbal in the Atharvaveda, probably a 
>>> mountain plant likely to be growing in the Lesser Himalayas. But the 
>>> Orissa manuscripts read arusyānam.
>>> --- On Tue, 23/3/10, George Hart <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:
>>> From: George Hart <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU>
>>> Subject: Re: Anyone heard of a flower called "aniccam?"
>>> To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
>>> Date: Tuesday, 23 March, 2010, 8:50 PM
>>> Apparently another name of the aṉiccam is aruppalam, which looks as 
>>> if it could be have a Prakrit or Sanskrit origin (arpala, rupala?) 
>>> but I can't find anything in those languages.  G. Hart
>>> On Mar 21, 2010, at 11:38 PM, Dipak Bhattacharya wrote:
>>>> Is it still common? The lajjaavatii or laajawantii was very common 
>>>> along rail tracks even in the seventies. But since its arrival, 
>>>> allegedly from Canada in 1973, the parthenium has spread like wild 
>>>> fire along the ancient EIR route and the parallel Grand Trunk Road 
>>>> destroying the common lajjaavatii.
>>>> Best
>>>> DB
>>>> --- On Mon, 22/3/10, venetia ansell <venetia.ansell at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>>> From: venetia ansell <venetia.ansell at GMAIL.COM>
>>>> Subject: Re: Anyone heard of a flower called "aniccam?"
>>>> To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
>>>> Date: Monday, 22 March, 2010, 11:40 AM
>>>> Mimosa pudica is certainly very common in Karnataka - it's called 
>>>> chhui mui
>>>> in Hindi, mutthidaremuni in Kannada I think, and lajjaa (as in 
>>>> bashfulness)
>>>> in Sanskrit.
>>>> On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM, Dipak Bhattacharya <
>>>> dbhattacharya2004 at yahoo.co.in> wrote:
>>>>> Mimosa pudica is Thottalvadi in Tamil not aniccam.
>>>>> Best
>>>>> DB
>>>>> --- On Mon, 22/3/10, Dominic Goodall <dominic.goodall at GMAIL.COM> 
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> From: Dominic Goodall <dominic.goodall at GMAIL.COM>
>>>>> Subject: Re: Anyone heard of a flower called "aniccam?"
>>>>> To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
>>>>> Date: Monday, 22 March, 2010, 9:01 AM
>>>>> This reminds me that in the hills in the South today one finds 
>>>>> plenty of
>>>>> Mimosa pudica, whose leaves temporarily fold up the second that 
>>>>> you touch
>>>>> them, or indeed blow on them.
>>>>> But I am not sure how long these plants have been growing there, 
>>>>> for the
>>>>> Pandanus website (http://iu.ff.cuni.cz/pandanus/database/),
>>>>> quoting Dymock, Warden, Hooper: Pharmacographia Indica, vol. I, pp.
>>>>> 538-539, calls Mimosa pudica a "native of Brazil long naturalized 
>>>>> in India".
>>>>> Dominic Goodall
>>>>> On 21 Mar 2010, at 21:39, Michael Witzel wrote:
>>>>>> The whole discussion (here and in Tamil) reminded me of the little
>>>>> yellow  flower,  called 'noli me tangere' "don't touch me!" in Latin.
>>>>>> For some details see: 
>>>>>> <http://www.aboutflowers.org/giantbalsamim_xal.htm>
>>>>> (also in N. India)
>>>>>> (Leaves of certain trees also do that: they fold on touch).
>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>> MW
>>>>>> On Mar 21, 2010, at 11:54 AM, rajam wrote:
>>>>>>> Dear Whitney,
>>>>>>> The poems don't indicate that the flower perishes, though. The 
>>>>>>> emphasis
>>>>> is on its delicateness, softness, and gentleness. So I wonder 
>>>>> whether the
>>>>> flower's "reflex" action ("to wilt" when someone smells it) 
>>>>> fascinated the
>>>>> poet. Maybe one could find a similar flower somewhere -- I hope!
>>>>>>> Thanks and regards,
>>>>>>> VSR
>>>>>>> On Mar 21, 2010, at 1:18 AM, Whitney Cox wrote:
>>>>>>>> Dear Rajam,
>>>>>>>> In line with your observation that the flower is supposedly "super
>>>>>>>> sensitive", it seems possible to me that the derivation of the 
>>>>>>>> name
>>>>>>>> might be from a-nitya ("impermanent," "perishable"), rather than
>>>>>>>> an+icchā (I see that the MTL, p. 191 thinks the same thing).  
>>>>>>>> However,
>>>>>>>> I don't know of any flower called anitya in Sanskrit.
>>>>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>>>>> Whitney
>>>>>>>> On 21 March 2010 06:00, rajam <rajam at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Has anyone on this list come across a plant/flower type named
>>>>> "aniccha" in
>>>>>>>>> any non-Tamil literature?
>>>>>>>>> Has anyone seen it (in person or in a picture)?
>>>>>>>>> "Aniccam" is listed just as a flower in early Tamil poetry. 
>>>>>>>>> Later on,
>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> focus is on the flower's super sensitivity--about how it would 
>>>>>>>>> wilt at
>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> contact of human breath, how it would harm a woman [with a 
>>>>>>>>> slender
>>>>> waist] if
>>>>>>>>> she wears the flower without removing its stem, ... and so on.
>>>>>>>>> There is a thought that the term "anicca" is derived thus: a + 
>>>>>>>>> iccha
>>>>> (a +
>>>>>>>>> icchaa - Without Desire/Wish).
>>>>>>>>> What is your thought? Are there similar flowers extolled in 
>>>>>>>>> non-Tamil
>>>>> poetry
>>>>>>>>> for such super sensitivity?
>>>>>>>>> Thanks and regards,
>>>>>>>>> V.S. Rajam
>>>>>>>>> < (www.letsgrammar.org)>
>>>>>>>> -- 
>>>>>>>> Dr. Whitney Cox
>>>>>>>> Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia,
>>>>>>>> School of Oriental and African Studies
>>>>>>>> Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
>>>>>>>> London WC1H 0XG
>>>>>> ============
>>>>>> Michael Witzel
>>>>>> witzel at fas.harvard.edu
>>>>>> <www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm>
>>>>>> Dept. of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
>>>>>> 1 Bow Street,
>>>>>> Cambridge MA 02138, USA
>>>>>> phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295, 496 8570, fax 617 - 496 8571;
>>>>>> my direct line:  617- 496 2990
>>>>>        The INTERNET now has a personality. YOURS! See your Yahoo! 
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