Posted on December 27, 2020February 5, 2024 by Dale Phillips Whence Tree Names Whence Tree Names by Nicholas Von Robison Originally published in American Lutherie #31, 1992 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume Three, 2004 What’s in a name?” cries Juliet; “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yet Shakespeare might admit that a rose is not less sweet because we know its name. The system of binomial nomenclature is one of the best inventions. It is effective; it is beautiful in its simplicity. A luthier in New York may talk of trees and wood to a luthier in Faroffistan with precision and mutual understanding. Centuries are tied together between us and the many careful observers hundreds of years ago who left good records in aristocratic Latin, when the common vernacular language was considered not to be a sufficient medium for such learning. To know the names of the forms of life is one of the keenest satisfactions; it brings us into relationship with our materials in another facet of our fascinating occupation. Every binomial has meaning; it is uniquely significant. Consider... Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.