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I have a problem of figuring out the etymology of Pinus halepnesis.

An etymonline search with halepensis brought no result.

It is unclear to me from the English wikipedia article and from the English WikiSpecies article what is the source of the name.

It is often called "Aleppo pine" --- maybe this is the source.

In Israeli Hebrew (as in Hebrew Wikipedia) it is called "Jerusalem pine" (אורן ירושלים) which is clearly different than standard.

What is the etymology for Pinus halepnesis?

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    $\begingroup$ This seems to be off-topic since it is essentially a language question not one about biology ... Supposedly the original description is available in this book, if that doesn't help I have no idea where else you could look. $\endgroup$ – tyersome Dec 15 '19 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ I understand your opinion and respect it; although, I don't know any other SE website better fit for this question hence suggest at the common era to tolerate such (in my opinion anyway-rare) questions. $\endgroup$ – user22497 Dec 15 '19 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about etymology not biology. $\endgroup$ – David Dec 17 '19 at 13:38
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If you search for this plant (properly spelled Pinus Halepensis) in the International Plant Names Index (IPNI), you'll find this page providing publication reference for this species of pine:

Gardeners Dictionary, Edition 8. London

According to IPNI, this publication by Phillip Miller in 17681 was the first to officially name this species. You can find the first half of he publication online here and the portion of the publication with info regarding P. halepensis here [p. 477].

Miller 1768 provides the following:

  1. Pinus (Halepenſis) foliis geminis tenuiſſimis, conis obtuſis , ramis patulis. Tab. 208, Pine-tree with two narrow leaves in each ſheath, obtuſe cones, and ſpreading branches. Pinus Halepenſis, foliis tenuibus lætè viridibus. Rand. Hort. Chelf. Cat. 158. aleppo Pine with very narrow dark green leaves.

* Note: a longer description about this tree also continues on the subsequent page in Miller's book -- you can find it in the middle of the right column of the following page.

However, this publication does not make clear why Miller chose this specific epithet.

  • Elwes & Henry (1906)2 likewise describe this species [see online here] and mention that the epithet had been used for more than 100 years. However, they, too, do not provide meaning behind its use.

    enter image description here

Further sleuthing suggests the following:

From Antropocene.it:

The specific epithet halepensis derives from Aleppo, the current city of Haleb in northern Syria.

Note, however, that this specific epithet doesn't only apply to this species of Pine. Linnaeus assigned this epithet to a grass (Sorghum halepense) he called Holcus halepensis (Linnaeus Sp. Pl. (1753) 1047)3 more than a decade before Miller named the pine in question.

Using this connection, SEINet suggests the following etymologies for halepense:

Halepense means "from Aleppo, Syria."

This is the best I could do for you in a short amount of time. I, like you, could not find much explicit explanation for this word, and I admit I find its use a little strange given the relatively widespread range of the species mentioned (at least that both exist much wider than Aleppo).


1. Miller, P. 1768. The Gardener's Dictionary, ed. 8. London. Pinus no. 8

2. Elwes, H.J. and Henry, A., 1906-1913. The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland. Edinburgh: R & R Clark, 7.

3. Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.669. [more info here and on wikipedia]

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello, this is impressive work; you have helped others, and me; I thank you dearly for that. I was happy reading your answer; just one thing is unclear to me - it was written (Linnaeus Sp. Pl. (1753) 1047) ; what is the 1047? Again thank you for your time, $\endgroup$ – user22497 Dec 16 '19 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDoea see edits $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Dec 17 '19 at 0:34

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