Learning something in translation

I have written before about the joys of common names of plants, but the piece Losing something in translation? really does seem to have captured some of the more bizarre stories of how sometimes the most common of plants have acquired their assortment of vernacular names around the globe.

I for one did know that the Jerusalem artichoke was neither an artichoke, nor from Jerusalem, and that brinjal was a term for an aubergine, but even though I had stopped momentarily to wonder why I had never taken the trouble to satisfy my curiosity.

I do wonder though how this information has been preserved over time, or whether, like the names themselves, it has been passed on with subtle changes along the way such that we will never know the true story?

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