Below I present to your attention a botanical dictionary in 8 languages – Bulgarian, Latin (with the scientific names), Russian, English, German, French, Polish and Dutch. It was combiled by me on the basis of the six-linguial botanical dictionary ot professor Boris Kitanov, included in section III of the book of Vassil Kaniskov – “Treasury of the Bulgarian folk medicine – Vol. III – Botanical dictionary – Foundations” (the book is originally in Bulgarian, you can see the Bulgarian title in the literature list below). This book is freely available as a PDF file on the author’s website. The species list in the dictionary is in alphabetical order following the scientific names of the plants. This way, the plants from the same genus (family) are in one place, as the scientific names begin with the genus name, while usually the common names in the corresponding languages sometimes differ from each other.
There are more than 1500 species included in the list (just over one third of the Bulgarian flora). There are both local species naturally growing in Bulgaria, as well as plants from other parts of the world, which are (or can be) grown in the country. The majority of the work has been done by professor Kitanov, as well as by Kaniskov, who included former’s work in his book. I don’t know either of them. I decided to work on this dictionary as I had the idea for quite some time already, and I also got inspired by a friend of mine. In order to create something useful for her, and all other people who are interested in plants – trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, medicinal plants, traditional corps and so on.
I formatted all available date in an easy to use form – an Excel spreadsheet, which allows quick and easy search, as well as alphabetical sorting in the corresponding language. I filled more than 200 gaps of missing plant names in the different languages. I also corrected some mistakes in the names I noted, without having checked every name one by one. Therefore, it is possible that more corrections will be needed. I hope to deal with them with time. I also entered some new species – aloe vera, aronia, paw-paw tree, kiwi, Schisandra, goji berry and cultivated Japanese quince, which is known in Bulgaria as planinski limon or mountain lemon – a name given to the plant by its introducer in Bulgaria, Vesselin Oreshkov, who have spent more than 40 years of research and trials in order to produce viable plants suitable for mass growing and consumption.
On many places there is more than one name per species. This makes searching easier, especially if one knows only for example the folks’ name of a plant. Some species lack a name in one or more languages – e.g. in English. This is comprehensible as the country of origin of this languages lies farther away from the Bulgarian lands (as long as Europe is considered), hence names for plants present in Bulgaria and the South-Eastern part of Europe but absent in the British flora are lacking. For yet other names in e.g. Polish and Dutch, most possibly there are names, which I need to find and add to the dictionary. This is a question of further work. Assistance is much appreciated.
For some plants it is difficult to define the exact name even in Bulgarian. This is the example of the plants form the genus Lycium. This is a plant from the family Картофови. There are (at least) three species present in Bulgaria – Lycium barbarum, Lycium europaeum, and Lycium chinense. In professor Kitanov’s dictionary, only the first species was included. The other wto were added by me. Growing for centuries in the Bulgarian lands and spread across the whole country, often in gardens, parks, hedgerow etc, the dried fruits of Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense, became very popular in the country by the name “goji berry”. The Bulgarian name of the plant is “вълче грозде”, just as the English “wolfberry”, but it is more commonly known as lyceum or merdzhan. The word merdzhan seems to come from Turkish, however the plant in Turkey is also called wolfberry and not merdzhan (as far as I know, this name is not used in Turkey for this plant). Wolfberry, a name used in English and Russian is rather a unifying name of several plants of this species. The same hold for the name goji berry – under this name are sold the dried fruits (often way too expensive) of both Lycium barbarum, and Lycium chinense. They are imported from China and India, while the plant grows everywhere in Bulgaria. Please feel free to correct me or complement the information just presented above.
The dictionary exist in a digital form with the possibility to enter corrections and new species. There is a searching engine available, which was kindly developed and provided specially for this project by Daniel Zachariev. Most sincere thanks for his help and work!
You can download the dictionary as an Excel spreadsheet, as well as PDF printable book (please note that the pages are landscape oriented instead of the usual portrait orientation).This PDF version contains only the initial first languages, as the Polish and the Dutch languages were included later on and there are still many gaps to fill in there. I can prepare a shorter version on demand, which would contain two or three languages only, should one find it useful (have a look at the attached trilingual version with Bulgarian, Latin (scientific names, and German only).
- Васил Канисков – „Съкровищница на българската народна медицина Том III – БОТАНИЧЕСКИ РЕЧНИК – ОСНОВИ“ София, 2015
/Vassil Kaniskov – “Treasury of the Bulgarian folk medicine Vol. III – BOTANICAL DICTIONARY – FOUNDATIONS” Sofia, 2015/
- NDFF Verspreidingsatlas – Naamlijst van de Nederlandse vaatplanten
- Wielki atlas roślin Polski – http://kwiatypolski.eu/
- Lista roślin leczniczych – https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lista_ro%C5%9Blin_leczniczych