Fascination with fasciation

In a post in my nature photography blog today I showed a picture of a plant afflicted by the condition that botanists call fasciación/fasciation. I explained that botanists created that term, with some imagination, from the Latin noun fascia that meant ‘a strip of material, ribbon, band, bandage, swathe.’ If you haven’t already clicked on the link to the photograph, you can do so now and see if you think the fasciated plant looks like any of those things.

Spanish and English have borrowed the original fascia and use it in several technical ways. As the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica explained, “in anatomy it is applied to the layers of fibrous connective tissue which sheathe the muscles or cover various parts or organs in the body, and in zoology, and particularly in ornithology, to bands or stripes of colour. In architecture the word is used of the bands into which the architrave of the Ionic and Corinthian orders is subdivided.”

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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If you encounter an unfamiliar technical term in any of these postings, check the Glossary in the bar across the top of the page.

©2011–2018 Steven Schwartzman

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