POCHEON, Aug. 10 (Korea Bizwire) - Did you know that Korean pine trees were called ‘Japanese red pine’ in English? Pine trees are found all over Korea, but were called ‘Japanese red pines’ because the pine trees in Japan were known to the western hemisphere first.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of independence, the Korean National Arboretum reorganized the English names of native plants living in the Korean Peninsula. They plan to publish a book and distribute it.
The official botanical names of the plants are in Latin, and unchangeable by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. But nonproprietary names given by each country can be different, allowing many names for the same species.
The Korean national arboretum searched for names that included mention of another country even when the plant was native to Korea or common all over the world.
The name for pine trees was changed from ‘Japanese red pine’ to ‘Korean red pine’. In addition, the name for maple trees was changed from ‘Japanese maple’ to ‘Palmate maple’, because of its hand-shaped leaves.
The Korean goldenbell tree changed its English name to Gaenari, which is how it is called in Korean.
The National arboretum will distribute the book on English names of Korean native plants to official residences and government ministries. It can also be seen at www.kna.go.kr, and through Google Play books.
Officials from the National arboretum emphasize the importance of the project. “The name of a plant is not just a name. It is an embodiment of culture and history as well as the value of the plant. So, it is very important to let the proper English name be known.”
By Francine Jung (francine.jung@Kobizmedia.co,kr)