Unknown Porophyllum : Zacapapaloquilitl.

  • zacatl (1)
  1. Principal English Translation: grasses, such as hay, used for fodder for animals (loaned to Spanish as zacate) (Cline 1986)
  2. dry grass, hay, straw, weeds, zacate (Lockhart 2001)
  • zacate (from náhuatl zacatl.)

m. (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua) : Herb, pasture, forage (2)

  • the name zacate is a derivative of Nahuatl zacatl, denoting certain grasses, especially a short pasture-grass (Watson 1938)
  1. Nahuatl Dictionary : https://nahuatl.uoregon.edu/content/zacatl
  2. Spanish Dictionary : Real Academia Española : https://dle.rae.es/zacate?m=form

Tiene raiz ramificada, de donde echa tallos delgados, verdes y de dos cuartas, hojas muy delgadas y largas, y flores azules llenas de pelos blancos y que se deshacen en vilanos. Es de naturaleza fria y humeda, y presta los auxilios que le son propios de cualquier modo que se aplique. Nace en lugares calidos, y sean planos, ya montuosos.

It has a branched root, from which it grows thin, green, two-quarter stems, very thin and long leaves, and blue flowers full of white hairs that dissolve into pappus. It is of cold and humid nature, and renders the aids that are proper to it in any way that it is applied. It is born in warm places, and are flat, and hilly. (Flores Olvera 1943)

From the description of the plant above it bears resemblance to Porophyllum tagetoides (1). This plant is a narrow leaved pore leaf and has blue coloured flowers (or possibly P.obscurum which is similarly blueish).

  1. See Post : Chepiche/Pipicha : Porophyllum tagetoides

The Latin Text

De Zacapapaloquilitl, seu olere, et pabulo papilionum. Radice firmatur surculosa, ex qua fundit caules tenues, virides, ac binas spithamas longos, folia admodum exilia, longaque, flores cyaneos, refertos pilis candidis, et in pappos demum abeuntibus. Frigida et humida natura constat, et quocumque modo applicetur, similes effectus praestat. Nascitur in calidis, seu planta sint, seu montosa loca.

Of Zacapapaloquitl, that is, to smell sweet and the food of butterflies. It is established by a sylvan root (1), from which it spreads thin, green stems, with two long spans, very slender leaves, and long, sky-flowers (2), packed with white hair, and at length departing into pappus. It is composed of cold and moist nature, and, in whatever way it is applied, produces a similar effect. It grows in hot climates, whether it be plants, or mountainous places.

  1. sylvan • \SILL-vun\ • adjective. 1 a : living or located in the woods or forest b : of, relating to, or characteristic of the woods or forest
  2. the Latin flores cyaneos translates as “sky flowers” although when taken separately flores = flowers and cyaneos = sky-blue. So from Latin to Spanish to English there seems to be translation issues (it makes me wonder how this affected the translation of the Christian Bible)
Zacate, used to describe the grass like nature of lemon grass
(La hierba de limón : Citronela : zacate (de) limón)
(Cymbopogon citratus)

Grass Mountain

“Zacateco” is a Mexican Spanish derivation from the original Nahuatl Zacatecatl, pluralized in early Mexican Spanish as Zacatecas, the name given to the state and city (1). The name was given by the Aztecs to the people inhabiting a region in which a grass they called the zacatl was abundant. The region was thus called Zacatlan by the Aztecs.

  1. The Zacatecos (or Zacatecas) is the name of an indigenous group, one of the peoples called Chichimecas by the Aztecs. They lived in most of what is now the state of Zacatecas and the northeastern part of Durango. The Zacatecos were a nomadic tribe, and not known to have built temples. Their only known deities were the sun, moon and certain stars. They rendered them tribute with flowers, weeds, aromatic herbs and dancing, and they did not sacrifice human lives.

This compound glyph for the place name Zacatepec includes two principal features. One comprises the five, feathery, yellow grasses [zaca(tl)] that were used for fodder and other purposes. The grasses grow on a hill or mountain [tepe(tl)]. Three are on the top of the mountain and two are in the middle. The mountain or hill is the standard, two-tone green, bell shape, with curling rocky outcroppings on the slopes and a horizontal strip of red and one of yellow near the base. (1)

  1. Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs : https://aztecglyphs.uoregon.edu/content/zacatepec-16r


  • Cline, S.L. (1986) Colonial Culhuacan, 1580-1600: A Social History of an Aztec Town (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press)
  • Flores Olvera, Hilda. Ma. (1943) Historia de las Plantas de la Nueva España de Francisco Hernández, edición 1942-1946 por el Instituto de Biología. (History of the Plants of New Spain by Francisco Hernández, edition 1942-1946 by the Institute of Biology.) Publicación del el Instituto de Biología de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, y bajo la Dirección del Dr. Isaac Ochoterena, Director del mismo Instituto : IMPRENTA UNIVERSITARIA MÉXICO, 1943
  • Lockhart, James. (2001) Nahuatl as Written: Lessons in Older Written Nahuatl, with Copious Examples and Texts (Stanford: Stanford University Press and UCLA Latin American Studies)
  • Watson, George (1938). Nahuatl Words in American English. American Speech, 13(2), 108–121. doi:10.2307/451954

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