[Milton-L] Miltonia

miriammansur miriammansur at terra.com.br
Sun Apr 8 13:40:20 EDT 2007

Dear Angelica,

Although this orchid seems to bring some "Miltonic" inspiration, it is named after the English especialist on orchids whose name was Lord Fitzwilliam Milton. This type of orchid is very common here in Brazil, but its "Milton's" reference has nothing to do with "our" Milton. 

Best Brazilian Miltonia regards,

Miriam Mansur
De:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu

Para:"John Milton Discussion List" milton-l at lists.richmond.edu


Data:Wed, 04 Apr 2007 09:04:07 -0500

Assunto:[Milton-L] Miltonia

Dear scholars,

In doing a search on “Milton” and “South America,” I got onto the OED, which showed the following, which though neat will not make it any of my scholarly production.  I thought I would share it with you, though.  I hope you get the image of the Miltonia that I cut and pasted below the definition.  If not, google “miltonia orchid” and set the search to “image.”


Miltonia (n.)
    A tropical South American genus of epiphytic orchids bearing large brilliantly coloured flowers; (also miltonia) an orchid of this genus.

1837 J. LINDLEY in Edwards's Bot. Reg. 23 f. 1992 Miltonia spectabilis. Showy miltonia. 1838 J. LINDLEY Sertum Orchidaceum plate 21 It [sc. Miltonia candida] differs in the structure of its column and labellum..from the original Miltonia. 1890 W. WATSON Orchids xli. 315 Miltonias are easily propagated. 1930 T. W. BRISCOE Orchids for Amateurs viii. 120, I have found the addition of a small portion of partly decayed oak or beech leaves has had very beneficial results on all the Miltonias. 1963 Times 6 Feb. 12/3 One exhibit of orchids contains many beautiful cypripediums and miltonias. 1983 C. KING tr. W. Lötschert & G. Beese Trop. Plants 74 The genus Miltonia comprises 20 species with a natural distribution extending from Costa Rica to Ecuador. 2000 Northern Echo (Electronic ed.) 22 Apr., There is mimicry to attract the pollinator... The miltonia (a vivid deep mauve plant that is the common orchid starting point) looks like a butterfly's head.


Angelica Duran
Associate Professor
English and Comparative Literature
Purdue University
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
(765) 496-3957
<duran0 at purdue.edu>
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