[ANSTHRLD] Blazon help.

tmcd at panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Sun Jul 26 19:48:07 PDT 2009

On Sun, 26 Jul 2009, Bob Wade <logiosophia at yahoo.com> wrote:
> "Vert, a cross between four dogwood flowers (Cornus sanguinea) and a
> chief argent."

RfS VIII.4.c bans "Linnaean genus and species (or some other elaborate
description)" if it's necessary to emblazon something that's blazoned
as "proper".  While that doesn't apply in this case, Linnaean
binomials have not been used in blazons in the past couple of

Common names, even of uncommon flowers, have been used.  As just the
first few examples I hit:

    {AE}dric Lambert|0712M|d|Per pale azure and sable, in pale a
    roundel argent and a wolfsbane blossom stem to chief Or, a bordure

    Alena Premyslowna|0512A|d|Azure, a triskelion arrondy and on a
    chief Or, three gillyflowers gules.

    Alesia Anna von Altmul|0601G|d|Per fess indented azure and Or, in
    chief two edelweiss argent seeded Or.

    Alianora Alexandra da Lysh{ao}ret|0206W|d|Sable, three narcissi
    affronty one and two slipped and leaved proper.

Ivo asked what documentation is needed.  RfS VII.4 is

    4.  Period Flora and Fauna - Flora and fauna that were known in
    the period and domain of the Society may be registered in armory.

    Hybrids or mutations of period forms known to have been developed
    after 1600 generally may not be used as charges.  For example, the
    English Sheepdog may not be used in Society armory because it was
    developed after 1600.

So what you need is evidence that this flower -- which is to say,
some bush or tree that bore it -- was known in England in period,
or at worst in the grey area (< 1650).  And you need to present this
evidence in a way that someone reading it will be convinced that it's
true (and you also list the sources so they can confirm that your data
is true).

As to what it gets blazoned, that's Laurel's problem, not yours, but
you can make suggestions.  That is, saying that Chaucer refers to a
whiffle-bat or whatever it was ... whipple-tree, that's it ... doesn't
help unless you know that the whiffle-bat tree has blossoms that look
like what you want.  And the OED 1st ed., letter W p. 57,
s.v. Whippletree 1, says "Of uncertain origin and meaning", and quotes

You can look at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Dogwood> to get a
copy of the drawing from 1796.  The single blossom has large
pollen-bearing organs, but the clusters of flowers doesn't show them
much.  Does that depict what you're submitting?  Or wade thru a Google
or Google Images Images search for "common dogwood".
may serve.

If your depiction has five prominent sex organs, the OED will work.
The 1st ed, letter D p. 585, s.n. dogwood, has

"[lit. wood of the dogtree, q.v.]

"1. The Wild Cornel, Cornus sanguinea, a shrub common in woods and
hedgerows in the south of England, with dark red branches,
greenish-white flowers, and dark purple berries.

"[Turner calls it dogberry tree Lyte ... Dogge berie tree ...] 1617
Minsheu Ductor Ling., The Dogges tree, togge-wood, or wilde cherrie
tree ..."

If you want something in period, go back to "dogberry", p. 580.

"1.  The 'berry' or drupe of the Wild Cornel or Dogwood.  b.  The
shrub; also Dogberry-tree.

"1551 Turner  Herbal 1. M j b, The female is called of some doge berry
tree: ..."

That should suffice that it was known in period in England.

You could add out that the OED p. 585 above says "b Applied to other
species of the genus Cornus; esp., in N. America, to C. florida ..."
but has the first date of 1676.  You can, and I think should, point
out to Laurel that it's far more appropriate to call something
"dogwood" that lived in England and had the name shortly after period,
than to use that name for New World flora, and therefore that Laurel
should use your picture as the defining instance of "dogwood blossom"
and reblazon everything that has used the four-lobed-rose-like
depiction as "flowering dogwood blossom" or some such.

Daniel de Lincolino
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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