Scientific Names of Vegetables in the folksong Bahay Kubo

by jhay on August 8, 2009

For our homework in Biology class (yes, I’m taking up my last Bio class for the rest of my college life) we were asked to look for the scientific names of the plants/vegetables mentioned in the folksong “Bahay Kubo” (Nipa Hut).

It’s been years since I last heard of or even sang the song so I consulted Google for the entire lyrics. And here it is:

Bahay kubo, kahit munti

ang halaman doon ay sari-sari

Singkamas at talong

Sigarilyas at mani

Sitaw, bataw, patani

Kundol, patola, upo’t kalabasa

At saka meron pang

Labanos, mustasa

Sibuyas, kamatis

Bawang at luya

Sa paligid ligid

Ay maraming linga

So now, the next step is to look up for the English names of the vegetables mentioned in the song. Some would just directly query Google by typing “scientific name [Tagalog name of vegetable]” and click on the first few links displayed.

I didn’t do that because it will be a “hit and miss, then try again” exercise because sadly, there aren’t that many websites that readily provide scientific information about vegetables in their Filipino/Tagalog names.

Besides, knowing the English names of those vegetables would be a fun exercise in my translation skills and an opportunity to learn a new thing or two. Like, I never knew that the English name of “singkamas” was Mexican turnip and that “winged beans” are what we call “sigarilyas” in Tagalog. If only more students used the internet more intelligently, then our teachers would not discourage us in using it as sources for our school works. But that’s a whole story for another time.

Going back, after obtaining the English names of those vegetables, it was only a matter of feeding those names into Google would their respective scientific names be readily available.

So here they are, in a neat tabular form for easy digestion.

Filipino/Tagalog Name English Name Scientific Name
Singkamas Mexican turnip Pachyrhizus erosus
Talong Eggplant Solanum melongena
Sigarilyas Winged beans Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
Mani Peanuts Arachis hypogaea
Sitaw String beans Phaseolus vulgaris
Bataw Hyacinth bean Lablab purpureus
Patani Lima beans Phaseolus lunatus
Kundol Winter melon Benincasa hispida
Patola Sponge gourd, vegetable gourd Cucunis acutangulus
Upo Bottle gourd Lagenaria siceraria
Kalabasa Squash Cucurbita maxima
Labanos White radish Raphanus sativus
Mustasa Mustard Brassica integrifolia
Sibuyas Onion Allium cepa
Kamatis Tomato Solanum lycopersicum
Bawang Garlic Allium sativum
Luya Ginger Zingiber officinale
Linga Sesame Sesamum indicum

A few things to remember when writing scientific names.

The genus or the first name is written with its first letter in the uppercase while the specific epithet or the second name is written with its first letter in the lowercase.

Underline each part of the scientific name separately.

Homo sapiens

If you’re not going to underline the scientific name, write it in Italicized form.

Homo sapiens

Why the strict rules? Well that would be discussed on the second part of this post along with the history of the scientific name. Happy learning everyone!

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