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
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.
||Sponge gourd, vegetable gourd
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.
If you’re not going to underline the scientific name, write it in Italicized form.
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!