Left: Acer Leaves Spelling Themselves; Right: The Maple Tree in Question
At a friend’s house, we captured the dried leaves of a maple that assembled themselves into a natural informational sign: ACER. This is one of the numerous cultivars of maple you commonly see in Seattle. It has a mounding habit, contorted branches, and lacy leaves.
According to Quattrocchi, the genus name Acer has the following origin:
Latin: acer, aceris “the maple tree”; Akkadian arku “long, tall”.
Akkadian refers to the extinct Semitic language spoken in ancient Mesopotamia in the 29th – 28th centuries BC. What constituted the Akkadian Empire is today the center of the Arab world. A degree in philology is necessary to trace the path from the Akkadian arku to acer. You can get a sense of some of the botanical names that entered Medieval Latin texts from this Wikipedia entry Arabic botanical names.Acer (Leaves) on a Rock