I was doing research on why so many species have common names with Norway in it (e.g. Norway rat, Norway spruce, Norway maple, etc), but came up empty. Anyone have a resource that explains this?
Don’t know about others, but rats were called so because a scientist thought they got to England on ships from Norway, even though it’s not true. Maybe Norway is associated with North? In Russian we have different names for those species. Another name that come up is Norway lemming, but it’s easy to explain as most of its range is in Norway. But there’s also Norway lobster that is found far from Norway, but maybe it was exported from there long ago? Maybe maples and spruce also were used for wood and got to another countries from Norway?
UPD. Norway sedge, Norwegian Cinquefoil were described from specimens from Norway.
UPD 2. Linnaeus described the lobster from locality “in the Norwegian sea”.
But why second name of Pinus resinosa is Norway pine if it’s found in NA?
Agreed, regarding Rattus norvegicus. I count 10 species on iNat that have Norway in their common English name and 10 (not all the same) with norvegicus in scientific name, which might not be all that many. The reasons for use of that country in the name probably vary.
Pinus resinosa: "The red pine is the state tree of Minnesota. In Minnesota the use of the name “Norway” may stem from early Scandinavian immigrants who likened the red pines to forests back home. " (Wikipedia)
As we know, common names aren’t always a reliable indicator of anything. Generally if the scientific name refers to a location or country (e.g., norvegicus) it’s likely the type locality for that species. But not always.
I’ve wondered about Norwegian Mugwort (Artemisia norvegica) here in California, too.
I didn’t know this species, but i did a quick search and it appears to have a highly fragmented holoartic distribution, despite being more common in North America it is present in Scandinavia. So the species was likely described in Europe with Norway being the type locality.
Yes, site is in Russian but says it’s described from Norway. http://www.nsc.ru/win/elbib/atlas/flora/846.html
For Norway Maple, the original distribution encompass most of Europe, and this includes part of Scandinavia according to the wikipedia range map:
it’s also the most observed maple species in Scandinavia on iNat, so I’m assuming it’s the most common Maple there, whereas in other parts of Europe the Sycamore Maple (that according to the range map on wikipedia is not even native in Scandinavia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_pseudoplatanus#/media/File:Acer_pseudoplatanus_range.svg) is the most observed species
So i’m guessing that being the prevalent Maple species there is a reason for the english common name. Since it was apparently not originally present in Great Britain there could have been a stronger association in english between the tree and the country where it was more common when it was introduced, maybe?
The common name in my language has no relation with Norway (it’s called “curly maple”)
I suppose I should’ve indicated that I’m in North America!
May not be true… but I heard one explanation that Linnaeus, being Swedish, was poking fun at Norwegians with the rat name.
Except it was John Berkenhout, an 18th century Englishman, who named Rattus norvegicus (as Mus norvegicus) in 1769, not Linnaeus.
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