In general usage the word indigen is treated as a variant of the word indigene, meaning a native.
Usage in botany
However, it was used in a strictly botanical sense for the first time in 1918 by Liberty Hyde Bailey ((1858–1954) an American horticulturist, botanist and cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science) and described as a plant
" of known habitat ".
Later, in 1923, Bailey formally defined the indigen as:
" ... a species of which we know the nativity, - one that is somewhere recorded as indigenous. "
The term was coined to contrast with cultigen which he defined in the 1923 paper as:
" ... the species, or its equivalent, that has appeared under domestication, – the plant is cultigenous."
- Bailey, L.H. 1918. The indigen and the cultigen. Science ser. 2, 47:306-308.
- Bailey, L.H. 1923. Various cultigens, and transfers ijuent change (see entry under cultigen).
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