Talk:Thorns, spines, and prickles

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Merger proposal[edit]

Thorn (botany), Spine (botany), and Prickle (botany) are all very short articles which cover a lot of the same ground. How about combining them in a single article which emphasis the comparative "points" (pun intended)? bd2412 T 16:43, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

If no one raises an objection in the next week, I'm going to "stick" these three together. Haha. bd2412 T 23:32, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Etmologically, thorn derives from horn, spine from spike, and prickle from pike. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:13, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I dont think so. Although EtymOnline shows that spine and spike are likely related, that doesn't mean that one actually comes from the other; just that they both come from a now-lost third root. Soap 22:50, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

File:Rose Prickles.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Rose Prickles.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on June 21, 2010. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2010-06-21. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 21:47, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Well, the article is a stub. Not quite as stubby as the three formerly separate articles on thorns, spines, and prickles, but not exactly ready for a GA review. I suppose some information on the evolutionary history of these features would be good to have, and additional botanical guidance as to the types of plants which tend to have particular types of pointed defenses. bd2412 T 22:26, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


There are too many commas in the title. Doesn't need to be one before the "and" in this instance, so I'll move it. Any objections and just move it back. Ը२ձւե๓ձռ17 17:47, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't object to moving it, but I do object to a cut-and-paste move which breaks up the edit history of the article. bd2412 T 18:42, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
If it were up to me, I'd have left out the last comma, but it's here. Technically it's probably covered by WP:ENGVAR. Since the appropriate redirect exist, I'd prefer to leave it where it is. Guettarda (talk) 18:50, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Cleanup needed[edit]

The style of the page is not authoritative. What is a "boma" supposed to be? Trivial examples clutter the main discussion. Genus and species names should be italicized, thistles not. Nadiatalent (talk) 14:09, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Change name proposal[edit]

This article should be better called "Sharp-pointed plant defensive mechanisms" or something like that. It covers more than thorns, spines and prickles. --RoRo (talk) 15:53, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

I like the current name. However, post at WP:PLANTS talk page and let other editors know about this to get further input. --(AfadsBad (talk) 19:28, 24 September 2013 (UTC))
Ok I will try, I can be lucky and get an answer and all. --RoRo (talk) 21:58, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
"Sharp-pointed plant defensive mechanisms" is a bit unwieldy, and doesn't allow for these structures serving purposes other than defence. The prickles on rambling roses are primarily a means of holding on to their supporting tree. The fine prickles on Rosa rugosa are thought to help trap wind-blown sand around the plant on the dunes where it grows. I'm not sure a better title can be found which covers all forms and functions of these structures. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:33, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Right. What about "Spinose structures of plants". BTW you have a reference at hand for those examples? I want to add them to the text. --RoRo (talk) 01:36, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Terminology is a real problem in this area. Terms like "thorn", "spine", "prickle", etc. don't seem to have consistent uses in different sources – see User:Peter coxhead/Work page#Spines vs. thorns where there's some material I had intended to work into this article, but hadn't got round to. The problem I see with "Spinose structures of plants" is that it seems to connect too strongly with "spine" – Stearn's Botanical Latin gives spinosus, spinose, as an adjective meaning "spiny". Some sources use "spine", "spiny", etc. very generally, but others (e.g. Beentje 2010) don't.
The material recently added is not properly supported by botanical sources. It needs inline references and then additional material explaining that some sources use the terms in the way now given, but others do not. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:57, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
The article title you may be looking for is armature (plant), but I'm not having immediate success is finding a definition of the scope of this term. Lavateraguy (talk) 10:49, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I added the references as bibliography at the end of the text, as all text is supported by that. But if you prefer I will add it as inline reference. A glochidium is a particular kind of spine, but I will define them too. --RoRo (talk) 12:29, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Much better, although the "lead" is currently not a lead, and needs moving to the body of the article, with a genuine summary as the lead.
However, there must be discussion of different uses. For example, the article says that spines are derived from leaves, but none of the four sources I listed at User:Peter coxhead/Work page#Spines vs. thorns restrict the term to leaf-derived structures. Also, the use of spinosus as an epithet is relevant; many plants with such names have what the article calls "thorns", e.g. Prunus spinosa. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:54, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I think it would be right to put a table like that, adding the rest of the sources. It looks like the main confussion arises because there is a "broad" and a "narrow" definition of spine. In spanish is the same, coloquially we use "espina" and "espinoso" in a very broad sense, but botanists distinguish between espina (caulinar = thorn, foliar = spine) and aguijón (= prickle). It looks like botanists agree much more about the spanish terms than about the english ones. --RoRo (talk) 16:15, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Turner et al. 2005, Sonoran Desert Plants mentions the 2 definitions of spine, the leafy one and the "everything that resembles a spine" one. It uses thorn, spine and prickle as here, adding to the references. --RoRo (talk) 17:26, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Good sources. Also, as I said above, I think that the fact that botanical Latin does not distinguish thorn and spine as nouns (spina is used for both) is an issue worth noting. Latin diagnoses required until recently could only add adjectives of origin to make any distinctions felt necessary, e.g. spina caulina for "thorn". Prickle on the other hand has a separate word, aculeus, but this seems to refer more to the curved shape than the origin. I think the "old" botanists would have scorned distinctions which relied on English words like "thorn"! Peter coxhead (talk) 21:36, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Why not only Thorns and develop the rest of it in the Article? Hafspajen (talk) 17:32, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
    If a single word were to be used, "Spine" would be better, as this can include "thorn" in botanical use, but the reverse isn't true. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:46, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Other sharp plant organs[edit]

It seems to be that it would be worth mentioning glochids in the text, as well as a see also, and there are also pricklets and acicles. Lavateraguy (talk) 10:50, 25 September 2013 (UTC)