Tag Archives | botanical names

What’s in a Name? Whence They Came

Oryza sativa 'Red Dragon'
Oryza sativa ‘Red Dragon’

Fun, fanciful, or even downright silly, cultivar names often offer some clues as to what a plant might look like. If you want a hint as to where that plant might grow best, though, the botanical name is a better place to look. I’m going to save specific place names for another post, but for this one, I’ve collected a bunch of epithets that relate to general plant habitats.

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What’s in a Name? Uses, Flavor, and Fragrance

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What’s in a Name? Form and Function

Linum perenne ‘Sapphire’
Linum perenne ‘Sapphire’

Ages ago, I started the What’s in a Name series with an intro post (Part the First) and several color-themed posts: Through the Rainbow I, Through the Rainbow II, and White, Black, and Shades of Gray. I recently ran across the file I’d been keeping of interesting botanical names and realized that there’s plenty of great material left to explore. Granted, much nomenclature stuff clearly strays into the geek zone. It’s  unlikely that you’ll ever need to know that the specific epithet amblyodon – as in Gaillardia amblyodon (maroon blanketflower) means blunt-toothed, or that skirrhobasis – as in Aphanostephus skirrhobasis (Arkansas lazy daisy) – means hard-based. But there are many other prefixes, suffixes, and epithets that can be more useful to know: in this case, if you’re looking for plants with certain form- and habit-related traits.

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