Friday, October 29, 2010


SOME experienced gardeners, and that feeble majority, or the uninitiated, stay away from botanical names as if bubonic plague.  I understand worries about pronunciation or spelling.  Your humble servant does not care about these issues. If you can not spell, the computer will suggest the right thing.

But one thing I tell you, knowing them botanical names, separate the amateur from a pro, the first division player from one in the second.
That is that, in my intercontinental opinion. 

Botanical names tell tales

Latin plant names are usually chosen by botanists because of some connection with the plant.  Botanical names such as Claystonia virginica, Viola misouriensis, Pieris japonica, 
Linnaea borealis and Aquilegia alpina reveal where this plants originally grew in the wild.  For example, Linnaea borealis--borealis meaning northern in Latin--grows as far north as USDA Hardiness Zone 2.

Some Latin names signify bloom times. Thus, vernalis means spring, so Hamamelis vernalis would be a good witch hazel for spring bloom.  Adonis aestivalis, which is commonly known as summer adonis, provides good summer color, while Colchicum autumnale brightens the garden in fall, and Eranthis kyemalis produces, its bright yellow flowers in late winter.

Fine Gardening
August 1999
Page 16

Back in the studio, some readers may remember a previous post about some
'Dipterantus prostratus', a wild plant I domesticated and the two are to your right with Roman numerals.

I went to They have a section for plant ID, placing a picture with a rather brief description, including the exploding firecracker like habit of the seeds when hot and irrigated.

What were the responses from these 'educated' gardeners? Chatarantus and Ruellia, believe it or not.  Which brings an issue for pondering..

How can anyjuan presented with a bad/good picture, speculate in such a stupid fashion if the description informs, TELLS, what the mystery plant is not?

The situation is remarkable. Those gardeners getting their plants from nurseries habitually, will show a limited repertoire of known plants, often the available, common place ones in Home Depot or near by nurseries.

In brief, I got irritated as hell. If anyjuan ask me about this or that, I do not speculate, I will research or accept my ignorance...These old farts are like many people in Puerto Rico into collective monologues. They talk  aloud in a group to see if anyjuan engages in trivial, meaningless chit chat. That is that.

Apaga i vamonoh.

1 comment:

  1. Pues yo soy tan ignorante al respecto que ayer me dí cuenta de ese detalle de los petardos, o las semillas que explotan, fue una cosa que me dejo maravillada, y con respecto a los nombres botánico tienes razón. Yo por lo pronto lo estoy intentando, aunque me cuesta trabajo.
    Pero es una satisfacción, en mi personal forma de pensar.
    Gracias y hasta pronto.


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