Etymology of Plant Names

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Farhan Ahmed
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Etymology of Plant Names

Post by Farhan Ahmed » January 10th, 2013, 11:26 am

I always wondered what does suffixes in plant name like splendens and grandiflora meant. I found out that (through web sources) these are mostly Latin words which denotes either flower or foliage color, form, scent or any other peculiarity. In short these suffixes tell a lot about a plant.

Colors of Flowers or Foliage
alba, albus – white
arg, argenteus – silvery
ater – black
aurantiaca – orange
aureus – golden
aure, aurea, aureum – gold
azurea, azureus – azure, sky blue
caesius – blue gray
caerula – deep blue
candidus – pure white, shiny
canus – ashy gray, hoary
carneus – flesh colored
citrinus – yellow
coeruleus – dark blue
coccineus – scarlet
concolor – one color
croceus – yellow
cruentus – bloody
discolor – two or separate colors
flava, flavum – yellow
glaucus – covered with gray bloom
griseum – gray
incanus – gray, hoary
lutea, luteus – reddish yellow
miniata – of a reddish color
nigra – black
purpurea, purpureus – purple
rosea – rose-colored
rubens, ruber – red, ruddy
rubra, rubrum – red
rufus – ruddy
sanguinea – blood-red
viridis – green

Leaf Form
acerifolius – maplelike leaves
abr – delicate leaved
angustifolius – narrow leaves
aquifolius – spiney leaves
buxifolius – leaves like boxwood
ilicifolius – hollylike leaves
lanceolata – lance-shaped
lauriflolius – laurel-like leaves
longifolia – long-leaved
macrophylla – large-leaved
microphylla – small-leaved
parvifolia – small-leaved
parvifolius – small leaves
palmate, palmatum – hand-shaped leaves
populifolius – poplarlike leaves
rotundifolia – round-leaved
salicifolius – willowlike leaves

Plant or Flower Scents
arom – odor
dulce – sweet
fragrans – fragrant
fragrantissima – very fragrant
mosch – musk odor
odorata – scented

Plant Peculiarities

acaulis – stemless
amabile, amabilis – beautiful
blanda – pleasent
communis – common
contorta – contorted growth habit
cordata – heart-shaped
crispa – finely waved, curled
florida, floridus – flowering
gracilis – graceful
grandiflora – large-flowered
hybridus – hybrid
incana – gray-haired
lactea – milky
laevis – smooth
maculata – spotted
majus – larger
maxima – largest
millefolium – thousand-leaved
minor, minus – smaller
minim – very small
minut, minutus – very small
mollis – soft and/or hairy
mon – one (one leaf, one flower)
multiflora – many-flowered
nitida, nitidum – shining
officinalis – used as
perenne, perennis – perennial
pictum – painted
pulchella – pretty
punctata – spotted
semperflorens – everblooming
sempervirens – evergreen
speciosa – showy
spectabilis – spectacular
spinosissimus – spiniest
spinosus – spiny
superbum – superb
tomentosa, tomentosum – hairy
umbellata – having flowers in umbels
variegata – variegated
villosa, villosum – softly hairy
vulgaris – common

Plant Shape
arborescens – treelike
elata – tall
elegans – elegant, slender, willowy
recta, erecta – upright, erect
fruticosa – shrublike
grand, grandi = big
humilis – low-growing
nana – dwarf, miniature
pendula -drooping, pendulous
prostrat, prostratum, procumbens – prostrate
pumilia – low-growing, dwarf
repens, reptans – creeping
scandens – climbing

Origin of Species
aethiopium – Africa
alpin – alpine regions
andi – Andes
antill – West Indies
australis – southern
barbadensis – native to Barbados
borealis – northern
campestris – of the field or plains
canadensis – from Canada or America
canariensis – from the Canary Islands
capensis – from the Cape of Good Hope
chilensis – from Chile
chinensis – from China
europa – from Europe
hortensis – of the garden
insularis – of the island
indica - of indian sub-continent
japonica – japonicum – from Japan
littoralis – of the seashore
maritima – from near the sea
montana, montanus – from the mountains
palustris – from marshes or wetlands
riparius – of river banks
rivalis, rivularis – of brooks
saxatilis – inhabiting rocks
virginiana – from Virginia

Izhar
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Re: Etymology of Plant Names

Post by Izhar » January 10th, 2013, 11:31 am

nice sharing Farhan...

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Etymology of Plant Names

Post by Farhan Ahmed » January 10th, 2013, 11:37 am

@izhar...At your service :-)

M Farooq
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Re: Etymology of Plant Names

Post by M Farooq » January 10th, 2013, 11:52 am

farhan137 wrote:I always wondered what does suffixes in plant name like splendens and grandiflora meant. I found out that (through web sources) these are mostly Latin words which denotes either flower or foliage color, form, scent or any other peculiarity. In short these suffixes tell a lot about a plant.
It is fun to learn few Latin words and then plant names start making sense! If you are further interested there is a book named Latin for Gardeners which lists about 3000 words. You can buy it from amazon for $16. I have a hard copy for occassional spare time reading.

You may be surprised to know that when you discover a new plant, it has to be described completely in botanical Latin- English description was recently allowed last year after 300 years after this nomenclature system was introduced :-(

Izhar
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Re: Etymology of Plant Names

Post by Izhar » January 10th, 2013, 12:06 pm

Latin nomenclature is not limited to plants... same goes for all living things species.. even the names and terminologies used in medical science...

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Re: Etymology of Plant Names

Post by Faisal Riaz » January 10th, 2013, 12:47 pm

nice sharing................

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