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A Quick Latin Lesson

How familiar are you with plant taxonomy - the naming of plants?

Here is how to make sense of it:
The naming system was devised by Carl Linnaeus in 1737 and is based on 18th-century Latin. The system classifies every living thing with a long string of identifiers, starting with kingdom and extending downward through phylum, subphylum, class, order and family to the heart of the system: genus and species. This two-part name, or binomial, exists to prevent the confusion that may arise with common names. The beauty of Linnaeus's system is that there can always be a unique name for each new discovery without a change to the basic family tree.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT'S IN A NAME…

 
 


alba
- white
alpinus - alpine
alta - tall
angustifolia - narrow-leaved
aquifolia - sharp-leaved
arborea - tree-like
arenaria - of sandy places
atropurpurea - dark purple-red
aurea - gold
auriculata - with ears
autumnalis - of autumn
azurea - sky blue
barbata - barbed or bearded
blanda - mild, pleasant
borealis - northern
caerulea - blue
campanulata - bell-shaped
campestris - of the fields
canadensis - of the New World
candida - white
cardinalis - red
centifolia - many-leaved
chinensis - of China
cinerea - light gray
citrina - yellow
citridorus - lemon-scented
coccinea - scarlet red
compacta - compact
concolor - of one color


conica - cone-shaped
contorta - twisted
cordata - heart-shaped
cordifolia - with heart-shaped leaves
cristata - crested
divaricata - spreading
edulis - edible
elata - tall
floribunda - flowering freely
foetida - strong-smelling
fragrans - fragrant
glauca - gray-white
granda - large, showy
grandiflora - large-flowered
helix - twisting
lactiflora - white-flowered
lanata - woolly
latifolia - broad-leaved
lignea - woody
lobata - lobed
lutea - yellow-orange
maculata - spotted
microphylla - small-leaved
minor - small
mollis - soft, hairy
moschata - musk scented
multiflora - many-flowered
nana - dwarf
nigra - black


nivalis - growing near snow, white
nutlans - nodding
occidentalis - western
officinalis - medicinal
orientalis - eastern
parviflora - small-leaved
patens - spreading, open-formed
pendula - weeping, hanging
pilosa - shaggy
pinnata - feather-shaped
plena - full-double
plumosa - feathery
procumbens - trailing
prostrata - prostate
pumila - small, dwarf
punctata - dotted
purpurea - purple
quinquefolia - with five leaflets
regalis - stately, regal
reptans - creeping
rotundifolia - round-leaved
sempervirens - ever living or evergreen
simplex - undivided
speciosa - showy
spicata - spiked
tenua - thin
tomentosa - hairy
uliginosa - of marshy places
viscaria - with sticky stems