Latin Plant Names: Are They Descriptive & Helpful Or Smoke And Mirrors? Let Me Explain What They Mean.

Latin names are usually made up of two parts as a minimum, though sometimes they are a it longer. This is called the binomial naming system and is a highly descriptive way to describe plants.

Best of all it is used globally so the confusion created by local names or foreign languages is no longer a problem.

Once you start to understand them Latin plant names are a real delight.

And they aren’t so difficult to understand once you remember many words we use everyday come from Latin. So where a plant has the word orientalis as part of its Latin name you’ll recognise it’s something to do with the orient or east. And if the plant is obesus you might guess it’s a bit fat. Likewise a plant with the name equinus is something to do with equines (horses). Often these words will be linked to others to tell us which part is obesus or equinus.

Some Latin names are descriptive of the plant, some are almost poetic. Others describe colours, places, leaf shape and so much more.

Scan through this list of around 900 words and discover what the two word / binomial plant name tells us about plants.



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