Fun With Plant Names Part 2
In The Garden – By Stephen and Kristin Pategas
We work with plants constantly and we usually use their scientific names which are in Latin. Many plants have common names that are also their scientific names: magnolia, camellia podocarpus, pittosporum. So, you are already speaking Latin when you discuss them. There are also plants with interesting common names that provide an interesting description of one of its characteristics.
Many names relate to animals (bird, fish, horse) or their body parts (tail, horn, ear). There are also names that are physical shapes (bell, umbrella) or objects (string, balloon, feather). Some words are more ethereal or represent locations or action (rain, desert, walking). The fun part is that when you hear the name and see the plant, you look for the relationship and when it becomes apparent you may even smile.
All of these plants can potentially grow in Central Florida, however some you may not want to grow. Always make sure you have the proper growing conditions.
Torch or candelabra aloe – Aloe arborescens (red and torch-like blossom)
Bird nest fern – Asplenium nidus (the upward arching leaf arrangement creates an open center)
Cast iron plant – Aspidistra elatior (one of the few plants that survived indoors when soot generating gas was first used as a light source)
Desert rose – Adenium obesum (colorful flowering succulent plant that is low water use and native to areas south of the Sahara)
Orchid tree – Bauhinia blakeana (large and orchid-like blossoms)
Shishigashira camellia – Camellia hiemalis ‘Shishigashira’ (Japanese for lion’s head referring to the bloom)
Fishtail palm – Caryota mitis (leaves look like fish tails)
String lily – Crinum americanum (string-like blossoms)
Umbrella plant – Cyperus alternifolius (looks more like a segmented umbrella)
Horsetail – Equisetum hyemale (multiple stems grow upright)
Swiss cheese plant – Monstera deliciosa (serious holes in these large leaves)
Mexican feather grass – Nassella (Stipa) tenuissima (feathery leaves and blooms)
Walking iris – Neomarica gracilis (this plant spreads using drooping leaves)
Staghorn fern – Platycerium bifurcatum (leaves have the shape of antlers)
Balloon flower – Platycodon grandiflorus (blossoms are puffed up before opening)
Lamb’s ear – Stachys byzantine (downy leaves)
Yellow bells – Tecoma stans ‘Yellow Bells’ (bell shaped bloom)
Cardboard plant – Zamia furfuracea (thick leathery leaves)
Pinecone ginger – Zingiber zerumbet (mature flower heads perched on top of the stems)
Rain lily – Zephyranthes atamasco (alludes to the fact that it first blooms following the first summer rain)
Let us know if you have other interesting common names to add to the list – and if you smiled.
Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at 407-622-4886/ firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.houzz.com/pro/hortusoasis/__public.by