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Let's Learn About Botanical Names for Plants

By dave
September 29, 2011

Genera, species, cultivars, synonyms, common names... what does it all mean? If this subject has you a little confused, allow me to cut through the confusion and show you the light.

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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
Sep 29, 2011 6:30 PM CST
annual flower or weed would be good.. been sent those before Rolling on the floor laughing granted one mans weed is another persons prize flower .. but an evening primrose that grows in ditches is not what I had in mind .. was so happy to see a seedling thrive and grow strongly .. until I realized what it was .. and the pack was marked primrose
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Sep 29, 2011 7:41 PM CST
That sends a chill down my back - the fear that I might save heads from weeds accidently. But by the time I get something to grow well enoguh that I save seeds, I do know what it is.

More scary, we have lots of seeds from things that grow easily and reseed profusely ... one perosn's "easy to grow" is imnvasive in someone else's climate.

For example some love Trumpet Flowers and some curse them like kudzu - and I dunno nothing about so many plants. each person has to decide for themsleves what is invasive in their climate, and the way they grow. Some people apparantly deahead every bloom they don;t WANT to reseed! And know what every runner is and pluck it the same day it emerges. One guy told me that something was not invasive "if you know what you're doing".

We're all different!
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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LarryR
Sep 29, 2011 7:48 PM CST
Nicely written article, Dave. Loved the Allium/Muilla tidbit. I'm involved in two trivia teams and write for one of them. You can bet that somewhere along the line there will be an Allium/Muilla question! Smiling
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Name: Cherie or CeCe Coogan
Wisconsin USA (Zone 5b)
the faster I go the behinder I get.
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CherieCoogan
Oct 3, 2011 6:43 AM CST
Thank you Dave. I am one of those who can never figure out what all that is....................especially with y most favorite the Brugmansia. I know that Brugmansia is the genera, species? who knows they are all cultivars and oh heck I will never be able to keep it straight.
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Oct 3, 2011 6:52 AM CST
Latin will never roll off my tongue like it does some folks, but I try to get the names right before trading etc. This article is very helpful to me with the boxes since I am a visual person. It gives me a better understanding of what genus, species, and cultivar mean.
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Jan 18, 2012 6:50 AM CST
RickCorey said:Personally, I wish there were a CSI or NCIS for plants that would do plant DNA tests and tell me exact species, cultivar, parent strains for recent hybrids, and which hillside that exact seed germinated on! But I doubt that would give any actual advantage to most normal, sane gardeners.


I can't suggest a source for all those requirements, but there is a site which will come close. You can find all official sources for most genera, and with a little more digging you can often find the breeder, date registered, parents of a cross, flower description such as on KVB.

http://www.ishs.org/sci/icra.h...

http://www.ishs.org/sci/taxlis...

An alphabetical list on KVB for many bulbs, info can be obtained by clicking on the symbol or genus to the left of each cultivar. There's a search option at the top right to make searching for a cultivar easier, there's a lot of pages for some genera!

http://kavb.back2p.soft-orange...



Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jan 18, 2012 12:46 PM CST
Janet, you are a Super Sleuth! That has a ton of info. I always wondered where "real breeders" went to find "official" information about cultivars.

Thanks! I saved the links AND starred your post, so I can find it again.
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
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JRsbugs
Jan 18, 2012 12:52 PM CST
You're welcome Rick, it was by accident I came across this article, it was linked to from another article.

Thumbs up Green Grin!
[Last edited by JRsbugs - Jan 18, 2012 12:54 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #202686 (8)
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jun 4, 2013 4:01 PM CST
Somehow, I managed to arrive late to this party, but the article brings to mind the funny little mnemonic my HS biology teacher gave us to remember the descending (or ascending, depending on your point of view) categories:
Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species
"King Pays Cook Or Friends Get Sick"
Big Grin
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

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Dutchlady1
Jun 4, 2013 6:15 PM CST
LOL good one.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jun 4, 2013 6:19 PM CST
Karen Puts Celery On Fancy Garden Sandwiches.

Kevin Practices Conservation Or Face Gets Slapped.

Kids Play Continuously Or Few Get Sleepy.

To remember the order of the planets (and asteroid belt) ... (if you believe in Pluto) :

Mother Very Eagerly Made A Jelly Sandwich Under No Protest.
Name: June or Nancy-June o
Fort Leonard Wood, MO (Zone 6a)
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JuneBug
Jun 6, 2013 10:22 AM CST
☺☺ Rolling on the floor laughing They are very memorable! I do wish that I had been taught mnemonics in school...
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jun 6, 2013 10:34 AM CST
It helps when you have teachers who are totally insane. My HS biology teacher was certifiable, I swear! Hilarious! But I can still tell you the name of the cheekbones in the human skull. And his lectures on genetics and genes and chromosomes were, to say the least, memorable. Big Grin
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

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