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Biology LibreTexts

1.7: The Meaning of Plant Names

  • Page ID
    40068
  • Learning Objectives

    • Describe the meaning of botanical names.

    Botanical names often provide a helpful description of a plant. The origins of Latin and Greek names may be classical, mythological, or commemorative, or they may relate to a place, area, or season. Descriptors for plant surface characteristics or color, habitat, growth habit, and size and shape are other common sources for specific epithets. Familiarity with their meaning is helpful for remembering plant names. References such as the Dictionary of Plant Names by Allen J. Coombes (1994) or The Names of Plants (1996) contain interesting information on the origin and meaning of plant names. Information is also available online at these links to Califlora: Plant Name Meanings and Derivations [New Tab][1] and The Meaning of Latin Plant Names [New Tab][2].

    Practice Identify the meaning of each of the specific epithets using the links above to online resources.

    An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
    kpu.pressbooks.pub/plant-identification/?p=129


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