Common Plant Names
A to B
This list of common plant names enables you to search for your favorite plants using their familiar monikers. Plants beginning with the letter "A" or "B" can be found here. Among my favorites in this group is Adonis, that handsome devil who presages the return of spring, and beech trees, whose leaves look good even when brown.
C to D
Common plant names starting with C and D can be searched for by following this link. Columbine is, for me, one of the standouts in this list: I love the intricate and unusual shape of its flowers. And you already know my predilection for spring bloomers, meaning daffodils will always have a place in my heart.
E to F
The listing for E to F includes two plants that are, in a sense, opposites. Elephant ear has an edible root often referred to as "taro" and renowned in various parts of the world as a food source. Meanwhile, foxglove is highly toxic -- keep the kids away from this one!
G to H
Did you know that ginkgo trees, one of my entries under G, go back to the time of the dinosaurs? Grow the male plants unless you want a dinosaur-sized mess in your yard, though (from the fruits). And if you know your plants at all, then you're probably betting there are plenty of hollies and hydrangeas under H (and you'd be right!).
I to J
In browsing my database of common plant names from I to J, you'll find a South African native right off -- I'll let you guess what that might be. But there is little guesswork needed to figure out that the listing for J will dominated by plants whose common names are "Japanese" something or other.
K to L
The K to L listing is dominated by four plants who belong to the aristocracy of aromatic blossoms: Korean spice viburnum, lavender, lilac and lily-of-the-valley. Lantana also exhibits a striking smell, but, in its case, the unforgettable fragrance comes not from the flowers but from the foliage (although some people dislike it).
M to N
Common plant names beginning with the letters M or N can be found on this page. What are some of the representatives of this listing? Well, I include a giant tree (maple) and a dwarf one (mugo pine), a perennial with a "religious history" (Maltese cross) and a ninebark shrub called "Diablo" (devil). How's that for symmetry?
O to P
Under O here, you will see "Oswego tea" listed. Wondering what the heck that is? Well, it's an alternate common name for bee balm. That's why common plant names can be confusing -- and also why I've built some redundancy into my databases. The P listing is filled with phlox (both tall and creeping), among other plants.
Q to R
Relatively few common plant names start with a Q (but I found one for you!). As for those listed under R, you will not be surprised to see "rose" crop up repeatedly. But be forewarned: some of these so-called roses aren't really roses at all.
S to T
The stories behind a few of the common names listed here are fascinating. You may be surprised to learn, e.g., what constitutes a true "shamrock." Then there's the inconsistency in the naming of "tulip" trees, as I discuss in my article. As for tickseed, I'm left wondering who'd want to pay money for a perennial whose name conjures up thoughts...
U to Z
I group the remaining common plant names here, at the end of the alphabet. In this section, the vines are well represented, including vinca, Virginia creeper and wisteria. Yarrow is another plant with an interesting history behind it, but as indicated in its botanical name, not its common name.