Understanding Scientific Plant Names (Latin)
These articles are offered to help you understand scientific plant names and why we use them. The use of common plant names, paradoxically, causes confusion, in spite of their charm. And you don't need to know Latin to use scientific plant names. They were designed with consistency in mind, so they conform to a pattern relatively easy to understand. For your convenience, I include links to databases containing information on growing plants organized by both scientific and common names.
How do common plant names fail us? "Knowing what the Latin (and sometimes Greek) words mean can help gardeners with their planning and maintenance chores," writes N. S. Gill. E.g, "if the available area is cramped, a plant with arboreum (tree-like) or altissimum (very tall) in its name, might not be the best choice." Their common plant names may conceal this fact.
Common plant names will probably be with us in some form or other for some time to come, so I list them in this database for your searching convenience. The common plant names are listed in alphabetical order in this database.
Browse my database of scientific names of plants to locate plants you're interested in learning more about. Founded on a binomial system, the scientific names of plants offer more clarity than do their common counterparts.