Sunday, 10 January 2016

What’s in a name?

I much prefer to use Latin plant names rather than common names; Latin names avoid confusion and give lots of additional information about a plant’s habit or colour, where it came from or who discovered it. Common names often vary between locations and the same one can be used for more than one plant. For example, elephant’s ears is a common name used for Bergenia, Colocasia and Ligularia. The leaves of each plant might resemble an elephant’s ear, but they are very different plants with very different growing conditions.
Ligularia dentata Britt-Marie Crawford, common name Elephant's ears, which was found growing in her garden by a general practitioner who was a keen gardener. Before she could propagate it she died suddenly in her sleep. Her family ensured that the plant became commercially available and named it after her.