Botanical names

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Hilary

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Botanical names
« on: April 21, 2014, 09:11:06 AM »
Talking of education
Today i identified a plant I snapped yesterday as
Cynara cardunculus .
 I wonder what the name means .
Could someone with some spare time give a few hints on reading plants proper names?
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

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John J

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Botanical names
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 01:06:33 PM »
Hilary, Cynara is described as being the Latin name and cardunculus means resembling a small thistle.
William T Stearn's book 'Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners' is a good source of information. If you want to go deeper into it he also wrote a book called 'Botanical Latin'.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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KatG

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Botanical names
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 04:21:04 PM »
As a society with our headquarters in Greece it seems to me that it is high time we corrected the common misapprehension that botanical names are all Latin. In fact just as many, if not more, are of Greek origin, and according to my source Cynara is one of them.
Katerina Georgi. Interior designer and Garden designer. Has lived, worked and gardened in the southern Peloponnese for the last 26 years. MGS member and head of MGS Peloponnese Branch.

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John J

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Botanical names
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 06:19:54 PM »
My apologies, Katerina, in my reply I was quoting William Stearns and it seems that even the recognised experts can be mistaken. The genus name Cynara probably does come from the Greek kynara and not from the Latin. Personally I do not refer to plants as having Latin names, for the reason that you give, I always say botanical or scientific names.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Hilary

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Botanical names
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 06:16:23 AM »
John,
 Thanks for the titles of books regarding the scientific  names of plants.
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

Alice

  • Hero Member
Botanical names
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 11:04:32 AM »
Quote
As a society with our headquarters in Greece it seems to me that it is high time we corrected the common misapprehension that botanical names are all Latin. In fact just as many, if not more, are of Greek origin, and according to my source Cynara is one of them.

As I understand, Linnaean binomial nomenclature uses Latin grammatical forms, but these can be based on words from other languages (most often Latin and Greek).
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Alice

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Botanical names
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 11:10:16 AM »
Quote
Could someone with some spare time give a few hints on reading plants proper names?

Hilary, you might find the following interesting too.

http://www.winternet.com/~chuckg/dictionary.html
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 11:18:49 AM by Alice »
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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KatG

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Botanical names
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 04:33:17 PM »
Should this be a new topic?

I have a very useful little book called Plant Names Simplified - Their Pronunciation, Derivation and Meaning. Written by A.T. Johnson and H.A. Smith, originally published in 1931.

According to this Cynara comes from the Greek kyon.

Katerina Georgi. Interior designer and Garden designer. Has lived, worked and gardened in the southern Peloponnese for the last 26 years. MGS member and head of MGS Peloponnese Branch.

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Alisdair

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Re: Botanical names
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2014, 07:48:04 PM »
Quite right, Katerina; well worth splitting this off as a new topic.
Thanks!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society