Nicotiana, a type of flowering tobacco, can add beauty and fragrance to your beds or containers all summer long.
Courtesy of Parks Wholesale
Burlington Flowers, just like all other plants, have both common and Latin names. While common names vary with region and country, the Latin ones are universal worldwide. Common names, also, can be confusing as with coneflower. This could refer to either of two very different plants, but using a latin name (Echinacea) you won’t confuse this with the other coneflower (Rudbeckia).
Scientific names basically are composed of a genus name, followed by a species name (and then often cultivar or variety names). These Latin names aren't nearly so perplexing and foreign if you know a bit about their origins.
Many names are descriptive. They may refer to color such as "xantho" or yellow, "virens" or green, "nigra" or black, or "alba" or white. You may see a word, too, such as "lac" meaning milk and referring to white. The name for lettuce (Lactuca) is named for the milky white sap.
Color words may be combined with plant parts such as "canthus" or spine, not to be confused with "anthus" or flower. "Carpus" refers to fruit and "rhizus" to root. Combined you might have "xanthorhizus" or yellow root, “rubrifolia” or red leaves, “lactiflorus” or white- flowered.
Other descriptors may refer to shape, such as "stella" for star; size, such as "macr" for long or big, "lept" for thin or slender; number, such as "poly" for many; feel or texture, such as "lasi" for wooly. So what does "lasiocarpus" mean? How about "macranthus?" You're right-- wooly fruit and big spines.
To me it's even more fascinating when names refer to someone or something interesting about the plant. For annual flowers, did you know that petunia is from the Brazilian "petun" or tobacco, to which this plant is related?
The scientific name for annual geranium (Pelargonium) is from the Greek "pelargos" for stork, referring to the beak of the fruit. Yes, geraniums in nature do produce fruits or seeds although we seldom see them in today's cultivars. Impatiens is the Latin for impatient, referring to the violent seed discharge. Dianthus is one of those compound words from the Greek, meaning the flower (anthos) of the god Zeus (Di).