Connect with us

News

Where do plant names come from?

Published

on

0221755_Debby_Looney_1000x600.jpg

By Debby Looney, gardening expert

Have you ever opened up a gardening book and been confused by all the names?

It is pretty daunting to be faced with Latin, illegible and irrelevant words, possibly very few pictures and a whole gamut of words in italics.

Many people just close the book again thinking they will not make any sense of it, which is a shame, as so much can be learned! I meet people who grumble that they cannot find a plant in a book, or by Googling it, and this is often because they are using the common name, which, especially with Google, will bring up an unfamiliar plant on an American website. Imagine if all plants only had a common name - it would be great! Or maybe not so handy, for example, take the flower ‘Bluebell’ - in Ireland it can be one of two species of bulb, in Australia it’s a climber and in America it’s a Mertensia. If I say I love Spirea, do you think of as Sorbaria, Astilbe, goatsbeard or an actual Spirea?

So how did we arrive at the correct names we have?

We owe our binomial nomenclature, to give it its correct terminology, to Carl Linneaus, a Swedish naturalist born in 1707. He studied medicine and botany, which was one of the required subjects when studying medicine. At the age of 30 he developed a system of classification for all organisms, which is more or less still the one we use. Unfortunately for us, Latin was the scientific language of the time, so this is what has been kept. The genus and species names are always italicised (something about which I am very lazy), or, in handwriting, underlined.

When you look at a plant name, for example Cornus sanguinea, the first part denotes the genus, which is a large group of plants sharing similar characteristics. The second part is the species with the name often descriptive, in this case sanguinea comes from the Latin for blood, as Cornus sanguinea has brightly coloured stems. The species name can relate to many different characteristics, where a plant comes from as in japonica - Japan, occidentalis – America, arabis – Arabia, - or colour; alba - white, purpurea – purple. Where it grows; saxatile – rocks, campestris – fields, how it grows; fruticosa – bushy, repens – creeping, and so on.

There are a few curveballs thrown in too, where a plant is named after a person, as in fortuneii – Robert Fortune - who is credited with bringing us tea!), or darwinii - Charles Darwin. The RHS have a lovely book called 'Latin for Gardeners' which is a gem if you are interested in this type of thing!

Now is the time to start thinking about the flower garden. It is the perfect time to plant begonia bulbs in pots, as starting them off in the greenhouse or even shed will get you a much earlier flowering time. The depressed part of the bulb is the top, which is unusual. Do not plant them too deep! Dahlias are also available currently, again it is a good idea to start them off indoors, as they are not very hardy if we get a late frost. Plant them with their crown level to the soil, and when shoots appear only leave five grow. I know it seems wrong, but this will produce strong plants with a lot of flowers. As Dahlias grow, pinch the top of the shoots out to encourage bushy growth. All dahlias have different speeds at which they grow, so don’t despair if one seems very slow compared to others!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Festive jumpers and a Kerry jersey brings fundraiser to €10k

By Michelle Crean Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up! A Kerry football […]

Published

on

0245787_Sem_Xmas_4.JPG

By Michelle Crean

Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up!

A Kerry football jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team is up for grabs via a fundraising link once a donation is made to the Presents for Palliative fundraiser.

On Friday eight local schools including Holy Cross Mercy, Killarney Community College, Presentation Monastery, Lissivigeen, St Brendan’s College, St Brigid’s, St Francis Special School, and St Oliver’s
swapped their uniforms for their most colourful festive gear with funds going to help the amazing services in the Palliative Care Unit/Kerry Hospice Foundation.

“The day took place across the schools involved last Friday (December 2) and looks like it has been a success,” teacher Elaine Moynihan from St Brendan’s College told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The donations from the schools are still being counted but students look to be on their way towards making their goal of €10k.”

The iDonate ‘Fundraising For Kerry Hospice Foundation’ has been very helpful in this regard, she added.

“Anyone who donates via the link and leaves their name will be in with a chance to win a Kerry jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team which will be presented to them before Christmas by a couple of members of the team.

“This was organised by the students involved in the fundraiser as a way to say thanks, and give back, to the members of the community who have gotten involved in the event – the link is live until December 18 and the draw will be made the following day.”

Attachments

Continue Reading

News

Killarney punter secures €50,000 in EuroMillions draw

A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’. The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was […]

Published

on

A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’.

The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was valid for Tuesday night’s special draw.

The Killarney winner was one of 10 who each secured the €50,000 windfall.

“The National Lottery can reveal that three players in Dublin, three players in Cork and one player in Kerry, Roscommon, Kildare and Wexford all scooped the special raffle prize which was the seventh of 12 draws in the National Lottery’s ’12 Draws of Christmas’ promotion,” said a National Lottery statement.

The eighth draw will take place tonight (December 9) where 10 more players are guaranteed to win the amazing prizes.

Meanwhile, a player in Belgium scooped the EuroMillions Jackpot prize worth an astonishing €142,897,164.

Continue Reading

LOCAL ADS

Last News

Advertisement

Sport

Trending