NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN FOR MAY 28, 2005
WHERE DID THAT PLANT NAME COME FROM?
BY JUDY SHULL-HIEBENTHAL
writer today is Judy Shull-Hiebenthal, a Seward County Master Gardener.
We are delighted that she has agreed to share with us her research about
the names of some common plants. We are not able to do all of them in
one issue so parts II, III, and IV will come later.)
to be readers. We peruse the catalogs that arrive
Anyone who has smelled
nasturtiums will understand the origin of its name....nasus meaning nose
and tortus for twisted. The pungent nasturtium can make your nose
wrinkle. They originated in South America. A Spanish plant
collector, Nicolas Monardes, noted the flower in 1569 in his writings.
The flowers made their way to Europe in 1648. Thomas
Jefferson was a nasturtium fan, planting them for many years in his
flower beds at Monticello.
Father Armand David discovered this plant in China. He was a
Jesuit missionary sent to the Orient as an educator but was released
from that post to collect plant specimens. He sent boxes and boxes
of plants back to Paris. About one-third of them survived. They
made major contributions to the botanical treasury. The original
Astilbe discovered by David was rather plain...thus the name, a
(without) stilbe (brilliance). Modern cultivars ARE brilliant.
David's name is found today on another popular plant, the
butterfly bush....Budleia Davidi.
Remains of this
plant were found in the grave of a Neanderthal man dating back 50,000
years. It was brought to Britain by Crusaders...and labeled as
holy plus hoc. "Holy" from the holy wars and
"hoc" because its leaf was used to treat the hocks of horses
in order to reduce swelling. Garden hollyhocks are members of the mallow
family. Relatives include okra, cotton, and hibiscus. Through
history they, too, were used for cures of various ills. Stems of
mallows were a source of dye and fibers of the stalks were woven into
grew wild in China. Later, they were cultivated in Chinese gardens
for 2500 years, eventually making their way to the West. Mums were
first seen in English gardens in 1795. The word chrysanthemum
comes from the Greek for "gold flower". Early residents
around the Mediterranean Sea created garlands of mums to ward off
demons. Feverfew, also known as tansy, is a member of the same
family. Other close relatives include Shasta daisies, ox-eyes, and
popular when gardeners began to look for easy-care plants. They
originated in Japan and China. Early they were known as plantain
lilies (planta...soul of the foot) because the leaves resembled a foot.
Then botanists in many countries worked to bring order to the naming of
plants. As they did, many hoped to have their name attached to these
plants. In 1812, Leopold Trattinic proposed that the plantain lily be
named for Nicholas T. Host, an expert on grasses. Disagreement
ensued but finally in 1905 the International Botanical Congress agreed
to the change from plantain lily to hosta. The genus has 70
species and from them has come beautiful shade plants in colors from
blue to yellow, with stripes, points, puckers, and wrinkles.
flower is also known as coneflower or black-eyed susan. The name
is linked to a personal friendship between Olaf Rudbeck and Carolus
Linnaeus. Rudbeck taught at the University of Uppsala in Sweden at
the time that Linnaeus was working on the system of scientific
classification of plants. Linnaeus was a poor, hungry scientist.
In 1730 he was hired by Rudbeck to tutor the Rudbeck children. The
position ended Linnaeus' poverty & allowed him to continue his
classifications. In gratitude Linnaeus chose this plant to bear
his friend's name.