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Good morning I'm Sally ski today as host for hit the dirt. When I worked in a nursery a customer asked me if we had a graveyard Pink's. I've never heard of them. What do they look like I asked. Pink flowers on the ground all over the cemetery she said. Thinking it might be a Diantha's with a common name Pink. I looked up pink and Horace three 29 different pinks listed and only eight were Diantha's one caught my last pink. That's flocks of you lot. Also known as creeping phlox. I show the custom of the flocks. That's it she said she was happy and I was for hundreds of plants trees shrubs perennials an annual as there are hundreds more regional names Marsh Marigold alone has 56 common names from capers to King Cup and there are French German Tibet names. How do we cut across this region of Islam with the universal language botanical Latin. I love some of the common names. They're picturesque like love in the mist. Apple of Peru practical as in house speak and so word or show medicinal uses as in Longwood and heal.
But technical Latin is not a dead language. Classical Latin is botanical Latin changes gets added to Latin ises names of people countries regions and so on. We shouldn't be intimidated by botanical names. They're not hard to pronounce. Quite a few books in catalogues give pronunciations. They may be hard to memorize to start with but as you learn you will find that the names tell you something about the plans the system is called binomial. Two names for a plant. The genus to which I belong such as corners for dogwood or Diantha's for pigs and the species within the genus such as Cornus or receive the red twig dogwood or Diantha still towards the maiden pink species usually come true to seed within the species there are varieties corner service Flava Ramya is the golden twig dogwood Diantha's deltoids baths pink is a particularly fragrant maiden pink. So what can we learn from botanical names. Let's take the genus companion or bell flowers to start with. Company is Latin for Bell. Now you might pick up a catalogue that lists
25 or more species companion a cup patter goes from the cup alien mountains or Colina growing in the hills. They sound as though they be good rock garden plants. Companion latifolia is broad leaved and rotundifolia round leaved. Compounded the presses if Aaliyah has leaves like a peach and the peach you'll find if you browse further is Prunus Prussic a companion back to Flora has milk colored flowers and companion glomerata has crested flowers. These are aged identification or even understanding descriptions. There was for shapes such as pyramid does and horizontal has words that indicate place of origin. China answers from China. Canadensis from North America not just Canada as we might think there was described habitats and give us clues for where to plant you Mireles on walls pretenses in meadows Pellew streets in swamps sac sativus among rocks. Some specific names. Tell you what color a plant is actually means dark. So actress sanguinea means dark blood
red and outro purpurea dark purple flavors and blue tails and at least 30 others names for yellow. So really just as serious and indigo just a few of the words describing shades of blue and for reds and for reds just again just a few. We have Cox India's scarlet Ruba true red sanguinea is dull red and blue prayers coppery metallic red. You know half a million rows a rick us or Beatrice the rugosa means wrinkled and inlaid his mantle reaches out Camilla Mahler's of modest means softly Harry. Some other specific was for plaque characteristics of dent Titus toothed learn artist Willie macular artist spotted and particular artist netted and if you're looking for a plant without thongs in numbers means unarmed or thoughtless. We mustn't forget the Greek just a few examples. Opps this means looks like. So we have heli UPS's looks like the sun mecan is Greek for Poppy thus Meccan UPS's the Indian Poppy
in the mops is the false Lupin thermos not what you might think is Greek for Lupin and chorus in the Greek for bug in Coreopsis the seeds looking like bugs or as in familiar common name to exceed. We all find plants that we don't have a clue about. Let's say Petra Rogge Saxifraga. It's almost a Greek Roman joke. Petro is Greek for rock and ragas is a chink in a rock. Saxon is Latin for a rock and Franco is to break. So we have a slight repetition here but we sure get the idea where to put the plant. Prayer names do change and it's frustrating. There are rules though some changes may be due to misidentification or perhaps changes in classification. I'm sure they make sense in the botanical world but what about the Gardeners World. I used to know and Cous a mile or so to Flora. The specific name describing the flowers like Maya so tis the forget me not now is Bruno era macro phyla that tells me it has big news but doesn't say a thing about the flower. Then there was
Hit the Dirt
Botanical Latin
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WERU Community Radio (East Orland, Maine)
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Hit the Dirt is an educational show providing information about a specific aspect of gardening each episode.
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WERU-FM (WERU Community Radio)
Identifier: HTD188 (WERU Prog List)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Generation: Original
Duration: 06:23:00
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Chicago: “Hit the Dirt; Botanical Latin,” WERU Community Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “Hit the Dirt; Botanical Latin.” WERU Community Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: Hit the Dirt; Botanical Latin. Boston, MA: WERU Community Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from