"Calla Lilies" -"Arum Lilies" - notes on word usage

Diane Whitehead voltaire@islandnet.com
Sat, 17 Jun 2006 10:08:00 PDT
>  people in my hiking group ..... do not
>want to learn the botanical names at all. It seems like a lost cause.

Mary Sue,

I think perhaps just giving the name of the genus would be less 
overwhelming to a casual questioner, yet accurate enough to begin 

Often, that will suffice because there may be no other representative 
of the genus in the region.  Here, the big red-barked evergreen trees 
are called "arbutus" as their common name.  No one needs to know that 
they are really Arbutus menziesii.

We have a couple of species of Camassia, but they are both called 
"camas" as they look the same except under close scrutiny.  I was 
puzzled to find them  labelled in a local public garden with a 
so-called "common name" that is never used here.  A garden volunteer 
had used a name found in a book.  Now I can't remember what the silly 
name was - Indian lily?  Indian something, anyway.

Of course, it won't take long for your casual inquirers in California 
to find there are a lot of very dissimilar plants called 
"calochortus" so they will soon need to discover that two words are 
needed for the names.

Diane Whitehead  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
sandy soil

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