Latin Names
Sun, 30 Nov 2003 11:46:45 PST
When I am in a nursery and see a new  'must have' plant that is priced way 
beyond my budget, it usually has a common name.  If I do not know the correct 
name I read all the fine print and ask questions until I find the botanical 
name.  Sometimes I already know the botanical name.  I can look for the plant by 
its botanical name in catalogs, on the internet or in the same nursery for much 
Example:  I once saw a 3' tall plant labeled Black Taro for $79.99.  In the 
same nursery I found a 4" pot with a 9" tall Colocasia Nigra for $4.99.  I was 
pretty sure they were the same plant, bought the small one and in 2 months it 
was as large and beautiful as their $79.99 version.
Another time a friend called and said I just had to get her a tree she just 
found at a nursery priced over $100.  She gave me some ridiculous name common 
only to that nursery.  I told her to go back, read all the fine print on the 
tag and see if she could find a botanical name.  I also suggested 2-3 
possibilities from her description of the flowers on the tree.  She called the next day 
with one of the names I suggested and we were able to find her a Bauhina Tree 
for around $20.00
I found a beautiful plant in a hanging basket for $89.99 at a nursery, again 
with a common name.  It was a plant that is usually grown in the ground, very 
easily started and grown from seed.  So I bought a package of seed, planted it 
in a hanging basket and in 2 months had one as beautiful as their $89.99 
version.  It was Cerinthe major purpulescens and if you haven't tried it in a 
hanging basket, do.  It is most beautiful looking up into the flowers rather than 
down at the nodding blossoms.  Just remember to pinch often in the beginning 
to get it thick and lush.
I'm sure you do the same thing, just never thought of it as saving yourself 
money by knowing the botanical names.  It's just a good argument when people 
harrass me about needing to know the botanical name.
Carolyn Craft in Los Gatos, CA

More information about the pbs mailing list