- Author: Bernadette Thomas
What Makes up the Botanical Name?
Botanical names can be composed of three parts: the genus, species, and variety. For Digitalis purpurea maculata (common name Foxglove), the first part Digitalis refers to the plants' genus, which is always capitalized.
Latin names can give you useful information about a plant, including its color, where it originates from and growth habit. For example, Lavandula angustifolia 'Nana Alba', pictured below, has narrow leaves (angustifolia) and is compact ('Nana') with white flowers ('Alba').
alba/albus - white
caerulea/caeruleus - blue
coccinea/coccineus - scarlet
argentea - silver
alpina/alpinus - alpine
campestris - field
maritima - coastal
montana - mountain
pratensis - meadow
sylvatica - forest
angustifolia - narrow leaves
fragans/fragrantissima - scented
foetida/foetidus - smelly (unpleasant)
grandiflora - large-flowered
nana - small, compact
odorata - perfumed
officinalis - has herbal uses
tomentosum - hairy, downy
columnaris - columnar
dentata - toothed
fruticosa - bushy
gracilis - slender
reptans - creeping
scandens - climbing
Country or area of origin
chinensis - China
japonica - Japan
sibiricus - Siberia
occidentalis - America
orientalis - Asia
How to Write the Botantical Name
* When writing botanical names, use italics if the rest of the text is normal. If the whole sentence needs to be in italics, make the botanical name in regular font – basically, make it stand out visually from the words around it.
* Capitalize the genus portion of the name, but never the species.
* When you are discussing several different species, you can shorten the genus name after the first use. So, for instance, Rosa rugosa, Rosa gallica, and Rosa canina can become R. rugosa, R. gallica, and R. canina.
* Spp. is shorthand for several species, so if you want to refer to a number of rose species generally, you could use the abbreviation Rosa spp.
* Sometimes a botanical name is written with an ‘x,' like Rosa x alba. This just means that this species is thought to be a cross between two other species (in this case, Rosa gallica and Rosa canina).
Try double labeling your writing out the name of your plants in your garden with the common name on one side and the botanical name on the other, or making botanical name markers for your garden. Flashcards are an old standby, of course, or you can create your own word search puzzles or crosswords using an online puzzle maker if you'd like something a little more fun and challenging. Saying the name out loud several times and creating a story to help you remember is what I am trying out.
Best of luck!
- Author: Kathy Low
I've been blogging off and on for the past ten years. During that time I've often wondered about our readers and their interests. So I decided it was time to stop wondering and to start doing something about it. So please click the link below and take a 5 question survey. I'll post the survey results in a future blog post. Thank you for your time and feedback!
- Author: Heather Hamilton
I have always had an interest in entomology and honestly wished I had pursued it many years ago. I had taken the bug class at Solano Community College, we took a fieldtrip to the UC Davis campus to see there department and it was so fascinating! I was always able to understand and memorize all of the Latin names in horticulture, so this was just an extension of that. Kind of creepy and neat all at the same time. The other night I went out on my deck, I saw the largest beetle I have ever seen! I took some pictures and even got close enough to it to nudge it with the broom, but it just played dead. I sent my snapshot to Google and sure enough it is a Derobrachus hovorei or the Palo Verde beetle. It is native to the southwest and northern Mexico. They are in the Cerambycidae family, the long-horned beetle. When the male and females mate the females bore down about a foot to lay her eggs and when they hatch into grubs, they feed off of the trees for up to 3 years. They will feed on various trees and shrubs but most commonly the Palo Verde trees that grow in the Sonoran Desert, hence the name. The larvae can be up to 5” long, while the mature adult can get to 3 ½” long. They do not eat once they emerge, they survive on the stored nutrients, living for only about a month. There sole purpose is to mate and do it all over again. During Monsoon season there are hundreds of thousands that emerge in the summertime, flying about looking for a mate, after they mate, they die. They are a little scary looking but are harmless to people and so amazing!
After doing all this research, I then learned that it is in fact the Prionus californicus, California root borer. According to Karey Windbiel-Rojas, Associate Director for Urban and Community IPM, the main features to look for are the antennae. The California root borer has very distinct toothed antennae, whereas the Palo Verde beetle antennae are very segmented but not toothed. Either way this was a fun topic to research.
- Author: Tina Saravia
I recently did a presentation for theCordelia Branch Library inFairfield. They put on display several books, and one of them was “The Lifelong Gardener” by ToniGattone, aUCCE Master Gardener of Marin County. I found this very interesting and timely for me, so I borrowed it.
Lately, I've been looking around the garden and thinking about what adjustments I can implement to make the garden safer as I get older. I've only mildly twisted my right ankle about once a year. But I did slip and slide recently in the garden, with no major bruising, except for my ego and a little muscle soreness for a couple of days. This book mentions various adaptive changes that are very practical for gardeners of all ages. After all, gardeners like to keep gardening until we are not able to, so why not extend that time for as long as we can?
One big change that I had not considered, is the surface I walk on. The book mentions different surfaces that work and don't work. The important takeaway from it is to have a consistent surface throughout. My garden has bricks, old carpeting,pavers, wood chips and whatnot in different places. I need to decide on one unifying safest surface so I can avoid future damage to my body.
The book also talks about different ergonomic hand tools that the author likes and what works for her. I'm happy to report that a lot of my tools are mentioned in the book.
Planting in raised beds and gardening in containers are also mentioned in the book. I have a self-built, waist-high vegetable bed that I positioned by the kitchen door for my leafy greens and annual herbs. The perennial herb bed is a half circle enclosed in concrete bricks that I can easily get to, and the more frost-sensitive herbs, like lemongrass, are planted in containers.
There is much more practical advice in this book that I don't remember off-hand and have the space to mention. I will be returning the book shortly and it should be available to borrow from any Solano County Library.
- Author: Dottie Deems
Welcome back to Part 2 of My Gardening Journal. I've worked on this project while you were gone. I measured and drew a plan of my vegetable garden, noted the directions of the compass, noted the hours of full sun, part sun, and shade during the day. I also tested my soil with a store-bought kit, added a measured amount of compost and new soil. I added the location of vegetables and herbs I intend to plant, and set my moveable irrigation lines with exchangeable risers, spray, and drip heads. I'm sorry you missed all the heavy lifting. Just teasing! There is no heavy lifting in my imaginary garden, but when it comes to getting a REAL start, I promise to give you a call!
So you can see all of the work I've done, just page forward. Keep moving so you can see how much work there is to creating and journaling an imaginary garden. Let me know when you are caught up, I'm going to get a glass of lemonade.
1. Plan with compass, direction of the sun and notations regarding sunlight and shade.
2. Measure each of the raised beds.
3. Test soil.
4. Estimate amount of compost, fresh soil, and fertilizer I will need and the cost of each. Amend the soil with the compost and fresh soil.
5. Finalize my plant list, note planting location on a measured drawing, buy the plants, set them in planting locations. Confirm spacing of each plant, dig holes for each of the 4” plants, mix a little of the fertilizer and finally, get them planted. Sprinkle snail bait or Diatomaceous earth, yellow sticky traps, and pest control as needed like dampened rolled up newspaper. Set aside the stakes and ties for use down the road as needed.
6. Set up my irrigation system from materials on hand including my timer. Test and repair leaks.
7. Stand back and turn on the irrigation system. Make final adjustments if needed a take some pleasure in all the work I completed.
8. Add up all my costs to date.
9. Make a list of future costs for this first summer season.
Yes, I journaled as I went because there is no sense in waiting until the very end of the project. I'll keep journaling brief notes until I pull out the last of the dead plants which should be in November.