What’s in a Name? Uses, Flavor, and Fragrance

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

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Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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8 comments… add one

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Marie December 2, 2010, 6:47 am

Wow! More great info. Thanks Nan.

My pleasure, Marie – glad you found it interesting!

Lisa at Greenbow December 2, 2010, 7:03 am

Great post Nan especially now when all is frozen over and we are craving those fragrances and special touches to give flavor to our meals.

What a nice thought, Lisa. The topic was inspired by some days I spent immersed in herbs recently, getting them ready for winter and making some wreaths from those that were going to get frosted. It reminded me that I need to grow a lot more herbs (especially scented geraniums) next year.

commonweeder December 2, 2010, 7:22 am

What a great post. I love all the photos of plants that illustrate the different attributes in Latin. I think most of us pick up a little of this after years of gardening, but this is a beautifully comprehensive list.

Trying to come up with examples is my favorite part, Pat. Finding good examples – especially good examples that I also have pictures of – is often quite a challenge.

Janet December 2, 2010, 9:50 am

I have really enjoyed reading these posts. Very interesting and VERY informative. I will look at the names of my plant choices with a different eye.

Thanks, Janet. They come in very handy this time of year, when the seed catalogs arrive!

Donna B. December 2, 2010, 10:30 am

I’ve adored these posts about the scientific names of plants… it helps me to refer to them by their proper name rather than the common…
This post is fantastic!
It explains why I like to take a handful of my Galium “odoratum” while I walk around my garden – the scent of the leaves are lovely when crushed!
Great work as always! Look forward to more posts like this one!

Mmmm…sweet woodruff is one of my favorite herbs. I think I need to head out to the garden and have a sniff. Thanks for reminding me!

Gayle Madwin December 2, 2010, 8:38 pm

And then there’s Thymus citriodorus (lemon thyme) to indicate citrus scent.

Thanks for the Latin lessons!

Right – good one, Gayle. Thanks!

Town Mouse December 2, 2010, 10:21 pm

Love your plant name posts! I always sort of know this, but I don’t really know it. Thanks so much.

Same for me, TM; kind of a “use ’em or lose ’em” deal with these names, so it’s good to have a review now and then.

rob cardillo December 3, 2010, 2:42 pm

Great post, Nan! I regret not studying Latin — it comes in so handy.

Thanks, Rob! I too wish I’d learned more when I was in school; knowing even a little has been very useful.

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