Botanical Epithets

My book, A Georgia Native Plant Guide, incorporates the Latin terminology of the plants so that there is no misunderstanding of the plant of topic. I grew up calling Forsythia "goldenrod" for as long as I can remember… and Forsythia is definitely not the Solidago "Goldenrod". To make it easier to get a general idea of what a plant is like by deciphering its Latin botanical name, I've listed 50 of such epithets to be a guideline and perhaps perk an interest in pursuing more knowledge.

Aborescens - tree like

Aestivalis, aestivale - of summer

Alatus, alata, alatum - winged

Albus, alba, album - white, pale

Angustifolius, angustifolia, angustifolium - narrow leaves

Aphyllus, aphylla, aphyllum - leafless

Aquaticus, aquatica, aquaticum - in water

Aristosus, aristosa, aristosum - bearded

Canadensis, canadense - Northeast American, Canadian

Clauses, clausa, clausum - closed

Coccineus, coccinea, coccineum - scarlet

Crinitus, crinita, crinitum - long haired

Diffusus, diffusa, diffusum - spreading

Dipterus, diptera, dipterum - 2 winged

Falcatus, falcata, falcatum - sickle shaped

Fistulosus, fistulosa, fistulosum - tubular

Flavus, flava, flavum - yellow

Floridus, florida, floridum - flowering

Fruticosus, fruticosa, fruticosum - shrubby

Geminatus, geminata, geminatum - paired, doubled

Glabra - hairless, smooth

Grandifolius, grandifolia, grandifolium - great leaves

Heterophyllus, heterophylla, heterophyllum - differently leaved

Humilis, humile - low growing

Incanus, incana, incanum - gray

Indicus, indica, indicum - Indian

Inodorus, inodora, inodorum - unscented

Laevigatus, laevigata, laevigatum - smooth

Laevis, laeve - smooth

Lyratus, lyrata, lyratum - lyre shaped

Maritumus, maritima, maritimum- of the sea

Maximus, maxima, maximum - largest

Minus, minor - smaller

Nivalis, nivale - of the snow

Officinalis, officinale - medicinal

Ovata, ovatum - egg shaped

Parvifolius, parvifolia, parvifolium - small leaved

Racemosus, racemosa, racemosum - with racemes, clusters

Rotundifolius, rotundifolia, rotundifolium - round leaved

Rubra, rubrum - red

Serrulatus, serrulata, serrulatum - small teeth

Stipulatus, stipulata, stipulatum - with stipules, blades

Strepens - making noise

Sylvaticus, sylvatica, sylvaticum - wild, in woods

Thyoides - citrus like

Tomentosus, tomentosa, tomentosum - hairy

Tripartitus, tripartita, tripartitum - 3 parts

Tuberosus, tuberosa, tuberosum - tuberous, a hump

Umbellatus, umbellata, umbellatum - in umbels

Viscosus, viscosa, viscosum - sticky