Latin Meanings

alba - white

albicans - becoming white

albiflorus - white flower

alpina - alpine

angustifolius - narrow leaved

apetala - has no petals

arachnoides - spider or spider webs e.g. Sempervivium arachnoideum, the house leek has spider web like appearance

arboreus or aborescens - tree like appearance

arenaria - of sand, referring to plants from sandy places

argentea or argyraea - silver or silvery

atro - dark coloured as in 'atropurpureum'

attenuata - narrows to a point

aurantica - orange

aurea or aureus - gold or golden

australis - southern

azurea - azure or sky blue

banksii - named for Sir Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook's voyages

bellidioides - daisy-like appearance, referring to bellis, the daisy

bicolour - two coloured

bidwillii - named for John Bidwill, early New Zealand alpine plant enthusiast

Brachyglottis - short tongued, referring to the short ray florets

buchananii - named for John Buchanan, early New Zealand botanist

caerulea - dark blue

caerulecens - bluish, blue tinged

campanulatus - bell shaped

canadensis - of Canada or North-eastern America

canina - of dogs, usually means inferior plant (the Romans were not dog-lovers!)

cardinalis - scarlet, cardinal red

carnea - deep pink

cataria - of cats, eg Nepeta cataria, catmint

carractae - of waterfalls

chathamicus/chathamica - of the Chatham Islands

chinensis - of China

chlorantha - green flowered

cinerea - ash colour, greyish

coccineum - scarlet

columaris - columnar

colensoi - named for William Colenso, early botanist

confertiflora - flowers that are crowded together

cordata - heart shaped

crassifolius/crassifolia/crassifolium - with thick leaves

cunnihamii - named for Allan Cunningham, early botanist

decora - beautiful

delayavi - for Abbe Jean Marie Delavay missionary and collector

dieffenbachii - for Dr Ernst Dieffenbach, naturalist

discolor - two different colours

dissecta - deeply cut, usually of a leaf

domestica - cultivated

davidii - for Pere Arman David, missionary plant collector

Dracanena - female dragon

Echinops - a hedgehog, spiky

Echium - vipers ( a snake)

Erodium - heron's bill, referring to the shape of the seedpods

excelsa/excelsum/excelsus - tall

eximia - exceptional

fibrosa - fibrous

flava - clear yellow

florida - flowering

florus/flora - of flowers

foetidus - smelling, stinking

folius/folia/folium - of leaves or foliage

forestii - for George Forest, Scottish plant collector

fragrans/fragrantissima - fragrant

frutcosa - shrubby

fulvida - tawny coloured

haastii - for Julius von Haast, explorer

hastata - spear shaped

hookeri - for Sir William or Sir Joseph Hooker, directors of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

hortensia - of gardens

horizontalis - flat, horizontal

humilis - low growing

Geranium - crane's bill, referring to the shape of the seedpods

gracilis - graceful

graminea - grass-like

ilicifolia - holly-like (from Ilex or Holly)

incana - grey

indica - of India

insignis - notable

issima - very (as in 'bellissima')

isophylla - equal sized leaves

ixioides - ixia like

japonica - of Japan

jucundum - attractive example

kirkii - for Thomas Kirk, botanist

laetus/laetum - milky

latifolius/latifolia - broad leaved

lessonii/lessoniana - for Pierre Lesson surgeon and botanist

lineata - striped, with lines

lucida/lucens - shining, bright

lutea - yellow

lutescens - becoming yellow

lyallii - for David Lyall, surgeon

macrantha - having large flowers

marcrocarpa - having large fruit

marcophylla - having large leaves

meleagris - spotted like a guinea fowl as in Fritillaria meleagri

microphylla - very small leaved

monroi - for Sir David Monro, plant collector

montana/montanum - of the mountains

moschatum - musky scented

myosotis - mouse's ear

nigra - black

novae-zelandiae - of New Zealand

orientalis - eastern

oides - similar to

paniculata - having flowers in panicles

Pelargonium - stork's bill, referring to the shape of the seedpods

petriei - for Donald Petrie, plant collector

Phylla/phyllus/phyllum - A Greek word that refers to the leaves of a plant

praecox - early, of flowering

procumbens - prostrate

procurrens - spreading

prolifera - prolific or free flowering

prostrata - prostrate or lying on the ground

pseudo - means false

pumila/pumilo - dwarf

purpurea - purple (Echinea purpurea)

purpurascens - purplish, tinged purple

Ranunculus - frog, because both like marshy, boggy ground

recta - upright

reflexa - bent backwards

reptans or repens - creeping

richardii - for Achille Richard, French botanist

rigens/rigida - rigid or stiff habit

roseum - rose colour

rotundata - rounded

rotundifolia - having round-shaped leaves

rubra/rubrum - red

rugosa/rugosum - wrinkled

rupestris - growing in rocks

salicina/salicifolia - willow like

sanguinea - blood red

scandens - climbing

serotina - late flowering or late ripening

serpens - creeping

spictata - in spikes

stans/stricta - erect or upright

supine - supine or prostrate

trigida - spotted like a tiger

umbellatus - flowers appearing to be in umbels

ursinum - a bear, referring to shaggy appearance

vernus - of spring

viridis/virens - green

viridfolius - green leaved

versicolor - multi coloured

vulgaris - common

Zebrina - zebra, referring to the stripes