What is the botanical name of mango

Botanical plant names - origin and meaning

They often sound confusing, but botanical plant names always mean something. Our overview shows what is behind the terms.

So that botanists and plant enthusiasts all over the world know what we are talking about, each plant has its own scientific name. Being able to identify plants means dealing with the sometimes strange-sounding botanical names. This can become an interesting and rewarding activity because botanical plant names reveal a lot about the origin, appearance and way of life of the various plants.


Why are there botanical plant names?

The botanical plant names create a uniform language in the professional world. Botanists, scientists and gardeners all over the world know what to do with the name Taraxacum officinale. The botanical layman, on the other hand, knows names for the dandelion such as dandelion, buttercup, meadow lettuce or safflower. This is just one example of tens of thousands of plants, the names of which would cause general perplexity and confusion if there were no uniform and generally understandable names.

A look at the history books

Carl von Linné can be described as the pioneer of botanical plant names. The botanist wrote his groundbreaking work "Species Plantarum" in 1753. Scientific plant names existed much earlier. Linné gave the nomenclature more system and introduced generic names and the classification of plants according to species, genera and families. This system is known as binary nomenclature.

When assigning botanical plant names, Linnaeus and his successors resorted to old names that sometimes went back to antiquity or gave them new names. Different aspects come into consideration when giving names. These are explained in more detail below.

Botanical plant names by habitat

The preferred habitats are often found as part of the plant name. Certain genera are subdivided into individual species by different location requirements.


Common plant namebotanical plant nameWord origin
WinchCalystegia sepiumSaepes = fence (Latin)
Brook avensGeum rivalRivus = Bach (Latin)
Meadow cranesbillGeranium pratensePratum = meadow (Latin)
Marsh cranesbillGeranium palustrePalus = swamp (Latin)
River and pond horsetailEquisetum fluviatileFluvius = river (Latin)

Botanical plant names according to growth habit

Many botanical plant names can also be derived from the growth form of the plants.


Common plant namebotanical plant nameWord origin
Silver thistleCarlina acauliskaulos = stem (Greek)
Stemless thistleCirsium acauleAkaulos = stemless (Greek)
Creeping buttercupRanunculus repensRepens = crawling (Latin)
ivyHedera helixHelix = twist (Greek)
WinchConvolvulusConvolvere = to wind (Latin)

Botanical plant names according to flower shape

A reference to the shape of the flower is often included in the botanical name.
Common plant namebotanical plant nameWord origin
DaisyChrysanthemum leucanthemumChrysos = gold (Greek)
Lady's slipperCypripediumCypris = Venus (Latin)
Dead nettleLamiumLamos = throat (Greek)
ChickweedStellariaStellaris = star-shaped (Latin)
asterasterStella = star (Latin)

Botanical plant names by person

Many plant names were given in honor of people who discovered, bred or described this species in more detail. These are mostly botanists, gardeners or explorers.


" Already knew? «

Plant names derived from persons can be recognized by the endings “ii”, “ianus” or “ianum”.

heldreichii - Theodor von Heldreich (Director of the Athens Botanical Garden)
ledebourii - C.F. von Ledebour (Director of Dorpat Botanical Garden)
fortunei - R. Fortune (English botanist and specialist writer)
Sieboldianus - P.F. von Siebold (German botanist Asian researcher)

Botanical plant names according to legendary figures

Designations of legendary figures are hidden in various plant names.

Yarrow (Achillea) - Greek heroine Achilles
Adonis Flammea (Adonis flammea) - Adonis, lover of Venus
Bingelkraut (Mercurialis) - Greek god Mercury
Water lily (Nymphaea) - nymph, female nature deity

Botanical plant names by country and region

If there are geographical names in the plant names, this allows conclusions to be drawn about the area of ​​distribution. Many alpine plants are called alpina or montana.


Common plant namebotanical plant nameDistribution area
Canary SpurgeEuphorbia canariensisCanary Islands
Alpine toadflaxLinaria alpinaAlpine region
Gold poppyEschholzia californicaCalifornia
Canadian goldenrodSolidago canadensis Canada

Botanical names according to properties


aculcatus - prickly
acutifolius - pointed-leaved
baccatus - bearing berries
brachhypodus - short-handled
alatus - winged
acuminatus - long and pointed

Botanical plant names by color


album - white
argenteum - silvery
aureum - golden
azureus - blue
flava - yellow
rubra - red
rosea - pink
variegata - colorful

Botanical terms using the example of orchids


The hybrid between two species or genera is called a hybrid. In orchids there are also crosses between the genera. One then speaks of multi-genus hybrids.


These plants grow on the bark of other plants. In addition to orchids, this also applies to mosses and ferns.


These are plants that grow on stones and rocks.


This is a growth form in which the orchid grows upwards and upwards from a trunk.


This is the name given to the thickened sprouts of orchids, which serve as storage organs.

Selection of plant names for new breeds

In addition to the botanical name, cultivated plants are given a variety or trade name. In the case of old varieties, botanical names were also used for this, describing the growth form, the flower color or the area of ​​distribution.

Today, breeders choose the variety name themselves. Many plant lovers let their creativity run free. In addition to the respective species name, the most diverse variety names can be found at the back. These can be fantasy names, celebrities and personalities or the naming of sponsors. The breeders have their creations protected by copyright. The trend of English variety names such as Rose “Queen Anne” or “Aspirin Rose” is gaining ground. These sound better and are attracting more attention on the international market.