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A rose by any other name

Name changes are a continual problem on the nursery.  Customers have their own names for plants which does cause some confusion. We can cope with people who ask for “snappyrhinums’ (Antirrhinum/Snapdragon) and the gentleman who buys ‘Portalooca’ (Portulaca) every year.  ‘Richard the Second had us going for a minute until we realised that the Lobelia richardii label was in capitals (RICHARDII).

We used to think it would be simpler if people used the proper Latin names – which it would if they did not keep changing them.  Myrtle has been Luma for a while now, but customers still look at it suspiciously and go away convinced it is not the real thing.

Matters are going to get even worse.  With the new genetic finger printing, the experts are discovering that plants they thought were closely related are actually distant cousins so they have to be re-named.  Asters, the perennial ones that is, not the annual Callistephus, are going to be Symphyotrichium henceforth.  Schizostylis are now Hesperantha and Dicentra – Lamprocapnos.  Stipa arundinacea has transmogrified into Anemanthele lessoniana and Stipa tenuissima into Nasella tenuissima.

We will do our best.  Some plants are already coming in with the new names and some not.  Printed labels with the new names are not yet available for our own production, where we make our own labels we can change.  In the meantime we may have to give in and resort to the old common names like Michaelmas Daisy, Kaffir Lily and Bleeding Hearts after all.

The image shows Dicentra spectabilis “King of Hearts” – Bleeding Hearts taken at Downside Nurseries

 

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