L-R: Gilia triodon (Sand gilia), Stephanomeria spinosa (Thorny skeletonweed), Hemizonia conjugens (Otay tarplant), Eriogonum kennedyi var. alpigenum (Southern alpine buckwheat), Eriastrum wilcoxii (Wilcox's woolstar)


PI-PY
In the following names, the stressed vowel is the one preceding the stress mark. It is not always easy to ascertain where such stress should be placed, especially in the case of epithets derived from personal names. I have tried to follow the principle of maintaining the stress of the original name as outlined in the Jepson Manual, and have abandoned it only when it was just too awkward. In the case of some names, I have listed them twice, reflecting either some disagreement or conflict in the rules of pronunciation, some uncertainty on my part as to the correct pronunciation, or that simply sometimes there is no single correct pronunciation. In other instances, the way I record it is just that which sounds right to my ear. Where no credit is given for photos, they are in public domain mostly from Wikipedia.
  • Pi'cea: from the Latin picea, "pitch-pine," from pix or picis, "pitch." (ref. genus Picea)
  • Pickerin'gia: named for Charles Pickering (1805-1878) of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences who came
      to California with the Wilkes Expedition as a physician and botanist. He was born in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania and grew up in Wenham, Massachusetts. There seems to be conflicting information online regarding his collegiate career. Wikipedia says he got a medical degree from Harvard University in 1826 (when he would have been 21). JSTOR says he gained a degree in medicine at Harvard University in 1823 (when he would have been 18). And the website Chrono-Biological Sketches says he got an A.B. degree from Harvard College in 1823
    and his M.D. from Boston Medical College in 1826. In any case, he got a medical degree and began a practice in Philadelphia. He also became the librarian and curator at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. From 1838 to 1842 he served as chief zoologist on the United States Exploring Expedition under its commander Lt. Charles Wilkes, an exploration of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas, following which it was his responsibility to organize and curate the collection which was gathered by the expedition, some of which had been mishandled and damaged or lost during shipment. These collections became part of the founding collections of the Smithsonian Institution and are housed today in the National Museum of Natural History. From 1843 to 1845 he travelled through the Mediterranean, Egypt, theRed Sea, Zanzibar, and India to research human races which he believed had developed independently, and in 1848 published Races of Man and Their Geographical Distribution, which included eleven races. In 1845 he moved to Boston and resumed a medical practice and engaged in further research. In 1854 he published what has been described as his magnum opus The Geographical Distribution of Animals and Plants which chronicled the diffusion of human populations by focusing on the plant forms they brought along with them and distinguishing them from native species. He died in 1878 and his Chronological History of Plants: Man's Record of His Own Existence Illustrated Through Their Names, Uses, and Companionship was published the following year. The genus Pickeringia was published in 1840 by Thomas Nuttall. (ref. genus Pickeringia)
  • Picradeniop'sis: like genus Picradenia. (ref. genus Picradeniopsis)
  • Pi'cris: from the Greek for "bitter." (ref. genus Picris)
  • pic'ta/pic'tus: painted, brightly colored. (ref. Pyrola picta, Mimulus pictus)
  • pigmae'a: see pygmaea.
  • pilocar'pa: with hairy fruit.
  • pilo'sa/pilo'sum/pilo'sus: from the Latin pilosus meaning "hairy," from pilus, "a hair," thus covered with long, soft hairs. (ref. Bidens pilosa, Eragrostis pilosa, Orcuttia pilosa, Rhamnus pilosa, Erioneuron pilosum, Polemonium pulcherrimum var. pilosum, Caulanthus pilosus, Mimulus pilosus)
  • pilosis'sima: very hairy. (ref. Heuchera pilosissima)
  • Pilosty'les: from the Latin pilus, "hair," and stylus, "a pillar or stylus," from the central column. (ref. genus Pilostyles)
  • pilo'sula: somewhat pilose. (ref. Arctostaphylos pilosula
  • Pilular'ia: from the Latin pilula, "a little ball", referring to the sporangium case. (ref. genus Pilularia)
  • pilular'is: having globules, referring either to galls on the stems or on the flower buds. (ref. Baccharis pilularis)
  • pilulif'erum: bearing little balls or globules, in this case referring to the globular flowering heads. (ref. Oncosiphon piluliferum)
  • pimpinello'ides: like or having some resemblance or similarity to genus Pimpinella in the carrot family. (ref. Oenanthe pimpinelloides)
  • Pinel'lia: named for the Italian botanist Giovanni Vincenzo Pinelli (1535-1601), founder of the botanic gardens in
      Naples. The following is quoted from The Free Dictionary: "Gian Vincenzo Pinelli (1535–1601) was a humanist of Padua, a savant whose collection of manuscripts, when it was purchased from his estate in 1608 for the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, filled 70 cases. A mentor of Galileo, a collector of scientific instruments whose literary correspondence put him at the center of a European network of virtuosi, Pinelli stood out among among the early bibliophile collectors who established scientific bases for the methodically assembled private library, aided by the
    comparatively new figure—in the European world— of the bookseller. He was among Europe's early botanists and collected mathematical instruments. He had taken musical instruction from the great madrigalist Philipp de Monte, with whom he continued a correspondence. His kept his amanuensis Camillus Venetus (Zanettus) busy. His love of books and manuscripts, and his interest in optics, labored under a disability: a childhood mishap had destroyed the vision of one eye, forcing him to protect his weak vision with green-tinted lenses. Cautious and withdrawn by nature, detesting travel whether by road or canal boat, wracked by the gallstones that eventually killed him, he found solace in the library he amassed over a period of fifty years (Nuovo 2003). Leonardo's treatise on painting, Trattato della Pittura, was transcribed in the Codex Pinellianus circa 1585, perhaps expressly for Pinelli who made annotations in it. Pinelli's codex was the source for the Barberini codex from which it was eventually printed, ostensibly edited by Raphael du Fresne, in 1651. Pinelli's interest in the new science of optics was formative for Galileo Galilei, for whom Pinelli opened his library in the 1590s, where Galileo read the unpublished manuscripts, consisting of lecture notes and drafts of essays on optics, of Ettore Ausonio, a Venetian mathematician and physician, and of Giuseppe Moleto, professor of mathematics at Padua (Dupre). His enormous library was probably the greatest in 16th-century Italy, consisting of around 8,500 printed works at the moment of his death, plus hundreds of manuscripts. When he died, in 1601, Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc was in his house and spent some of the following months studying his library and taking notes from its catalogues. Pinelli's secretary, Paolo Gualdo, wrote and published (1607) a biography of Pinelli which is also the portrait of the perfect scholar and book-collector. Beside his Greek and Latin libraries of manuscripts his collection included the original Arabic manuscript from which was translated and printed the Descrizione dell'Africa of Leo Africanus. In the field of botany, he collected herbs in his garden and corresponded with the father of Italian botany, Luca Ghini, who pioneered the techniques of drying and pressing plant material for a herbarium and whose papers he transcribed after Ghini's death, while the botanists who would be considered Ghini's heirs, like Andrea Mattioli and Ulisse Aldrovandi, clamored for them. Pinelli's voluminous correspondence with the French humanist and book collector Claude Dupuy was published in 2001. He is commemorated in Padua with via Vincenzo Pinelli and with the Aroid genus Pinellia." (ref. genus Pinellia)
  • pinetor'um: of the pine forests. (ref. Fritillaria pinetorum, Gilia leptantha ssp. pinetorum, Mentzelia pinetorum, Viola pinetorum ssp. pinetorum)
  • Pinguic'ula: from the Latin pinguis, "fat," alluding to the greasy appearance of the viscid leaves. (ref. genus Pinguicula)
  • pinico'la: an inhabitant of pine woods. (ref. Eriogonum kennedyi var. pinicola)
  • pinifo'lia: having pine-like or needle-like leaves. (ref. Ericameria [formerly Haplopappus] pinifolia)
  • pinna'ta/pinna'tum: feathered or feathery, pinnate, in reference to the leaves. (ref. Berberis pinnata, Descurainia pinnata, Stanleya pinnata)
  • pinnati'fida/pinnati'fidum/pinnati'fidus: pinnately cut. (ref. Machaeranthera pinnatifida, Lepidium pinnatifidum, Nemacladus pinnatifidus)
  • pinnatisec'ta/pinnatisec'tum: pinnately sectioned, cut or cleft. (ref. Gilia sinistra ssp. pinnatisecta, Eryngium pinnatisectum)
  • pinna'tum: featherlike, with leaflets on either side of a common stalk. (ref. Brachypodium pinnatum)
  • pino'rum: alternative form of pinetorum? (ref. Orobanche pinorum)
  • Pi'nus: the ancient Latin name. (ref. genus Pinus)
  • pinz'liae: named after Ann Pinzl (1946- ) (fl. 1980-2003), Curator Emerita of Natural History at the Nevada State Museum, botanist and plant collector of the White Mountains, and President of the Nevada Native Plant Society. (ref. Arabis pinzliae)
  • pi'peri: named after Charles Vancouver Piper (1867-1926), an agronomist with the US Department of Agriculture
      and an expert on Pacific Northwest flora. The following is quoted from a website of the Northwest Digital Archives entitled 'Guide to the Charles Vancouver Piper Papers' which are held in the Washington State University Libraries: "Charles V. Piper was born in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1867. He grew up in Seattle, and attended the Territorial University of Washington until about 1892, although he had received his bachelor’s degree in 1885 at the age of 18. Piper’s career as a botanist had two almost distinct, although overlapping, phases, first as a regional taxonomist in
    the Northwest and later as an agronomist with the United States Department of Agriculture at Washington, D.C. His activity as a student of Northwest flora began in the mid-1880s, associated with his mountaineering hobby and supported by the Young Naturalists, a Seattle scientific society. Piper joined the staff of the newly opened Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, now Washington State University, in late 1892, and spent the next decade at Pullman, except for one year while a fellow at the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University. At Pullman, he and his collaborator, R. Kent Beattie, composed the first reasonably complete and authoritative regional Flora, beginning with a survey of the Palouse area of Southeastern Washington and expanding into the 1906 Flora of Washington. The investigations Piper conducted at Pullman also served as the basis for two later publications, Flora of Southeast Washington and Adjacent Idaho (1941) and Flora of the Northwest Coast (1915). Piper’s career as a USDA researcher began in 1903 and continued to his death in 1926. His primary work consisted of the location, domestication or development and introduction of grasses. His most notable success during these years involved his discovery of Sudan grass, a plant he found in Africa and introduced to North America as a forage plant. As a plant scientist Piper often attempted to take positions which placed him simultaneously in several of the various schools of thought which characterized the bitterly divided field of botany of his day. Throughout his career he consistently emphasized attention to economic and agricultural plants, much to the criticism of the purists of the profession. He also attempted to combine various positions in the nomenclature dispute: while arguing for the necessity of historical research to establish the validity of original names, his Flora adhered to the names proposed by the International Rule school. He himself undertook a great deal of the historical research inspired by the American Rule school. He was greatly involved in the re-discovery of Meriwether Lewis’ lost herbarium and encouraged the publications of journals of earlier plant explorers of the Northwest, such as Archibald Menzies and David Douglas. On one occasion, Piper even traveled to England to make a copy of Douglas’ journal, which was not then available in the United States. Piper also took a mixed position of matters of "splitting" and "lumping." While criticized as a "splitter" and "too anxious for new species," he expressed opinions which tended to encourage "lumping." Poor health began to restrict Piper’s activities in his early 50s and he died at Washington, D. C. in 1926." And from a website of the US Golf Association [Piper was the first chairman of the USGA Green Section]: " In 1888, Piper climbed Mt. Rainier in a party that included John Muir, the Sierra Club founder. During the descent, Piper nearly lost his life; all save Piper and Muir had crossed an ice bridge over a crevasse, and then the expedition photographer heard a 'cry [that] made the very blood in our veins turn cold. This time it was Piper. He stepped into the middle of the bridge and it had given way with him; he had thrown himself forward and caught.' 'My alpenstock and the whole ice bridge fell into the crevasse,' remembered Piper in 1915. 'I have often wondered what would have happened if I had attempted to go across the bridge in the ordinary way.' It was at this time that Piper began extensive botanical investigations that he would carry on until his death in 1926. Botany was his passion, and he collected and described many new species. He exchanged plant specimens with herbaria and other collectors; with Edward Lee Greene of Berkeley and Charles Sprague Sargent at Harvard, Piper disputed the former’s classification of the Oregon white oak, Quercus garryana. When President Cleveland established forest reserves in the 1890s, Sargent wrote to Piper, noting, 'There is a very bitter feeling in the west against these reservations and we are going to have difficulty in holding them unless local public sentiment can be aroused in their favor. I count on you to do everything possible to help this good cause.' " (ref. Lomatium piperi, Poa piperi) (Photo credit: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center)
  • Pi'peria: see previous entry (ref. genus Piperia)
  • piperi'ta: pepperlike, tasting hot and sharp like pepper. (ref. Mentha Xpiperita)
  • Piptather'um: from the Greek pipto, "to fall," and the word for "awn," thus "falling awn." (ref. genus Piptatherum)
  • Piptochae'tium: from the Greek pipto, "to fall," and chaite, "bristle or long hair." (ref. genus Piptochaetium)
  • pirifo'lia: from the Latin pirum, "a pear." (ref. Rhamnus pirifolia)
  • piscinen'sis: from the Latin piscis, "a fish," and the suffix -ensis, this taxon is named by the Jepson Manual as Fish Slough milkvetch and the habitat is given as wet soil. "Fish Slough is a unique desert wetland ecosystem [near Bishop in the eastern Sierra Nevadas] with rare plants and fish, an unusual geological site with highly visible seismic and volcanic features, and an outstanding cultural site including ancient petroglyphs and grinding stones." (This from a website called Hands on the Land). (ref. Astragalus lentiginosus var. piscinensis)
  • pisocar'pa: with pea-like fruit. (ref. Rosa pisocarpa)
  • Pista'cia: Umberto Quattrocchi says this name derives from the Latin name pistacia for a pistachio-tree and from the Greek pistake for the nut of the pistachio-tree. Both words apparently derive in turn from an ancient Arabic or Persian name. (ref. genus Pistacia)
  • Pist'ia: from the Greek pistos, "water," alluding to the floating or aquatic habitat of this genus, whose common name is water-lettuce. (ref. genus Pistia)
  • Pi'sum: the Latin name for the ancient and well-known pea. (ref. genus Pisum)
  • pitkinen'se: named after Pitkin Marsh in Sonoma County. (ref. Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense)
  • Pittospo'rum: from the Greek pitta, "resin," and sporos, "seed." (ref. genus Pittosporum)
  • Pityo'pus: from the Greek pitys, "pine," and pous or podos, "foot," from the habitat. (ref. genus Pityopus)
  • piuten'sis: of or from the Piute Mts in the southern Sierra Nevadas. (ref. Streptanthus cordatus var. piutensis)
  • Plagioboth'rys: derived from two Greek words plagios, "oblique or placed sideways," and bothros, "a pit or scar," hence meaning "hollow at the side," and possibly referring to the pitted face of the nutlets or the position of the nutlet attachment scar on P. fulvus, the first known species. (ref. genus Plagiobothrys)
  • plagioto'ma: from the Greek meaning "obliquely cut," in reference to the broad, stubby lobes of the calyx. (from Jaeger, Desert Wildflowers) (ref. Castilleja plagiotoma)
  • plani-: from the Latin planus, diminutive of planula, "flat, level, even."
  • planifo'lia: with flat leaves. (ref. Comarostaphylis diversifolia ssp. planifolia, Salix planifolia)
  • plan'ipes: with a flat stalk. (compare brevipes, crassipes, gracilipes, filipes)
  • planipet'ala: with flat petals. (ref. Vancouveria planipetala)
  • planispi'num: with flat spines.
  • Plano'des: from the Greek planos, "roaming, rambling or wandering," because P. virginica had been placed in so many different genera by different authors, and also because it was distributed over such a wide area. (ref. genus Planodes)
  • plantagin'eum/plantagin'eus: resembling a plantain. (ref. Echium plantagineum)
  • Planta'go: a Latin name for the plantain from planta meaning "foot print." (ref. genus Plantago)
  • planta'go-aqua'tica: see previous entry, plus 'aquatica' for a water plant. (ref. Alisma plantago-aquatica)
  • plan'um: flat.
  • Platan'thera: from the Greek for "flat" and "flower," hence "wide- or flat-anthered." (ref. genus Platanthera)
  • Plat'anus: from the Greek name platanos for the long-lived oriental plane tree. (ref. genus Platanus)
  • platen'sis: I suspect since this taxon is supposed to be native to Argentina that this name refers to the River Plate or to that region. (ref. Spergularia platensis)
  • platy-: a prefix signifying flat, broad or wide.
  • platycar'pa:  broad-nutted, with broad fruits. (ref. Pectocarya platycarpa)
  • platycar'pha: two possibilities are: (1) derived from platys, "flat or wide," and karphos, "a dry splinter, twig, straw," in turn from karpho, "to dry up or wither," referring to the pappus or to the scales of the involucre; (2) it is also possible that this is just an alternate spelling of 'platycarpa' meaning "broad-nutted." (ref. Lasthenia platycarpha)
  • platycau'le: broad-stemmed. (ref. Allium platycaule)
  • platyglos'sa: broad-tongued, referring to the ray flowers. (ref. Layia platyglossa)
  • platyle'pis: broad-scaled.
  • platylo'ba: with broad lobes. (ref. Phacelia platyloba)
  • platyo'ta: as in the other words listed here, platy means flat or wide. -Ota is listed in Jaeger as a suffix meaning "having," but if that is its meaning in this case, we have a word with a prefix and a suffix with nothing in between, unless -ota can be interpreted in a more general sense as "being," which would make this "being broad or flat."  The only other possibility I can think of is the root ot, which has to do with ears. If anyone has any further information about this name, please let me know.
  • platyphyl'la: broad-leaved. (ref. Atrichoseris platyphylla)
  • platyphyllid'ius: with flat leaflets. (ref. Astragalus lentiginosus var. platyphyllidius)
  • pla'tys: broad.
  • platysper'ma: flat-seeded. (ref. Boechera platysperma, Chamaesyce platysperma)
  • Platystem'on: from the Greek platus, "broad," and stemon, "stamens," referring to the flattened stalks of the stamens. (ref. genus Platystemon)
  • platytro'pis: wide-keeled. (ref. Astragalus platytropis)
  • playan'us: relating to a desert playa as its preferred habitat, this taxon apparently on sandy flats in the East Mojave Desert. (ref. Astragalus allochrous var. playanus)
  • Plecosta'chys: from the Greek plektis and stachys for a braided spike, from intricately branched habit. (ref. genus Plecostachys)
  • plectosta'chyus: presumably from the Greek plektos, "plaited or twisted," and stachys, "an ear of grain, spike." (ref. Cynodon plectostachys)
  • Plectri'tis: from the Latin plecto, "to plait," alluding to the complex inflorescence. (ref. genus Plectritis)
  • Pleiacan'thus: from the Greek pleios, "many, more than one," and akantha, "thorn." (ref. genus Pleiacanthus)
  • pleniradia'ta: from the Latin for "full-rayed." (ref. Baileya pleniradiata)
  • Pleuraph'is: from the Greek for "side needle," referring to the awn position on the lower glume of the spikelet. (ref. genus Pleuraphis)
  • Pleuricospo'ra: from the Greek pleurikos, "the sides, of the ribs," and spora or sporos, "a seed, spore," thus "seeds at side" from the parietal placentas. (ref. genus Pleuricospora)
  • pleurocar'pa: with fruit at the side or rib-fruited. Some species have fruit with many prominent ribs. (ref. Crepis pleurocarpa, Stephanomeria virgata ssp. pleurocarpa)
  • Pleurocoro'nis: from the Greek pleurikos, "rib or side," and the Latin corona, "crown," referring to the pappus. (ref. genus Pleurocoronis)
  • Pleuropo'gon: from the Greek pleuron, "side, rib, lateral," and pogon, "beard," referring to the awns at the base of the palea in some species. (ref. genus Pleuropogon)
  • plica'ta: pleated. (ref. Tiquilia [formerly Coldenia] plicata)
  • pliean'tha: possibly an alternate spelling or an incorrect spelling of pleiantha, from pleios, "more, many," and anthos, "flower," thus "many-flowered." (ref. Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha)
  • plocasper'ma: presumably from the Greek plokeus, "a braider," and/or plokos, "a lock of hair, curl, wreath," and sperma, "seed." (ref. Cleomella plocasperma)
  • Pluche'a: named after Noël-Antoine Pluche (1688-1761), a French naturalist. The following is quoted from a website
      page on him at The Online Library of Liberty: "Noël-Antoine Pluche was born in 1688. After completing his studies, he became a professor first of humanities, then of rhetoric in his hometown of Rheims, before taking holy orders. The Bishop of Laon made him director of the collège (secondary school), an offer he accepted partly to escape the controversy that arose around him for his refusal to swear adherence to the bull Unigenitus (1713). After a lettre de cachet was prepared against him, he was provided with private tutorial positions by both Gasville (royal intendant of
    Rouen) and the Englishman Lord Stafford. After a chance discovery of information useful to the Crown, he was offered a lucrative priory by Cardinal Fleury—which he refused on principle because of his continued refusal to sign Unigenitus. Still, his teachings and writings began to gain some notoriety. He became deaf, retired in 1749 to Varenne-Saint-Maur, and died of apoplexy in 1761. His major work, Spectacle de la nature, was an eight-volume study of life and creation that was translated into virtually all European languages, still appearing in abridged editions in the early nineteenth century. His other works include Histoire du ciel (1739), La Méchanique des langues (1751), and Concorde de la Géographie des différents âges (1765), as well as works on Holy Scripture and French royal coronation ceremonies." He was born in Reims to the northeast of Paris. Based on the pronunciation of the original French name Pluche, this name should be correctly pronounced "PLOOSH-a." The genus Pluchea was published in 1817 by Alexandre Henri Gabriel de Cassini. (ref. genus Pluchea)
  • plumar'ius: feathered or plumed. (ref. Dianthus plumarius)
  • plumatel'la: from the Latin meaning "small-feathered." (ref. Eriogonum plumatella)
  • Plumba'go: a Latin name derived from plumbum, "lead," and ago, a common Latin plant name ending indicating a resemblance. (ref. genus Plumbago)
  • plum'merae: named by Edward Greene for Sara Allen Plummer (1836-1923), a botanist and expert on ferns and seaweeds, and the wife of John Gill Lemmon (see lemmonii). (ref. Baccharis plummerae, Calochortus plummerae, Lomatium plummerae, Woodsia plummerae)
  • plumo'sa: plumed or feathery.
  • pluriflor'a/pluriflor'um: many-flowered. (ref. Fritillaria pluriflora, Eriastrum pluriflorum, Erythronium pluriflorum)
  • plurise'ta: many-bristled. (ref. Pleurocoronis pluriseta)
  • pluvia'lis: having to do with rain, flowering in the rainy season.
  • Po'a: from the classical Greek name poa, poie, or poia for "grass" or "pasture grass." (ref. genus Poa)
  • -poda: a suffix used to refer to the foot or base of a structure, e.g. eriopoda, "woolly-footed;" brachypoda, "short-footed;" leptopoda, "slender-footed."
  • Podis'tera: from the Greek podos, "foot," and stereos, "solid," because of its compactness. (ref. genus Podistera)
  • Pogo'gyne: means "bearded style," in reference to the hairs on the style slightly below the two stigma lobes. (ref. genus Pogogyne)
  • pogonan'tha: from Greek pogon, "beard," and -anthus, "flowered," thus "with bearded flowers." (ref. Abronia pogonantha)
  • Pohl'ia: named for Johann Ehrenfried Pohl (1746-1800), German physician and botanist and the son of a physician. He was born in Leipzig and from 1763 to 1769 he studied medicine at the University of Leipzig, being awarded a doctorate in 1772. He embarked on a study trip to Strasbourg, Paris, Rouen and the Netherlands, and in 1773 he was appointed an associate professor of botany at Leipzig, then professor of pathology from 1789 to 1796 and professor of therapy from 1796 until his death. In 1788 he became personal physician to the royal court in Dresden. Among his published works were De soli differentia in cultura plantarum attendenda, Animadversiones in structuram ac figuram foliorum in plantis, De varice interno morborum quorundam caussa and Programma qua de analogia inter morbillos et tussim convulsivam. The moss genus Pohlia was published in 1801 by Johann Hedwig. (ref. genus Pohlia)
  • Polanis'ia: from the Greek polys, "many," and anisos, "unequal," referring to the stamens. (ref. genus Polanisia)
  • Polemon'ium: may have derived from the the Greek name polemonion for a (medicinal?) plant or group of plants including the Greek valerian or jacob's ladder that was associated with the Greek herbalist and healer Polemon of Cappadocia. A less likely derivation is from the Greek polemos for "war." (ref. genus Polemonium)
  • polifo'lia/polifo'lium: gray-leaved. (ref. Kalmia polifolia, Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium)
  • Poliomin'the: from the Greek words polios, "hoary, whitish-gray" and mintha, mint. (ref. genus Poliominthe)
  • poli'ta: Stearns gives the meaning as "elegant, polished, neat." It could also derive from the Greek polos, "a pivot or axle," and meaning "having a pivot or axle." (ref. Mentzelia polita)
  • poly-: in compound words signifying many or much.
  • polyacan'tha: with many thorns. (ref. Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea)
  • polyaden'ia: many-glanded. (ref. Psorothamnus [formerly Dalea] polyadenia)
  • polyancis'trus: from the Greek polys, "many" and ankistron, "fish-hook," with many hooks or barbs. (ref. Sclerocactus polyancistrus)
  • polyan'tha/polyan'thum: same as next entry. (ref. Clarkia speciosa ssp. polyantha, Eriogonum umbellatum var. polyanthum)
  • polyanth'emos: with many flowers. (ref. Eucalyptus polyanthemos)
  • polycar'pa/polycar'pum/polycar'pus: having many seeds or fruit. (ref. Atriplex polycarpa, Euphorbia polycarpa, Thalictrum fendleri var. polycarpum, Lupinus polycarpus)
  • Polycar'pon: from the Greek polys, "many," and karpon, "fruit," because of the many fruit capsules. (ref. genus Polycarpon)
  • polyceph'alus: many-headed. (ref. Echinocactus polycephalus)
  • polychro'ma: of many colors.
  • polycla'don: many-branched. (ref. Delphinium polycladon, Ipomopsis polycladon)
  • Polycten'ium: from the Greek polys, "many," and kteis or ktenos, "a comb," in reference to the structure of the leaves. (ref. genus Polyctenum)
  • polyden'ius: from poly or polys, "much or many," and aden, "gland," thus with many glands. The glands form dots along the stem and account for the frequent common name of dotted dalea, but the 'denius' refers to glands and not dots. Other names with such roots are Cycla-
    denia humilis
    , Chamaesyce melanadenia, Holocarpha macradenia, Isocoma acradenia, Osmadenia tenella, Lessingia micradenia, Quercus agrifolia var. oxyadenia, Ageratina adenophora, Calycadenia fremontii, and the genera Adenocaulon, Adenostoma and Adenophyllum. (ref. Psorothamnus polydenius)
  • Poly'gala: from the Greek polys, "many or much," and gala, "milk," since it was thought that the presence of some of the species in a pasture increased the yield of milk. (ref. genus Polygala)
  • polygalo'ides: like genus Polygala. (ref. Polygonum polygaloides ssp. kelloggii, Streptanthus polygaloides)
  • polyg'amus: presumably meaning polygamous, that is bearing both unisexual and bisexual flowers on the same plant. (ref. Schinus polygamus)
  • polygono'ides: like genus Polygonum. (ref. Chorizanthe polygonoides)
  • Polyg'onum: derived from the Greek words polys, "many," and gonu, "knee or joint," hence "many joints" because of the thickened joints on the stem. (ref. genus Polygonum)
  • polymor'pha: of many forms, variable. (ref. Medicago polymorpha)
  • polyphyl'lus: many-leaved. (ref. Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei)
  • Polypo'dium: from the Greek polys, "many," and pous, "foot," alluding to some species that have many knoblike places on the rhizome. (ref. genus Polypodium)
  • polypo'dum: many-footed. (red. Eriogonum polypodum)
  • Polypo'gon: from the Greek polys, "many," and pogon, "beard," alluding to the panicles which are hairy or bristly, i.e. "much bearded." (ref. genus Polypogon)
  • polyrrhi'za: many-rooted. (ref. Spirodela polyrriza)
  • polyse'pala/polyse'palum: with many sepals. (ref. Nuphar polysepala)
  • polysta'chyum: many-spiked. (ref. Polygonum polystachyum)
  • Polysti'chum: from the Greek polys, "many," and stichos, "row," referring to the rows of sori on the type species. (ref. genus Polystichum)
  • pomeridian'um: means "of the afternoon," and refers to the flowers opening during that time. (ref. Chlorogalum pomeridianum)
  • pomif'era: apple-bearing or fruit-bearing, from the Latin pomum, "fruit of any kind, an apple." (ref. Maclura pomifera)
  • pomonen'sis: of or from Pomona. (ref. Astragalus pomonensis)
  • pondero'sa: heavy, ponderous, referring to the wood. (ref. Pinus ponderosa)
  • pon'tica/pon'ticus: of the south shore of the Black Sea, the north coast of Asia Minor. (ref. Elymus ponticus)
  • Pop'ulus: Latin for "people" because the many moving leaves in a breeze resemble a moving populace. (ref. genus Populus)
  • porophyllo'ides: with leaves like those of Porophyllum. (ref. Adenophyllum [formerly Dyssodia] porophylloides)
  • Porophyl'lum: from the Greek poros, "a passage or pore," and phyllon, "leaf," thus literally "pore-leaf," due to the translucent glands dotting the leaf which give it a punctate appearance. (ref. genus Porophyllum)
  • porphyret'icus: purple-colored. (ref. Erigeron breweri var. porphyreticus)
  • porrec'tus: from the Latin porrectus, "projected, extended forward horizontally, long." (ref. Ceanothus gloriosus var. porrectus)
  • porrifo'lia/porrifo'lius: means that the leaves look like those of the leek, the scientific name of which is Allium porrum. (ref. Spiranthes porrifolia, Tragopogon porrifolius)
  • por'rigens: two possibilities are 1) from the Latin porrigo or porriginis, "dandruff or scurf," indicating some quality of scurfiness, or 2) from porrigo/porrectus, "to stretch out or put forth, spread out, extend, offer," of unknown application. (ref. Galium porrigens var. porrigens)
  • Porterel'la: named after Thomas Conrad Porter (1822-1901), an American botanist, plant collector, professor,
      author and pastor.  "Born in Alexandria, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, 22 January. 1822,he was graduated at Lafayette college, Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1840, and at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1843, and was licensed to preach in 1844.  In 1846 he was pastor of a Presbyterian church in Monticello, Georgia, and in 1848 he took charge of tile newly organized 2d German Reformed church in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was ordained by the classis of Lebanon.  In 1849 he resigned to become professor of natural sciences in Marshall college, Mercersburg, PA, held
    the same chair when the institution was removed to Lancaster and consolidated with Franklin college in 1853, and was secretary of tile board of trustees until 1866, when he resigned to become professor of botany and zoology in Lafayette. In 1877 he became pastor of the Third street Reformed church of that town, which charge he resigned in 1884.  Rutgers gave him the degree of D.D. in 1865, and Franklin and Marshall that of LL. D. in 1880.  He is a member of various scientific societies, and was a founder and first president of the Linnaean society of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.  His extensive herbarium is in the possession of Lafayette college.  His reports in connection with Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden's collections in the Rocky mountains in 1870-'4 were published by tile government, and one of these, "A Synopsis of the Flora of Colorado," prepared with Professor John M. Coulter, has been issued in a separate volume (Washington, 1874).  He also furnished a summary of the flora of the state to "Gray's Topographical Atlas of Pennsylvania" (Philadelphia, 1872), and to "Gray's Topographical Atlas of the United States" (1873).  In addition to contributions to the " Mercersburg Review," he has published a prose version of Goethe's " Hermann und Dorothea" (New York, 1854); translated '"The Life and Labors of St. Augustine," from the German of Dr. Philip Schaff (New York, 1854-'5), and "The Life and Times of Ulric Zwingli," from the German of Hottinger (Harrisburg, 1857); and contributed several hymns from the German and Latin to Dr. Philip Schaff's "Christ in Song" (New York, 1868).  He was an active member of the committee that framed in 1867 the order of worship that is now (1888) used in the German Reformed church in the United States."  (From Virtuology.com Famous Americans)  He was the author in 1903 of The Flora of Pennsylvania.  In 1855, two weeks after the publication of Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow, Porter stunned the literary world when he charged that the famous poet had cribbed "the entire form, spirit, and many of the most striking incidents of the Finnish epic [Kalevala]" (which first appeared in 1849) and applied them to the Americans indians. "[Porter] was a scholar of rare ability and lofty attainments... and made extensive researches in various fields of study, especially in Botany, and many contributions of permanent value issued from his prolific pen.  He was a linguist of note, an expert in Finnish and other obscure literature.  He was an authority on Ecclesiastical history and enriched the literature of his Church with valuable contributions.  Although bearing an Anglo-Saxon name, he nevertheless was proud of his German ancestry and at the time of his death was the President of the Pennsylvania-German Society." (From a website on famous Pennsylvania Germans and specifically on the Rev. John Conrad Bucher, a maternal ancestor of Porter's). (ref. genus Porterella) (Photo credit: Find-a-Grave)
  • por'teri: see Porterella above. (ref. Muhlenbergia porteri)
  • por'tula: David Hollombe contributes the following: "In the "British Herbal" (1756), John Hill writes: "Ray [John Ray, 1627-1705, often referred to as the father of natural history in Britain] calls it Portula from its having something of the aspect of purslain." (ref. Lythrum portula)
  • Portula'ca: an old name, probably Latin, from words meaning "small gate or door" because of the capsule lid. (ref. genus Portulaca)
  • portulacas'trum: I infer that the meaning of this comes from the genus name Portulaca and the astrum, "star," so would indicate a Portulaca-like plant that has star-shaped flowers. (ref. Trianthema portulacastrum)
  • post-: after, behind, later.
  • Potamoge'ton: from the Greek potamos, "a river," and geiton, "neighbor," because of the habitat. (ref. genus Potamogeton)
  • Potentil'la: comes from the Latin diminutive of potens meaning "powerful" in reference to the medicinal properties of some species. (ref. genus Potentilla)
  • potentillo'ides: resembling genus Potentilla. (ref. Sphaeromaeria potentilloides)
  • Poterid'ium: diminutive of Poterium. (ref. genus Poteridium)
  • Poter'ium: from Latin poterium, "cup," and Greek poterion for goblet, beaker or drinking cup. (ref. genus Poterium)
  • pow'ellii: after John Wesley Powell (1834-1902), famed explorer and runner of the Colorado River through the
      Grand Canyon. Born in New York, he had to be removed from public school because of the hostility of his classmates resulting from his Methodist preacher father's stand against slavery, and he was tutored by a neighbor, George Crookham, a farmer and scientist who encouraged the boy to learn about nature firsthand. After continuing his education in Wisconsin where his family moved, he taught school for a number of years, retaining his interest in science and making a complete collection of the molluscs of Illinois. He joined the Army at the outset of the Civil War, was
    wounded at Shiloh and had an arm amputated. He continued teaching as a professor of Geology at Illinois State after the war. Still believing in direct study of nature, he took students on a field trip to the Rocky Mountains in 1867, where he studied, collected, took scientific measurements and explored. Returning in 1868, he began to think about exploring the Grand Canyon, and made his first trip through it by boat in 1869. The river was wild, a boat was lost, and no one knew how long it would take to emerge from the canyon. Fearing that they would die, three men left the expedition at a place called Separation Canyon and hiked out of the gorge, only to be killed by Indians. Two days later the remaining boatsmen sailed into Lake Mead and were met by some fishermen. Powell conducted a second, more scientific survey of the Colorado over 1871-1872, and the Smithsonian Institution published a monumental account of his explorations in 1875. His research on Indians led to the creation of the Bureau of Ethnology and he became its Director. He also was appointed Director of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1881 and held that post until retiring in 1894. He was founder and President of the Anthropological Society of Washington, an early member of the Biological Society of Washington, an organizer of the Geological Society of Washington, and he helped establish the National Geographic Society and the Geological Society of America, receiving honorary degrees from several universities and becoming President in 1888 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Few men in America have combined the qualities and accomplishments of exploration and science to the extent that he did, and he was buried in Arlington National Cemetary (ref. Amaranthus powellii)
  • prae-: Latin prefix meaning "before, in front, very."
  • praeal'ta/praeal'tum: very tall, very deep. (ref. Draba praealta, Sedum praealtum)
  • prae'bens: both my Latin dictionary and an online Latin source gives praebeo as the root of this name, which translates as "to hold forth, reach out, proffer, offer, tender," but I have no idea how this applies to the name or what the namer of the taxon intended by its use. (ref. Eriogonum baileyi var. praebens)
  • praeceptor'um: from the Latin praeceptor, "teacher." The International Plant Names Index says that this specific epithet honors Morton Eaton Peck (see peckianum) and James Carlton Nelson (see nelsonianum) who may have been teachers of the author. (ref. Carex praeceptorum)
  • prae'cox: (very) early (flowering) (flowering before). (ref. Allium praecox, Aira praecox)
  • praegrac'ilis: I'm not sure how this should be defined, but it derives from the Latin prae-, a prefix indicating "before or in front," and gracilis, "slender". Other names that use this same prefix are praealtus, which is defined as "very high [tall] or very deep" and praevernus, meaning "coming very early," so perhaps praegracilis means "very slender" which this species certainly is. (ref. Carex praegracilis)
  • praelong'us: very long (ref. Potamogeton praelongus)
  • praemor'sa: appearing to be bitten off at the end, from the Latin morsus, "a biting." (ref. Viola praemorsa)
  • prae'stans: (very) distinguished.
  • praeteri'ta: passed and gone, passed over, omitted. (ref. Castilleja praeterita)
  • praten'se/praten'sis: growing in meadows. (ref Phleum pratense, Trifolium pratense, Festuca pratensis, Poa pratensis, Salvia pratensis, Tragopogon pratensis)
  • praterico'la: from the Latin pratum, "a meadow," and thus meaning "meadow-loving" or "dwelling in meadows." (ref. Chenopodium pratericola)
  • pratico'la: same as previous entry. (ref. Carex praticola)
  • prattenian'um: after paleontologist and naturalist Henry J. Pratten (?-1857). According to David Hollombe, "He collected plants near Nevada City, California, in 1851. His catalog of the birds of Illinois was reprinted in the 'Western Journal and Civilian', March 1854, with the following introduction: ...'The first of these contributions is now offered in the following catalogue of the Birds of the State, by Mr. Henry Pratten, whose extensive acquisitions in several branches of science, made while engaged daily in the ordinary vocations of life, may be emulated by everyone having an occasional hour to spare from their common pursuits.' Pratten was a member of David Dale Owen's staff during his 1848-49 geological survey of northern states. He was also an avid collector and trader of fossils. Upon the appointment in 1851 of Dr. J.G. Norwood as the first Illinois State Geologist, Pratten joined his State Geological Survey, headquartered first in New Harmony and later in Springfield. The two men co-authored three papers that identified 31 new fossil species. His trip to California resulted in the discovery of a new mineral near Nevada City and was written about by Elias Durand in 1855 in "Plantæ Prattenianæ Californicæ; An enumeration of a collection of California Plants, made in the vicinity of Nevada, by Henry Pratten, Esq., of New Harmony; with critical notices and descriptions of such of them as are new, or yet unpublished in America" (Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 3:79-104). He collected about 200 specimens, of which around 40 were considered new. One of the species was assigned the name Stachys prattenii by Durand, and is now Stachys ajugoides var. rigida. Little is known of his early life except that he was apparently born in Bristol, England, and supported himself as a shoemaker for many years while pursuing scientific studies during his free time. He came to the U.SA. in the early- to mid-1800's from the County of Gloucestershire. His wife died in 1909. (ref. Eriogonum prattenianum)
  • Prenanthel'la: a Latin diminutive of Prenanthes, which is derived from the Greek prenes, "prone, prostrate, with face downward," and anthos, "flower." (ref. genus Prenanthella)
  • prenantho'ides: like genus Prenanthes (ref. Campanula prenanthoides)
  • pres'lii: after Bohemian botanist Karel Borivoj Presl (1794-1852). The following is from the website entry on
      Wikipedia: "He lived all his life in Prague, and was a professor at the University of Prague. He made an expedition to Sicily in 1817, and published a flora of Bohemia in 1820 with his older brother Jan Svatopluk Presl who was also a noted botanist; the journal Preslia of the Czech Botanical Society is named in their honor." Presl was custodian of botanical collections in the Prague University Herbarium from February 5, 1823 to August 6, 1846, but since 1832 he was also an external professor, and since 1838 an ordinary professor of natural history at Prague
    University. He also made botanical researches on the Apennine Peninsula, and was a collector of the National Museum. He spent nearly 15 years producing the "Reliquiae Haenkeanae" (published from 1825 to 1835), a work based on botanical specimens collected in the Americas by Thaddaeus Haenke. (ref. Carex preslii)
  • preuss'ii: after George Karl Ludwig Preuss (anglicized as Charles Preuss) (1803-1854), the surveyor, topographer and cartographer who joined John C. Fremont's western expedition in 1843-1844. He was born in Höhscheid, Prussia, and after studying the science of geodesy (which is the study of Earth’s geometric shape, orientation in space, and gravitational field) became a surveyor for the Prussian government. In 1834 he took his wife and children to the United States and worked for the Coast Survey under Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler. It was Hassler who recommended Preuss to Fremont who was about to embark on his exploration of the Rocky Mountains. He was a fine artist and made many of the illustrations that accompanied Fremont’s report. He made daily maps of the routes followed utilizing the astronomical determinations of their positions along the way of each of these excursions made by Fremont, and his work revolutionized western mapmaiking.  He accompanied Fremont on trips in 1842, 1843-44, and 1848 and they were the first to see Lake Tahoe from Carson Pass in 1844. The 1842 expedition inlcuded Kit carson and took five months, travelling from St. Louis to the Pacific Northwest over a route that many Oregon- and Californiabound travellers would eventually take. The second expedition begun in 1843 mapped the second half of the Oregon Trail and pushed on toward the Pacific along the Snake and Columbia Rivers, and then south to Nevada. Preuss was not on Fremont’s third expedition but he joined him again for his fourth expedition in 1848 into the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado, an expedition that ended in tragedy with eleven of thirty-five men dying in winter storms before being rescued. Preuss declined an invitation to participate in another Fremont expedition, but did join Lt. Robert Stockton Williamson on an 1853 railroad survey. Not long thereafter, back in Washington and his health failing, he hanged himself. He left behind a diary he compiled on these expeditions. It was not discovered until 1954 in Germany. (ref. Astragalus preussii)
  • primiver'is: derivation unknown. (ref. Oenothera primiveris ssp. bufonis)
  • Prim'ula: from the Latin primus or primulus, "first," and referring to early-flowering. In medieval times, the daisy was called primula veris or "firstling of spring." (ref. genus Primula)
  • primulifo'lia: with leaves like genus Primula (ref. Viola primulifolia)
  • primulo'ides: resembling a primrose. (ref. Mimulus primuloides)
  • pri'mum: from the Latin primus, "first" (ref. Galium californicum ssp. primum)
  • prin'ceps: most distinguished
  • pring'lei: after Cyrus Guernsey Pringle (1838-1911), who was born in Vermont and entered the University of Vermont
      in 1859. The death of his brother however in his first semester ended all thoughts of college and made it necessary for him to assist his widowed mother in the running of their farm. His first nursery was assembled even before he started college which showed an incipent interest in botany and horticulture. He cross-bred potatoes, apples, sold seedlings of lilies, gladioli and wheat, seeds of Hubbard squash, and grew more than 100 varieties of iris. Despite being a Quaker he was drafted for service into the Union Army, refused to compromise his beliefs in non-violence, and
    was severely disciplined, beaten and imprisoned in a military camp in 1863. Despite Secretary of War Stanton’s refusal to discharge him, President Lincoln intervened and ordered Stanton to release him and other Quaker conscripts. A book about his experience based on his journal called The Record of a Quaker Conscience was posthumously published in 1918. After returning home, he began breeding plants on the family farm, and made significant improvements in varieties of wheat, oats, potatoes, and grapes. He also began collecting rare Vermont plants. His name came to the attention of Asa Gray at Harvard, and in 1880 he made his first western trip, collecting and studying the flora of the Southwest for Gray. In 1885 Gray sent him to Mexico and he spent the remainder of his life studying the flora there. He eventually collected some 500,000 specimens that were donated to the University of Vermont and various other herbaria. Today the Pringle Herbarium is the second largest collection in New England. He worked for some of the legendary Harvard botanists, and achieved a record of botanical fieldwork in Mexico that is unsurpassed even today. In addition to the Pringle Herbarium, there are collections of his specimens at the herbaria of Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Harvard, University of Texas, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. (ref. Alternanthera pringlei, Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea, Eriophyllum pringlei, Monardella pringlei, Perideridia pringlei, Poa pringlei) (Photo credit: Archives of the Jepson Herbarium)
  • Prionop'sis: from the Greek for "saw-like," from prion, "a saw," and -opsis, a suffix used to signify resemblance, alluding to the leaf margins. (ref. genus Prionopsis, formerly Haplopappus)
  • pro-: Greek prefix meaning "in front of, before."
  • Proboscid'ea: from the Greek proboskis, "elephant's trunk," in allusion to the elongated curved ends of the fruit. (ref. genus Proboscidea)
  • procer'a/procer'us: tall or slender. (ref. Phacelia procera, Ulmus procera, Rubus procerus)
  • prociduum: probably from the Latin procido, "to fall forwards, fall down," and thus something to do with being prostrate, this taxon's common name in the Jepson Manual is 'prostrate buckwheat.' (ref. Eriogonum prociduum)
  • procum'bens: with trailing, prostrate stems. (ref. Chorizanthe procumbens, Hutchinsia procumbens, Lotus procumbens, Sibbaldia procumbens, Trifolium procumbens)
  • produc'tum: lengthened, stretched out. (ref. Trifolium kingii var. productum)
  • pro'lifer: see next entry. (ref. Cyperus prolifer)
  • prolif'era/prolif'erum/prolif'erus: bearing or producing offshoots, proliferating. (ref. Cylindropuntia prolifera, Navarretia prolifera, Eriogonum strictum var. proliferum, Chamaecytisus proliferus)
  • prolif'icum: very fruitful, prolific. (ref. Polygonum prolificum)
  • prolix'a: from the Latin prolixus, "long, extended, drawn out." (ref. Salix prolixa)
  • propin'qua/propin'quus: related. (ref. Navarretia propinqua, Haplopappus propinquus)
  • propos'ita: possibly means something like "exposed" or "easily found." (ref. Carex proposita)
  • Prosart'es: from the Greek prosartes meaning "attached." (ref. genus Prosartes)
  • proserpinaco'ides: like genus Proserpinaca. (ref. Floerkea proserpinacoides)
  • Prosop'is: a Greek name for the burdock, but unknown why it applies to this plant. (ref. genus Prosopis)
  • prostra'ta: prostrate. (ref. Atriplex prostrata, Clarkia prostrata, Eclipta prostrata, Euphorbia prostrata, Navarettia prostrata)
  • pruino'sa: glistening as though frosted. (ref. Castilleja pruinosa)
  • Prunel'la: from a German word for "quinsy," a malady that this plant was used to treat. (ref. genus Prunella)
  • prunophi'lus: having an affinity in some fashion for plum or its habitat? "This grows on dry slopes... with Amelanchier and Prunus demissa" (M.E. Jones, quoted in Lee Lenz's 1986 biography of Jones). (ref. Lupinus prunophilus)
  • Pru'nus: an ancient Latin name for the plum. (ref. genus Prunus)
  • psammophi'la: from psammo, "sand," and -phila, an ending that conveys the meaning of "to love." (ref. Heterotheca psammophila)
  • Psathyro'tes: from the Greek psathurotes, "brittleness," referring to the stems. (ref. genus Psathyrotes)
  • pseudalha'gi: false Alhagi. (ref. Alhagi pseudalhagi)
  • pseudato'cion: originally published as pseudo-atocion from the Latin pseudes, "false," and atocion from the prefix a-, "not," and tokos, "offspring," implying that it was considered to be either a contraceptive or an abortifacient (ref. Silene pseudatocion)
  • pseudaur'eus: false gold (ref. Senecio pseudaureus)
  • pseudiodan'thus: for its resemblance to Astragalus iodanthus, "A. iodanthus S. Wats. and A. cibarius Sheld., the only species with which it might be confused" (ref. Astragalus pseudiodanthus)
  • pseudoaca'cia: false acacia (ref. Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • pseudoacor'us: from the word for "false" and genus Acorus, common name "sweet flag," so I. pseudoacorus is the Iris that looks like Acorus (ref. Iris pseudoacorus)
  • Pseudoba'hia: from the Greek pseudes, "false," and the genus Bahia (ref. genus Pseudobahia)
  • Pseudognaphal'ium: literally false Gnaphalium, this is the new genus name for several species of Gnaphalium, and refers to a superficial resemblance to genus Gnaphalium (ref. genus Pseudognaphalium)
  • pseudolavater'a: false Lavatera (ref. Malva pseudolavatera)
  • pseudonarcis'sus: this specific epithet literally means false Narcissus, which is odd because the genus to which it is attached is Narcissus (ref. Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
  • Pseudoroegner'ia: from the Greek pseudes, "false," and Roegneria, a grass genus named by Karl Heinrich Emil (Ludwig) Koch for Heinrich Andreas Roegner (1807-1874) of Württemberg, Germany, former Imperial Russian court gardener at Tbilisi, Georgia and Oreanda in the Crimea, with whom Koch was on friendly terms (ref. genus Pseudoroegneria)
  • Pseudoron'tium: false Orontium (ref. genus Pseudorontium)
  • pseudorupest'ris: from pseudes, "false," and (Potentilla) rupestris, a European species closely related to P. glandulosa (ref. Potentilla glandulosa ssp. pseudorupestris)
  • Pseudosa'sa: from the Greek pseudes, "false," and the genus Sasa (ref. genus Pseudosasa)
  • pseudoscirpoid'ea: false Scirpus (ref. Carex scirpoidea var. pseudoscirpoidea)
  • pseudoseric'ea: Rydberg described the species as having the habit, leaves and pubescence of the Siberian species Potentilla sericea (ref. Potentilla pseudosericea)
  • pseudosim'ulans: from the Greek pseudes, "false," and simulo, "to make like, imitate," thus meaning "false simulans," referring to the frequent confusion between Caulanthus heterophyllus var. pseudosimulans and C. simulans (ref. Caulanthus heterophyllus var. pseudosimulans)
  • pseudospectab'ilis: false spectabilis (ref. Penstemon pseudospectabilis)
  • pseudosplen'dens: false splendens, of unknown application (ref. Lobelia cardinalis var. pseudosplendens)
  • Pseudostellar'ia: meaning false Stellaria, due to an incorrect taxonomic placement of species. (ref. genus Pseudostellaria)
  • Pseudotril'lium: from the Greek pseudes, "false," and the genus Trillium. (ref. genus Pseudotrillium)
  • Pseudotsu'ga: from pseudo, "false," and tsuga, a word derived from Japanese, and together meaning "false Tsuga (hemlock)." (ref. genus Pseudotsuga)
  • psilocarpho'ides: like genus Psilocarphus. (ref. Stylocline psilocarphoides)
  • Psilocar'phus: from the Greek psilos, "bare, naked" and karphos, "a splinter, twig, chaff, straw," the disk flowers not subtended by chaff scales. (ref. genus Psilocarphus)
  • psilosta'chya: derived from the Greek psilos, "bare" and stachys, "a spike," hence a "bare spike." (ref. Ambrosia psilostachya)
  • Psilostro'phe: from the Greek psilos, "naked, glabrous" and strophe, "to turn," of uncertain application. (ref. genus Psilostrophe)
  • Psilo'tum: New Latin, probably from Late Greek psilōton, a plant, perhaps from Greek psilon. Another connected or unconnected derivation would be the Greek psilos, "naked, smooth," according to one site "because it lacks leaves that are normally found in other ferns." (ref. genus Psilotum)
  • Psora'lea: from the Greek meaning "roughly scaled" and referring to the glandular dots on the leaves. (ref. genus Psoralea)
  • Psoralid'ium: according to the Jepson Manual a diminutive of Psoralea. (ref. Psoralidium)
  • Psorotham'nus: from the Greek psoros, "mangy, scabby," and thamnos, "bush," thus "scabshrub." (ref. genus Psorothamnus)
  • psyl'lium: from the Greek psylla, "a flea," and psyllion, "a kind of plant, fleawort," this was an old name of a plant used to ward off fleas. (ref. Plantago psyllium)
  • Pte'lea: a Greek name for an elm, and used because the winged fruits are similar. (ref. genus Ptelea)
  • Pterid'ium: a diminutive of Pteris, a fern genus. (ref. genus Pteridium)
  • Pter'is: Greek for "a fern." (ref. genus Pteris)
  • pterocar'ya: "wing-nut" from Greek pteron and karyon. (ref. Cryptantha pterocarya)
  • pterosper'ma: having winged seeds. (ref. Chylismiella pterosperma, Mentzelia pterosperma)
  • Pterospor'a: from the Greek pteros, "a wing," and spora, "seed," thus "winged seed." (ref. genus Pterospora)
  • Pteroste'gia: from pteron, "wing," and stegon, stege, "covering," meaning "winged cover" and referring to the winged bract. (ref. genus Pterostegia)
  • Pteryx'ia: from the Greek pteris, "fern," and ixia, the chameleon plant. (ref. genus Pterixia)
  • Ptilagros'tis: from the Greek ptilon, "wing or feather," and agrostis, "grass." (ref. genus Ptilagrostis)
  • pu'bens: downy. (ref. Camissonia pubens)
  • puber'ula/puberulen'ta/puber'ulum: minutely or somewhat pubescent, clothed with miniscule soft downy hairs. (ref. Horkelia cuneata var. puberula, Mentzelia puberula, Thelypteris puberula, Frasera puberulenta, Helenium puberulum, Linum puberulum)
  • pubes'cens: with soft, downy hair. (ref. Aquilegia pubescens, Cardaria pubescens, Forestiera pubescens, Galenia pubescens, Navarettia pubescens, Physalis pubescens, Prosopsis pubescens, Mimulus aurantiacus var. pubescens, Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens)
  • pubicar'pa/pubicar'pum: from the Latin pubis, "adult, downy, that which has arrived at puberty, i.e. with hairiness," and carpum, from the Greek karpos, "fruit," and thus meaning "with ovary and fruit pubescent." (ref. Valeriana pubicarpa, Lepidium densiflorum var. pubicarpum)
  • pubiflor'um: with downy or pubescent flowers. (ref. Eriogonum nudum var. pubiflorum, Ribes divaricatum var. pubiflorum)
  • Puccinel'lia: after Italian botanist and professor Benedetto Luigi Puccinelli (1808-1850), Director of the Botanical Gardens of Lucca. (ref. genus Puccinellia)
  • pu'dica: bashful. (ref. Fritillaria pudica)
  • pugionifor'mis: dagger-shaped. (ref. Conicosia pugioniformis)
  • pulchel'la/pulchel'lum/pulchel'lus: derived from the Latin for "beautiful." (ref. Dasyochloa pulchella, Downingia pulchella, Gaillardia pulchella, Phacelia pulchella, Dichelostemma pulchellum, now changed to D. capitatum)
  • pul'cher: pretty. (ref. Rumex pulcher)
  • pulcherri'ma/pulcherri'mum: most pretty or prettiest. (ref. Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Polemonium pulcherrimum)
  • pul'chra: pretty. (ref. Boechera pulchra, Stipa pulchra)
  • pulchriflor'um: with beautiful flowers.
  • pule'gium: from the Latin pulex, reputedly a flea-repellant. (ref. Mentha pulegium)
  • Pulicar'ia: from the Latin pulicarius for "flea-like." (ref. genus Pulicaria)
  • pulsif'erae: honors Mary Ellen Pulsifer (Mrs. Charles Cooper Ames) (1845-1902). The following is from Joseph Ewan, "San Francisco as a Mecca for Nineteenth Century Naturalists" (1955): "Comparatively little is known of Mary E.Pulsifer Ames of Auburn, whose plant collections, like those of Mrs. Austin, are occasionally cited in the Botany of California, particularly the second volume. She was evidently at one time a resident of Taylorsville, Indian Valley, a correspondent of C. Keck of Austria, as was Mrs. Austin, and a contributor to the California Horticulturist and Floral Magazine. Astragalus pulsiferae of Plumas County was named in her memory by Asa Gray. She died at San Jose, at the age of fifty-seven." And from an article in the San Jose Mercury, 21 March 1902, that contains a perhaps overly complimentary tribute by her sister: "In the death of Mrs. Mary E. Pulsifer Ames at her home at No. 43 Webster street, East San Jose, yesterday afternoon, there was lost to the world, except that her works will live after her, a distinguished woman--one whose fame as a botanist was world-wide, and especially honored in the Royal Botanical Directory of Austria. So quietly and unassumingly did she live, largely content with the society of her aged mother and loving sister, her husband having died some years ago, that it can be truthfully said that she was better known in the world of science and of letters than in her home city. One who knew her best and loved her most, her sister, Miss Martha Pulsifer pays the following tribute to her memory: 'May E. Pulsifer Ames, elder daughter of John W. and Salina Pulsifer, was born in Lowell, Mass., March 2, 1845. From a very young child she was passionately fond of books and was a natural student, showing a fondness for all studies, the arts as well as the sciences. She posessed great artistic talent, and had she fully cultivated the gift would have risen to equal fame as an artist and botanist. Botany being her life-long study. The greater part of her education was received in the Academy of Notre Dame, Lowell and at the College of Notre Dame in San Jose. She was frail of constitution, her poor health at all times interfering with the progress of her studies. The most serious impediment was an affliction of the eyes, an affection of the optic nerve from which she was practically blind for nearly three years. To the good well-behaved Sisters of Notre Dame she said she owed every success she achieved in life, and to her alma mater, the College of Notre Dame, to which she was ever loyal and devoted, she bequeathed her exquisite and extensive collection of valuable plants, books and stones, in grateful memory as she often said of the home where she had learned 'the beautiful sciences' to which she devoted her pure, serene and lofty life. Her monumental work lives after her, and future generations will draw inspiration from her uplifting and indefatigable labors. Her fame as a botanist was world-wide; her name being an honored in the Royal Botanical Directory of Austria. Her correspondence was large and varied among the leading botanists of the world. Her last days, and almost hours, were spent in classifying her plants, a large and choice collection, from many European countries as well as the United States." (ref. Astragalus pulsiferae, Mimulus pulsiferae)
  • pulverulen'ta: powdery, dust-covered. (ref. Dudleya pulverulenta)
  • pulvina'ta: cushion-like. (ref. Phlox pulvinata)
  • pumico'la: the suffix 'cola' means 'dwelling, and my supposition based on its common name of pumice moonwort is that the 'pumi' refers to pumice, and thus it is an inhabitant of pumice soils. There is also an Arenarium pumicola, but not in California. (ref. Botrychium pumicola)
  • pu'mila/pu'milum/pu'milus: dwarf. (ref. Ambrosia pumila, Petradoria pumila, Puccinellia pumila, Setaria pumila, Ulmus pumila, Apocynum pumilum, Erigeron pumilus, Hesperochiron pumilus)
  • pumil'io: from the Latin pumilio, "a pygmy." (ref. Chenopodium pumilio)
  • puncta'ta/puncta'tum: spotted, referring (at least in the case of P. punctatum) to the gland-dotted calyx. (ref. Langloisia setosissima ssp. punctata, Persicaria punctata)
  • punc'tum: possibly from the Latin punctus, "a stinging, a puncture" and related to the previous entry. (ref. Allium punctum)
  • pung'ens: spiny, sharp-pointed. (ref. Arctostaphylos pungens, Glossopetalon [formerly Forsellesia] pungens, Centromadia pungens, Chorizanthe pungens, Linanthus pungens, Schoenoplectus pungens)
  • Pu'nica: Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names says: "The Latin name contracted from punicum malum, Carthaginian apple, in turn derived from Poenus, 'a Carthaginian,' or Phoinikes, 'Phoenicians,' " this is the generic name of the pomegranate, Punicum granatum. (ref. genus Punica)
  • punic'ea/punic'eus: reddish-purple. (ref. Sesbania punicea, Mimulus aurantiacus var. puniceus)
  • purd'yi: after Carlton Elmer Purdy (1861-1945). He was a plant collector and nurseryman; born in Danville, Michigan, 16 Mar. 1861, died east of Ukiah, California, Aug. 1945. He had studied to be a teacher, but because of his great interest in our native lilies, he gave up that profession, purchased land high in the hills east of Ukiah in Mendocino County, and devoted more than fifty years to the collecting, propagating, and sale of lily bulbs and other plants. He made deliveries to every continent. He was a Charter member of the California Botanical Club (from Cantelow and Cantelow, "Biographical Notes on Persons in Whose Honor Alice Eastwood Named Native Plants" in Leaflets of Western Botany, 1957). (ref. Iris purdyi, Penstemon heterophyllus var. purdyi)
  • purdyifor'mis: having the form of Iris purdyi. Robert Crighton Foster who first described it as Iris tenuissima var. purdyiformis in "A cyto-taxonomic survey of the North American species of Iris" in Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (No. CXIX) wrote that "In the coloring and shape of the cauline leaves, the short stems, pink tipped and margined spathes, and one-sidedly glaucous leaves, this plant does have a deceptive resemblance to I. purdyi," and he reported that specimens had previously been misidentified as I. purdyi. (ref. Iris tenuissima ssp. purdyiformis)
  • puris'imae: named for La Purisima, in Baja California Sur, an old mission site and village, the type locality. (ref. Viguiera purisimae)
  • puris'sima: possibly after La Purisima Mission in the Lompoc area. (ref. Arctostaphylos purissima)
  • purpuras'cens: becoming purple or purplish. (ref. Calamagrostis purpurascens, Cymopterus purpurascens, Orthocarpus purpurascens, Pluchea purpurascens)
  • purpura'ta: made purple. (ref. Calystegia purpurata)
  • purpur'ea/purpur'eum/purpur'eus: purple. (ref. Aristida purpurea var. nealleyi, Clarkia purpurea var. quadrivulnera, Digitalis purpurea, Ipomoea purpurea, Linaria purpurea, Viola purpurea ssp. quercetorum, Mimulus purpureus)
  • Purpus'ia/purpus'ii: after Carl Albert Purpus (or Carlos Alberto as he was called later) (1851-1941), German plant
      collector, one of the most significant and least known of the early collectors in California. He was born in Hahnweilerhof in the Rhineland-Palatinate of Germany, the descendent of a Dutch family and the son of a forester who was in charge of the royal forests of Bavaria. After leaving school he roamed widely in the Swiss Alps and northern Italy where he sought out rare alpine plants. He trained as a pharmacist and obtained a degree in Pharmacy in Giessen in 1876-77, probably as a potential career that would allow some use of his knowledge of the flora. The sedentary life of a
    pharmacist did not appeal to him, and in 1887 he embarked with his younger brother Joseph Anton Purpus, who was working at the botanical garden in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a North American trip where they were to collect winter-hardy plants in the United States and Canada for the arboretum at Zoeschen. They collected mostly in Canada the first year, then Joseph worked for a year at a commercial garden in Ohio before going back to Europe while Carl decided to remain in the West, making collecting trips over the next few years in the Rocky Mountains and the Northwest and then moving down to the desert regions of Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California by the 1890’s, and becoming increasingly focused on Mexico. Joseph returned to St. Petersburg in 1888 and conducted extensive botanical surveys but political conditions caused him to leave Russia. He accepted a position at the Botanical Garden at Darmstadt, eventually becoming a leading staff member, and remained there for the rest of his life, while  Carl was one of the first botanist/collectors to explore areas of California such as the North Coast Ranges and southern Sierra Nevada. During this time he shipped literally tons of cacti that he stripped from the landscape back to Germany, something that would not make him popular today. A boojum he collected in Baja in 1901 bloomed for the first time in 1960. Carl established a close working relationship with Townsend Stith Brandegee and Mary Katharine Brandegee. 1904 was his only other visit to Europe (Germany, Belgium and Italy) after leaving and he returned to San Diego later that year. In 1906 he accepted an unpaid post with Berkeley to be a botanical collector. His main source of support was the sale of seeds and plants to German horticulturists. He introduced more than 200 species of plants into Europe. He also published articles about the places he visited in the journal Ausland.  In 1908 his brother and the Director of the Darmstadt Botanical Garden, Heinrich Schenck, visited him and joined him in the difficult Mexican terrain so different from what they were used to. Joseph contracted malaria and he and Schenck departed later that year. Carl contracted malaria two years later but returned to collecting as soon as he had recovered. He called the hacienda named Zacuapam owned by Florentin Sartorius, son of the botanist Carl Sartorius, his home from 1905 for the remainder of his life, and he died at the age of nearly 90. Carl Purpus was a man of almost unimaginable hardiness, a man for whom concerns of safety and personal comfort were insignificant, and regrettably a man who in addition to discovering new species and encouraging botanical investigation supported his lifestyle by debuding the landscape of its native flora. (ref. genus Purpusia, also Eriogonum kennedyi var. purpusii, Gilia leptantha ssp. purpusii, Phacelia purpusii)
  • purpusia'na: see previous entry. (ref. Festuca saximontana var. purpusiana)
  • Pursh'ia: see purshianus below. (ref. genus Purshia)
  • purshia'na/purshia'nus: after Frederick Traugott Pursh (1774-1820), a Saxon explorer, plant collector, horticulturist and author who studied botany at Dresden where he was on the staff of the Royal Botanical Garden, where he was educated. He emigrated to the United States in 1799 and lived there until 1811. He worked in Philadelphia from 1802 to 1805 as the botanical manager of an extensive private garden owned by William Hamilton. By 1805 he was working for Benjamin Smith Barton on a flora of North America. He received the plant collections from the Lewis and Clark expedition and was the first to publish on them. In 1805 he travelled south from Maryland to the Carolinas, and the following year north from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire, covering over 3000 miles during each trip, mostly on foot. During this period he also worked for the early botanists William Bartram and Bernard McMahon. The work on his North American flora proceeded slowly in fits and starts and in the end was never published. Pursh made two trips to the West Indies and then left The United States for England, taking with him his specimens and some of the specimens that Clark had given him. In 1813 he made a major contribution to North American botany when he published his Flora americae septentrionalis; or A Systematic Arrangement and Description of The Plants of North America, based on the Lewis and Clark collections. He returned to North America in 1816, botanizing around Quebec and making extensive botanical surveys there. Regrettably all of the material he collected was destroyed in a fire before it could be organized for publication. He became an alcoholic and died in poverty in Montreal at the age of 46. (ref. Rhamnus purshiana, Lotus purshianus)
  • pursh'ii: see purshianus above. (ref. Astragalus purshii var. lectulus, Astragalus purshii var. tinctus, Plantago purshii)
  • pur'us: pure.
  • pusater'ii: after Samuel Joseph Pusateri (1911-1996). The following is from the Kaweah Commonwealth Online, Sept 26, 2003: "On Saturday, Sept. 20, the late Samuel Pusateri was inducted into the Harvard Cup Hall of Fame in Buffalo, N.Y. 'Sam is still remembered in these parts as one of the area’s greatest football players ever,' wrote Richard Kozak, a Hall of Fame representative. Sam lived in Three Rivers for more than 50 years. He was a biologist, author, and a teacher at College of the Sequoias. Sam played football at Bennett High School in Buffalo. He was captain of the team, earned All-High honors, and was the best halfback to have ever played for the school. He went on to become one of the University of Buffalo’s most outstanding halfbacks. 'Sam is very fondly remembered in Buffalo even after all of these years,' concluded Kozak." He was the author of Flora of our Sierran parks, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, including many valley and foothill plants and co-author with John R. White of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. (ref. Erythronium pusaterii)
  • pusil'la/pusil'lum/pusil'lus: small, weak or insignificant. (ref. Camissonia pusilla, Loeflingia pusilla, Minuartia pusilla, Plantago pusilla, Eriogonum pusillum, Nama pusillum, Amblyopappus pusillus, Athysanus pusillus, Daucus pusillus, Lupinus pusillus, Potamogeton pusillis)
  • pycnan'tha: same as entry below. (ref. Acacia pycnantha, Stachys pycnantha)
  • Pycnanth'emum: from the Greek pychnos, "dense," and anthemon, "flower," so "densely flowered." (ref. genus Pycnanthemum)
  • pycnocar'pa: densely-fruited.
  • pycnoceph'alus: thick-headed, with heads in thick clusters. (ref. Carduus pycnocephalus)
  • pycnosta'chyus: densely-spiked. (ref. Astragalus pycnostachys)
  • pygmae'a/pygmae'um/pygmae'us: pygmy, dwarf. (ref. Lewisia pygmaea, Calyptridium pygmaeum, Linanthus pygmaeus ssp. continentalis)
  • Pyracan'tha: from the Greek pyr for "fire" and akantha for "a thorn" from the fruit colors and thorns. (ref. genus Pyracantha)
  • pyramida'ta: pyramid-shaped. (ref. Filago pyramidata, Vaccaria pyramidata)
  • Pyro'la: pear-like, from the Latin diminutive of Pyrus, meaning "pear," for the pear-like leaf shape, and a genus commonly called shinleaf or wintergreen. (ref. genus Pyrola)
  • pyrolifo'lium: with leaves like genus Pyrola. (ref. Eriogonum pyrolifolium)
  • Pyrroco'ma: from the Latin for "reddish hair," probably referring to the pappus (ref. genus Pyrrocoma, formerly included in Haplopappus. (ref. genus Pyrrocoma)
  • Py'rus: classical name of the pear. (ref. genus Pyrus)


Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County
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