L-R: Sarcodes sanguinea (Snow plant), Frasera parryi (Parry's green-gentian), Lilium parryi (Lemon lily), Calochortus venustus (Butterfly mariposa lily), Echinocereus triglochidiatus (Mojave mound cactus)

California Plant Names:
Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations
An Annotated Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology
Compiled by Michael L. Charters

  • a-: before a consonant, Greek prefix meaning "not, without, less" e.g. acaulis, "without a stem," apetalus, "without petals."
  • a-/ab-: Latin prefix meaning "away from," e.g. abaxialis, "away from the axis."
  • ab'bei: named for Dr. Ernst Cleveland Abbe (1905-2000), professor emeritus of botany at the University of Minnesota.
      born in Washington, D.C. and died in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He received a B.S. in 1928 and a master’s in 1930 from Cornell University. In 1934 he was awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard University. After a fellowship at Columbia he joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota where he remained until he retired. He served as vice-president and president of the Minnesota Academy of Science. Plant Science Bulletin‘s obituary for Abbe says: “Abbe's early research was on inflorescence and floral anatomy of the Betulaceae.  Through the 1940s and 50s he turned his
    attention to the maize plant and more than 25 papers and articles on maize morphogenesis flowed from the laboratory. Many of these were investigations of the role of various mutants in altering developmental patterns. Later he returned to comparative studies of amentiferous taxa [those bearing catkins], particularly the Myricaceae. His last major publication was "Flowers and inflorescences of the Amentiferae," in Botanical Review 40(2):159-261, 1974. During his career he was the recipient of a number of awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship at Harvard University (1941-42) and a Fulbright professorship at the University of Singapore (1961-62). He participated in the Grenfell-Forbes Northern Labrador Expedition, 1931; the University of Minnesota Expedition to Hudson Bay, 1939; an expedition to Mt. Kinabalu on Borneo, 1962; and expeditions to Malaysia in 1959-60 and 1964. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the Linnean Society of London.” He was the author of Vascular Plants of the Hamilton River Area Labrador (1955), Botanical Results of the Grenfell-Forbes Northern Labrador Expedition (1931) and other works. (Photo credit: Find-a-Grave)
  • ab'bottii: named for Edwin Kirk Abbott (1840-1918), born in Quebec, graduated Hillsdale College 1869 and Michigan
      University Medical College in 1871, was a practicing physician in Salinas, California and later in Monterey. David Hollombe sent along the following from Cantelow and Cantelow, "Biographical Notes on Persons in whose Honor Alice Eastwood Named Native Plants," (Leaflets of Western Botany 8 (5): 83-101): "... born in Hartley, Canada, 27 Dec. 1840, died in Monterey, California, 11 June 1917 [should say 1918]. Graduate of Ann Arbor Medical School; early resident of Salinas, California, where he established the first drug store and maintained it for 34 years; served
    the county as weather observer for 40 years and rendered other public services; his favorite study was botany and he was an ardent collector of plants, especially in monterey County; his herbarium was given to the California Academy of Sciences by Mrs. Abbott after the doctor's death." (Photo credit: Geni)
  • ab'errans: deviating from the normal.
  • a'bertii: named for James William Abert (1820-1897), army officer and explorer, born November 18, 1820, in Mount
      Holly, New Jersey, the son of Maj. John James Abert, an officer in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. In his teens he attended Princeton University, where he graduated, probably from its academy, in 1838; he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in September of that year. In 1842 he was assigned to the Fifth United States Infantry. After an uneventful year of garrison duty in Detroit, Abert was transferred to the Corps of Topographical Engineers in May 1843. His first assignment in the corps was that of assistant topographical engineer in an extensive
    survey of the northern lakes, 1843-44. During that time he married Jane Stone, and they had a son. In the summer of 1845 Abert was attached to the third expedition of John Charles Frémont, whose assignment was to make reconnaissance southward and eastward along the Canadian River through the country of Kiowa and Comanche. Frémont, however, chose to take his main party on to California, and gave command of the Canadian River mission to Abert, with an assistant, Lt. William G. Peck. Except for the two young officers, the entire party of thirty-three was composed of civilians. In his report Abert described in detail the geology, flora, and fauna of the Canadian valley. His maps of the region were the most accurate of the time, and later explorers found them quite useful, especially for finding campsites and watering places. In the summer of 1846 Abert and Peck accompanied Gen. Stephen W. Kearny's Army of the West to New Mexico. Abert came down with a fever in July and had to remain behind at Bent's Fort to recuperate. While he was sick he continued his studies in natural science and ethnology and compiled a tribal dictionary. Afterward he joined Peck in Santa Fe, and the two lieutenants conducted a thorough survey of New Mexico as far south as Socorro. They visited each of the Rio Grande pueblos and, as before, took note of the geology and wildlife of the new American territory, as well as of the habits and customs of its native residents. Abert then went to Washington to submit his report to Congress. From 1848 to 1850 he served on the faculty at West Point, where he taught drawing. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1853 and to captain in 1856. After the death of his first wife he married Lucy Taylor, with whom he had several children. In 1860, after serving two years in Florida, he traveled in Europe to study military affairs and visit various forts and arsenals. When the Civil War broke out Abert served in the Shenandoah valley from June 1861 to September 1862. On March 3, 1863, he was promoted to major and assigned to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He was later severely injured by a fall from his horse, and in 1864 he resigned from the army. He had been brevetted lieutenant colonel for his "faithful and meritorious service." During the next five years, Abert and his family engaged in the mercantile business in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1869 to 1871 he served as examiner of patents in Washington. He taught English literature at the University of Missouri from 1877 to 1879 and afterward was president of the Examining Board of Teachers of Public Schools in Kentucky. Abert was reappointed a major in the United States Army on January 14, 1895, and retired almost immediately. He died at his home in Newport, Kentucky, on August 10, 1897. Despite the value of Abert's western frontier journals, they lay almost forgotten in government files until 1941, when H. Bailey Carroll first published the 1845 report in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review. William A. Keleher published Abert's New Mexico report in 1962. In 1967 and 1970 special publications of the Abert journals were edited under the title Through the Country of the Comanche Indians in the Fall of the Year 1845 by John Galvin, a California historian. They featured illustrations of Abert's watercolors, many of which were obtained from his descendants. A species of finch that Abert discovered was named Pipilo aberti in his honor. (Information extracted from the Handbook of Texas Online). The taxon Sanvitalia aberti was published in 1849 by Harvard botanist Asa Gray.
  • A'bies: the Latin name for the silver fir. The genus Abies was published by Philip Miller in 1754.
  • abieti'num: resembling genus Abies.
  • -abilis: a Latin adjectival suffix used to indicate a capacity or ability to do something, and employed when the root infinitive ends in -are (e.g. variabilis, "ability to change," from variare, "to change").
  • abbrevia'tus: shortened or abbreviated in some fashion.
  • abjec'tus: cast down, rejected, low, mean, worthless.
  • abla'ta: from the Latin ablatus, "removed, withdrawn."
  • aborig'inum/aborig'inus: ancestral, native, original.
  • abor'tiva: with parts missing, imperfect; producing abortion.
  • abramsia'na: see abramsii below.
  • a'bramsii: named for LeRoy Abrams (1874-1956), professor of botany at Stanford University, who collected plants
      from throughout the Southern California region in the late 1890s to 1905 and published a book entitled Flora of Los Angeles and Vicinity first in 1904, then 1911, finally in 1917. He also produced The Floral Features of California in 1915, and the four-volume Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States, Washington, Oregon and California, the only completely illustrated flora for California, featuring copious line drawings illustrating diagnostic features, especially seed, fruit and flower characters. Abrams was the author of the first three volumes and Roxanna Ferris that of the fourth.
    He was one of the founding members of an organization in the San Francisco Bay area called the Biosystematists. Abrams was on the staff of the Dudley Herbarium at Stanford, and was assistant curator at the US National Herbarium 1905-1906. His name is on the Abrams' lupine, Lupinus albifrons var. abramsii, which he collected in Santa Lucia, California in 1920. He was responsible for finding a rare cypress, [Cupressus arizonica ssp. nevadensis] about which Donald Peattie wrote in A Natural History of Western Trees (1950): "Most of the California cypresses tend to be rare and local in their occurrence, but none more so than this one, which was discovered in 1915 by that dean of California botanists, Leroy Abrams. He drove south along the road between Bodfish and Havilah for about 3 miles to the summit of a grade, then turned off on an unsurfaced clay road ... for 2-1/2 miles. And there he came upon thousands of specimens of this conical tree, its foliage in summer, when Abrams first saw it, a dusty gray-green, though in spring when the rains are ending it is a fine glowing green. Flowering takes place in February and March and at that time many of the specimens, according to the ranchers, appear as golden trees, powdered over with untold numbers of yellow male flowers." Many of the common names in the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Species of California were coined by Abrams in his Illustrated Flora.
  • Abro'nia: from Greek abros meaning "graceful or delicate," in reference to the appearance of the bracts below the flowers. The genus Abronia was published in 1789 by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu.
  • abrotanifo'lia: having leaves resembling southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum.
  • abrup'ta: ending suddenly, abrupt.
  • absin'thium: Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names says that this is the "Latin and pre-Linnaean name for wormwood, the botanical name for which is Artemisia absinthium.It is used to flavor absinthe. In biblical days it was a symbol of calamity and sorrow."
  • Abu'tilon: derived from the Arabic abū-tīlūn, this name was first used by the Persian philosopher and polymath Avicenna or Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn bin ʿAbdullāh ibn al-Ḥasan bin ʿAlī bin Sīnā al-Balkhi al-Bukhari (Ibn Sina) around 900 B.C. for plants that resembled mallows or mulberries. General common names for Abutilon are Indian mallow or velvetleaf. Philip Miller published the genus Abutilon in 1754.
  • abutilo'ides: like Abutilon.
  • abyssin'ica: Abyssinian, native to Ethiopia.
  • Aca'cia: from the Greek name akakie taken from ake or akis, "a sharp point," in reference to the thorns. The genus Acacia was published by Philip Miller in 1754.
  • Acae'na: from the Greek word for "thorn" from the fruit. The genus Acaena was published in 1771 by José Celestino Bruno Mutis.
  • Acaly'pha: from the Greek akalephes for "nettle," being an ancient name for a kind of nettle but applied by Linnaeus to this genus because of the nettle-like appearance of the leaves. The genus Acalypha was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Acamptopap'pus: from the Greek akamptos, "stiff," and pappos, "pappus," thus meaning stiff or unbending pappus. The genus Acamptopappus was published by Asa Gray in 1873.
  • acanthicar'pa/acanthocar'pa/acanthocar'pus: with thorny fruits like those of Acanthus.
  • acanthifo'lia: with spiny leaves like those of Acanthus.
  • acan'thium: from the root meaning "spiky, spiny or thorny," and the suffix -ium meaning "characteristic of."
  • acanthocar'pa: see acanthicarpa above.
  • acanthocla'da: with thorny branches.
  • acantho'ides: appearing like a spike or spine.
  • Acanthomin'tha: from the Greek acantha, "thorn," and mentha, "mint," hence a mint that is characteristically thorny. The genus Acanthomintha was published by Asa Gray in 1878.
  • Acanthoscy'phus: from the Greek acanthos, "flower," and scyphos, "a cup, goblet or jug," in reference to the position of the flowers in an involucre. The genus Acanthoscyphus was published in 1898 by John Kunkel Small.
  • Acan'thus: from the Greek acanthos, meaning "flower," and referring to the statuesque flower spikes which last for many weeks, and the plant most celebrated in architecture since the Greeks adopted its leaf form for the well-known decoration on the caps of their Corinthian columns. The genus Acanthus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • acau'lis: without a stem.
  • ac'cidens: falling forward, alluding to the stems and pods. Many of the names that have -dens as a suffix relate to teeth (Bidens, latidens, acutidens, serratodens), but others don't (splendens, ascendens).
  • -a'cea: a Latin adjectival suffix which indicates resemblance or material out of which something is made (e.g. drupacea, "like a drupe," oleracea, "resembling garden herbs or vegetables used in cooking," ranunculacea, "Ranunculus-like," crustacea, "resembling or being made out of a shell or rind," membranacea, "like a membrane").
  • -a'ceae: the ending of plant family names.
  • aceph'alus: headless.
  • A'cer: the classical Latin name for the maple which seems to derive from the same roots as for the word acrid and possibly acerbic, and refers to either sharpness or hardness, the wood having been used for writing tablets and spear hafts by the Romans. Carl Linnaeus published the genus Acer in 1753.
  • acer'bus: bitter.
  • acero'ides: maple-like.
  • acero'sa: sharp, or with stiff needles.
  • acetosel'la: pre-Linnaean name for common sorrel and other plants with acidic leaves.
  • -a'ceum/-a'ceus: see -acea above (e.g. malvaceum, "like a mallow"; coriaceus, "leathery"; rosaceus, "like a rose, rosy"; oleraceus, "resembling greens or vegetables"), also "of or pertaining to."
  • achillaeo'ides: like genus Achillea.
  • Achil'lea: named for Achilles, who according to Homer in Greek mythology was a student of Chiron, the centaur known for his knowledge of medicinal herbs. Achilles supposedly used plants of the genus to staunch the wounds of his soldiers at the siege of Troy. Ironically called "nose-bleed," it was apparently used to induce nose-bleeds as a means of curing headaches. Yarrow was one of the medicinal herbs that was found at a 60,000 year old Neanderthal burial site in Iraq. The genus Achillea was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • achilleifo'lia: with foliage like Achillea.
  • A'chlys: named for a minor Greek goddess, the Goddess of hidden places or obscurity, perhaps alluding to the woodland habitat or to the inconspicuous flowers which have no perianth. Other mythological sources give different interpretations. One is that Achlys was the eternal Night (perhaps the Mist of Death, which clouded the eyes of the dying), and the first created being which existed even before Chaos, and another (Hesiod) that she was the personification of misery and sadness, a daughter of Nyx (Night) and as such she was represented on the shield of Heracles as pale, emaciated, and weeping, with chattering teeth, swollen knees, long nails on her fingers, bloody cheeks, and her shoulders thickly covered with dust. The genus Achlys was published by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1821.
  • Achna'therum: awned scale or awn-scaled, from Greek achne, "chaff, glume," and ather, "stalk, barb," alluding to the lemma. The genus Achnatherum was published by Ambroise Marie François Joseph Palisot de Beauvois in 1812.
  • Achyrachae'na: from the Greek and Latin meaning "a chaffy achene" and alluding to the pappus. The genus Achyrachaena was published in 1837 by Johannes Conrad Schauer.
  • Achyrony'chia: from the Greek for "chaff claw" or "fingernail" alluding to the chaffy calyx. The genus Achyronychia was published in 1868 by John Torrey and Asa Gray.
  • acicular'is: needle-like.
  • acina'ceus: shaped like a curved sword or scimitar.
  • -a'cious/-a'ceous: abounding in, containing, having, as in "membranaceous."
  • Acleisan'thes: from the Greek a, "without, lacking," cleis, "something which closes, lock" and anthos, "flower," and thus meaning "without an involucre." The genus Acleisanthes was published by Asa Gray in 1853.
  • Acmis'pon: a name published by C.S. Rafinesque, presumably from the Greek acme, "a point or edge," and explained by him in his publication in Atlantic Journal 1 (4): 144-145, 1832, as "Point hooked" in probable reference to the hook-tipped fruit. The genus Acmispon was published in 1832 by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque.
  • acmophyl'lus: with pointed leaves.
  • Aconi'tum: derivation uncertain. The ancient Greek name of this plant, loosely translated, is "unconquerable poison." Flora of North America says "according to Pliny, the name "aconite" is taken from the ancient Black Sea port Aconis." Wikipedia says: The name aconitum comes from a Greek word which may derive from the Greek akon for "dart or javelin," the tips of which were poisoned with the substance, or from akonae, because of the rocky ground on which the plant was thought to grow. The genus Aconitum was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • Acono'gonon: from the Greek akonao, "to sharpen," plus gonia or gonos, "corner, or angle", an allusion to the sharp edges of the fruit. There has been some uncertainty as to the correct spelling of this name, with some sources going with Aconogonum, but it appears that the Jepson Manual 2nd edition will give it this spelling. The genus Aconogonon was published by Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach in 1837.
  • Aco'rus: from the Greek akoron and akoros, an ancient name applied both to the sweet flag Acorus calamus and the yellow flag Iris pseudacorus. The name became the Latin acorus and acorum which Pliny used for an aromatic plant whose root stocks were used for cosmetics. The genus Acorus was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • Acos'ta: named for Portuguese doctor, natural historian and one of the pioneers of Indo-Portuguese medicine Cristóvão
      da Acosta (Cristóbal Acosta) (1515-1594). His birthplace is not known for certain, but it is thought to have been somewhere in Africa, possibly Tangier or Portuguese Cape Verde. He apparently went by the name at some point of Christophorus Acosta Africanus. Wikipedia says: “He probably studied at Salamanca and first travelled to the East Indies in 1550 as a soldier. He took part in some campaigns against the native populace, and at one point was taken prisoner and held captive in Bengal. After returning to Portugal, he joined his former captain, Luís de Ataíde, who had been
    appointed Viceroy of Portuguese India. He returned to Goa in 1568, the year Garcia de Orta, another of the pioneers of Indo-Portuguese medicine, died. He served as personal physician to the Viceroy, and in 1569 was appointed physician to the royal hospital in Cochin, where he had the opportunity of treating the king of Cochin. By 1571, he was noted as collecting botanical specimens from various parts of India. He returned to Portugal in 1572 after Ataíde's term ended. From 1576 to 1587 he served as surgeon and then physician in Burgos (Spain).” The work that he published in 1578 called Tractado de las drogas y medicinas de las Indias orientales ("Treatise of the drugs and medicines of the East Indies") was not wholly original but drew on an earlier work by Garcia de Orta. He retired to a hermitage after his wife died. He died in Spain. The genus Acosta was published in 1763 by Michel Adanson. The genus Acosta was published by Michel Adanson in 1763.
  • Acour'tia: named for a Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Catherine Gibbes A'Court (1792-1878), daughter of Abraham Gibbes and wife of Lt-Gen. Charles Ashe a'Court. Mary was an English amateur botanist born in Naples, Italy, and died in London. The genus Acourtia was published in 1830 by David Don.
  • Acra'chne: from the Greek akros, "the summit, highest, at the top," and achne, "chaff, glume," in reference to the terminal glume. The genus Acrachne was published in 1908 by Robert Wight and George Arnott Walker Arnott.
  • acrade'nia/acrade'nius: from the Greek for "pointed-glanded," each of the involucral bracts having a large gland at its tip.
  • a'cris: sharp-tasting, biting, acrid.
  • acris'pum: from the prefix a-, "without," and crispum, "finely waved, closely curled," and referring to the hairs.
  • Acrop'tilon: from the Greek for "feather-tipped" from the bristles of the pappus. The genus Acroptilon was published in 1827 by Alexandre Henri Gabriel de Cassini.
  • acrosticho'ides: like genus Acostichum.
  • Ac'taea: the Jepson Manual says "an ancient Greek name from its wet habitat and similarity to Sambucus leaves," and Umberto Quattrocchi says Latin actaea for a strong-smelling plant, herb Christopher (Plinius); Greek aktea, akte, "the elder-tree, elder," referring to the leaves or to the fruits. Actaea was named by Pliny because the leaves of Actaea and Sambucus are similar in appearance. The genus Actaea was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • ac'toni: I presume that this name comes from the town of Acton, California, which is located on the Antelope Valley side of the western end of the San Gabriel range.
  • acu-: sharply-pointed.
  • aculea'ta: prickly.
  • aculeatis'simus: very prickly.
  • aculeola'ta: with small prickles.
  • acumina'ta/acumina'tum/acumina'tus: having a long tapering point.
  • acu'ta/acu'tus: with a sharp but not tapering point.
  • acu'tidens: sharply toothed.
  • acutifo'lia/acutifo'lius: with pointed leaves.
  • acutiros'tris: very sharply beaked.
  • acutis'sima: very sharply pointed.
  • adamsia'na: named for pioneer Mary Ann Adams Peacock (Mrs. Peter James Peacock) (1861-1942), for many years
      operator of Adams Station, one of the historic stage stations in the West. She was born in Josephine County, Oregon, and lived at Waldo in her early years. Waldo is now a ghost town. She lived for a while in Grants Pass and then at some point moved south to Gasquet, Del Norte County, California, where she was in charge of the hotel in the late 1890s after the death of Mrs. Gasquet. She established the stage station nearby. She married Peter Peacock and often acted as a nurse in an area where such care was almost nonexistent. She died in Gasquet at age 81 and was buried next to
    her husband. (Anenome adamsiana, Valeriana adamsiana) (Photo credit: Find-a-Grave)
  • a'damsii: named for Joseph Edison Adams (1903-1981), professor emeritus of botany at the University of North Carolina and author of "A Systematic Study of the Genus Arctostaphylos" published in 1935. The following is from an obituary in Castanea, the Journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, Vol. 47, No. 1 (1982): "A specialist in the taxonomy of vascular plants, he was nationally known as the co-author of the textbook, Plants: An Introduction to Modern Botany. The text, co-authored with V.A. Greulach, is widely used in the United States and has been translated into several foreign languages. He also wrote extensively on plant anatomy and plant morphology. His lifelong research and graduate teaching interest was in the classification and phylogeny of flowering plants. His research and that of all his doctoral students was directed to that effort. He was a challenging and stimulating, as well as congenial, graduate adviser and seminar leader, an outstanding lecturer, superbly organized, articulate, a master of language and an excellent writer. He was a provocative, pithy, professional scientist, who played a large role in the development and excellence of [his] department in the 40s and 50s. He was a member of the N.C. Academy of Science, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the Botanical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Born in Middletown, N.Y., Adams received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his masters from Columbia University. He received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley." He taught at UNC from 1935 to 1969. (Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. adamsii)
  • Adei'a: Guy Nesom in his 2021 publication says "The genus name, directly from the Greek word [adeia (freedom from fear)], means safety, security, freedom from fear –– an antonymic allusion to one of the meanings of "hazard."
  • Adelin'ia: named for Adeline Etta Cohen (2014- ). The name was published by her father, botanist Dr. James I. Cohen
      in 2015. He was born and raised jn Washington, D.C. but spent many summers of his youth in the North Woods of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan which at least partly inspired him to study ecology and environmental science. attended the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan majoring in resource ecology and management. While studying plant and forest ecology, Cohen was encouraged to take a course in plant systematics and discovered his passion for botany, evolution, and ecology. He went on to earn his PhD in the Bailey
    Hortorium at Cornell University, where he studied the systematics of Lithospermum (Boraginaceae) and the evolution and development of heterostyly.  Graduating in 2010, he moved to Laredo, Texas to work at Texas A&M International University, then settled in Flint, Michigan, where he joined the newly formed Applied Biology program at Kettering University, where he is an assistant professor of biology. The genus Adelinia was published in 2015 by James Cohen.
  • adenocar'pus: glandular- or sticky-fruited.
  • adenocau'lon: from the Greek aden, "a gland," and caulon, "stem," referring to the small depression on the stem.
  • adenoph'ora/adenoph'orum: bearing or producing glands as some part of the plant, often referring to sticky glands.
  • Adenophyl'lum: from the Greek for "gland-leaf." The genus Adenophyllum was published in 1807 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon.
  • adenophyl'lus: having glandular leaves.
  • Adenos'toma: from the Greek aden, "a gland," and stoma, "a mouth," in reference to the 5 glands at the mouth of the sepals. The genus Adenostoma was published in 1841 by William Jackson Hooker and George Arnott Walker Arnott.
  • Adian'tum: from the Greek adiantos, meaning "unwetted" or "unwettable," and referring to the way the fronds repel water. The genus Adiantum was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • Adiaph'ila: Guy Nesom in his 2021 publication says "The genus name is from Greek adeia (freedom from fear) and philia (affection, fondness) –– an allusion to Hazardia in parallel with that of the new genus Adeia."
  • admira'bilis: noteworthy in some fashion, admirable.
  • adna'tus: growing together in a joined but apparently abnormal manner.
  • Adol'phia: named for Adolphe Theodore Brongniart (1801-1876), son of mineralogist, chemist, geologist and
      paleontologist Alexandre Brongniart. Adolphe was a student of the Rhamnaceae, a pioneer in the study of plant morphology and physiology, author of an important work on fossil plants, and a French botanist whose classifications of fossil plants showed surprisingly accurate relationships between extant and extinct forms. In 1831 he became an assistant to the botanist Rene Desfontaines at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and took his place two years later, a position he was to hold for the remainder of his life. He is considered one of the founders of modern
    paleobotany, and made substantial contributions to the field of angiosperm morphology also producing a valuable first account of pollen. He founded the Societe botanique de France. The genus Adolphia was first published in 1837 by Carl Daniel Friedrich Meisner and then by Sereno Watson in 1876.
  • Adon'is: Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names says: "The flower is supposed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis who was gored to death by a wild boar. He was beloved of Aphrodite and by some accounts was unsuccessfully wooed by her. Adonis was regarded by the Greeks as the god of plants. It was believed that he disappeared into the earth in autumn and winter only to reappear in spring and summer. To celebrate his return, the Greeks adopted the Semitic custom of making Adonis gardens, consisting of clay pots of quickly growing seeds." Carl Linnaeus published the genus Adonis in 1753.
  • adpres'sus: pressed against or lying flat against, as in the case of hairs on some plant stems or scales on cones.
  • adscensio'nis: an internet search turned up the fact that the type specimen of Aristida adscensionis is from Ascension Island, and several other species that are associated with that island, such as Pteris adscensionis and Oldenlandia adscensionis, use the specific epithets adscensionis, ascensionis and ascensionense, so I think we can with confidence attribute the derivation of this name to that South Atlantic island.
  • adseptentrionesvergent'ulum: this is not an epithet in the California flora and is included here merely for the whimsical reason that in the 1.25 million scientific names for plants in The Plant List database compiled cooperatively by Kew Gardens and the Missouri Botanical Garden, Ornithogalum adseptentrionesvergentulum is the longest. It is a South African species and the specific epithet means "inclined toward the north."
  • adsur'gens: rising to an erect position.
  • adun'ca/adun'cus: hooked, like the beat of a parrot, crooked, or bent backwards.
  • adven'us: adventive, newly arrived, therefore not native.
  • -ae: a suffix usually given to a personal name to convert that name to a substantival commemorative epithet in cases where the personal name is that of a woman, thus parryae, commemorating Mrs. Charles Parry.
  • Ae'gilops: from the ancient Greek name aegilops for a kind of long-awned or bearded grass and used by Theophrastus for a kind of oat. The genus Aegilops was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • aegyp'tium: presumably Egyptian.
  • ae'mulus: imitating.
  • aene'us: possessing a more or less bronze or coppery color.
  • aeo'lica: from the Greek aiolos, "shifting, flexible, changeable, variegated," from Aiolos, God of the Winds, and referring to the fact that this taxon is anemophilous or wind-pollinated.
  • Aeo'nium: a Latin name for one species of this family of succulents given by Dioscorides. The genus Aeonium was published by Philip Barker Webb and Sabin Berthelot in 1840.
  • aequa'le/aequa'lis: equal.
  • aequi-: a prefix generally indicating the characteristic of being equal in some regard.
  • aequifo'lius: with equal leaves.
  • aequila'terus: equal-sided.
  • aequinoctia'lis: belonging to the equinoctial zone; from the equatorial regions.
  • aer'ius: aerial, above the ground.
  • Aeschyno'mene: from the ancient Greek name for a sensitive plant used by Pliny, aischynomene, derived from aischyno, "shame," and from the Latin aeschynomene for a plant which shrinks when touched, a sensitive plant (CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names). The genus Aeschynomene was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • Aes'culus: the Latin name for a kind of oak bearing edible acorns but first applied by Linnaeus to Aeculus hippocastanum, the European horse-chestnut, in the Sapindaceae. The genus Aesculus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • aestiva'lis: of the summer, often flowering then, pertaining to summer. Compare hiemalis, "pertaining to winter," vernalis, "pertaining to spring," and autumnalis, "pertaining to autumn."
  • aes'tivum: flowering, ripening or developing in summer.
  • aethio'pica: of or from Ethiopia, or possibly from a larger region of Africa.
  • aethio'pis: Pliny the Elder's The Natural History (edited by John Bostock) at the Online Books Page contains the following: "Aethiopis generally identified with the Salvia argentea of Linnæus, Silver sage, or else with the Salvia Æthiopis, Woolly sage) is a plant with leaves resembling those of phlomos, large, numerous, hairy, and springing from the root. The stem is square, rough, similar to that of arction in appearance, and with numerous axillary concavities. The seed resembles that of the fitch, being white and twofold; the roots are several in number, long, fleshy, soft, and of a viscous taste; when dry they turn black and hard, and might easily be taken for horns. In addition to Æthiopia, this plant grows upon Mount Ida in Troas, and in Messenia. The roots are gathered in autumn, and left to dry for some days in the sun, to prevent them from turning mouldy. Taken in white wine they are curative of affections of the uterus, and a decoction of them is administered for sciatica, pleurisy, and eruptions of the throat. The kind, however, which comes from Æthiopia, is by far the best, and gives instantaneous relief."
  • aetnen'sis: named for Mt. Etna, the volcanic mountain of Sicily, this taxon is called Mt. Etna broom.
  • -aeum/-aeus: a Greek adjectival suffix indicating "belonging to or from" (e.g. europaeus, "of or from Europe").
  • affin'e/affin'is: bordering on or related or similar to.
  • africa'na: of or from Africa.
  • agardhia'nus: named for Swedish botanist, phycologist and taxonomist Jacob Georg Agardh (1813-1901), son of botany
      professor Carl Adolph Agardh. Jacob was the author of "Synopsis Generis Lupini" as well as a number of other works. He was also a professor of botany at the University of Lund 1854-1879 and published works on marine algae, the main one being "Species, genera et ordines algarum." He was the principle architect of the botanical garden at Lund University. He was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and quite a few other learned societies. He followed in the footsteps of his father by being a member of the Swedish parliament 1867-1872. He carried on a
    correspondence with botanist John Torrey, and was very interested in and involved with banking and economic issues.
  • agassizen'sis: according to the publication of Poa agassizensis by Joseph Robert Bernard Boivin and Doris Benta Maria
      Löve, "The species is the predominant prairie grass between Red River and the Manitoba escarpment. These level lowlands were formed on the bottom of the periglacial Lake Agassiz, hence we have given our taxon the name Poa agassizensis." Lake Agassiz in turn was "named by Warren Upham in 1879 after Louis Agassiz, when Upham recognized that the lake was formed by glacial action." (Wikipedia) Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) was the great Swiss-born geologist who became a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard and founded the science of glaciology. The school he
    established where the science of zoology could be pursued amid the living subjects of its study was called the John Anderson School after a wealthy philanthropist who donated to Agassiz an island off the coast of Massachusetts. It became defunct after his death but is considered the forerunner of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Observatory. According to Wikipedia, Agassiz "is remembered today for his theories on ice ages, and for his resistance to Charles Darwin's theories on evolution, which he kept up his entire life... After [he] came to the United States he wrote prolifically on polygenism, the idea that races were created separately, that they could be classified on the basis of specific climatic zones, and that they were endowed with unequal attributes, ideas now included under the rubric of scientific racism."
  • Agasta'che: from agan, "very much," and stachys, "an ear of corn or wheat," thus having many spikes. The genus Agastache was published in 1762 by John Clayton.
  • Aga've: from the Greek agauos, "admirable, noble," in reference to the admirable appearance of the century plant. The genus Agave was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Agerati'na: diminutive of Ageratum, which is from the Greek ageratos or ageraton and means "not growing old" in allusion to the flowers which retain their color for a long time. The genus Ageratina was published in 1841 by Édouard Spach.
  • aggrega'ta: "flocking together," or growing in groups, clustered.
  • agnici'dus: sheep-killing, presumably from the root agnus, "lamb," with the same ending as in regicide ("the killing of a king"). From David Hollombe: "Astragalus agnicidus was at first thought to be responsible for poisoning sheep on A. Henry Tosten's ranch in Humboldt County. (It has been found to be harmless to cattle and there is doubt whether it was actually responsible for the sheep death).
  • agni'num: I can't say for sure what the derivation of this epithet is. I had originally thought it was from the Latin agninus, "of a lamb, fleecy," but since Greene's description describes the stem and branches as being glabrous, this seems questionable. David Hollombe proposed two possibilities. One is that in the original description of Eriogonum agninum, Greene mentions that this plant is common on the north slope of the Santa Inez (Ynez) Mountains and Inez is the Spanish translation of the name Agnes. The other possibility is that he was comparing agninum to E. vimineum and found it to be woolier. He does refer to both surfaces of the leaves as 'hoary-tomentose.'
  • ag'nus-ca'stus: this taxon is commonly called chaste tree. The following is quoted from Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages: "Chaste tree carries several 'sacred' names, which more or less directly refer to its reputation as an anaphrodisiac. In ancient Greece, the tree was called agnos, which apparently the early Christians confused both with a similar Greek term hagnos, 'chaste,' and with Latin agnus, 'lamb,' the Christian symbol of purity. Under the name agnus castus, 'chaste lamb,' the plants were often used among Christian monks as a help against the evils of the more fleshy desires, of which there were many." Castus is Latin for "pure."
  • -ago: a Latin substantival suffix used to indicate a resemblance or property (e.g. plumbago, "a kind of lead, a plant called leadwort," from plumbum, "lead").
  • Agos'eris: the Greek name for goat chicory. The genus Agoseris was published in 1817 by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque.
  • agouren'sis: of or from the area of Agoura, California.
  • agres'tis: growing in the fields.
  • agrifo'lia: according to William Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names, agrifolia means "with rough or scabby leaves." David Gledhill says the root words agri and agro mean “grassy, grass-like, field, meadow,” derived from ager, “field.” However, Roderick Cameron, president of the International Oak Society, has brought to my attention the following from Wikipedia. When he named  the species, Née in Anales de Ciensias naturales, volume 3 (1801), compared it to a species illustrated in Leonard Plukenet’s Phytographia under the descriptive name "Ilex folio agrifolii americana, forte agria, vel aquifolia glandifera" (American holly leaf, maybe agria, or aquifolia glandifera) which Plukenet had compared, in his Almagestum botanicum, to Luigi Anguillara’s Agrifolia glandifera, the noun 'Agrifolia' being a Medieval Latin form of 'Aquifolium' meaning a holly or holly-leaved oak, and related to the modern Italian word 'Agrifoglio,' meaning 'holly.' There does not appear to be any connection to the Latin word for field, so the derivation would be agrifolia derived from aquifolium, and ultimately from acer, “sharp,” and folia, “leaf.” Since the author of the taxon, Luis Née, has been dead for over 200 years, it is difficult to say exactly what was in his mind when he named it, but there is however evidence of a link between agrifolia and aquifolia. In the 1700s the names Agrifolium and Aquifolium were apparently used interchangeably for a holly plant, possibly what eventually received the name Ilex aquifolia. The only other genus I can find which uses the specific epithet agrifolia is an Australian member of the Myrtaceae Grevillea agrifolia, which has holly-like leaves as well. There was also originally a genus Agrifolium in the Aquifoliaceae, the holly family, which has now become genus Ilex, that reinforces the link between the two names.
  • Agrimo'nia: both the Jepson Manual and Munz's Flora of Southern California posit that this name is derived from the Greek argema, an eye-disease, because of its supposed medicinal value. Another possibility is that it is a misrendering of some other epithet, perhaps argemone, an old name used by Dioscorides and Pliny for the poppy, or argemonion, a name Dioscorides applied to the Anenome. These two derivations could actually relate to the same thing because argemone is supposedly a word given by the Greeks to plants which were healing to the eyes. Umberto Quattrocchi also suggests the less likely explanation that it could be from the Greek agros, "field or open land," and monos, "alone, lonely." But Flora of North America says "from Greek Argemone from argemos, cataract of the eye, alluding to the supposed curative properties of the plant for eye disease." And another source says that the Greek word argemone means "that which heals the eye." Pliny the Elder referred to Agrimony as "an herb of princely authorite" and the Ancient Romans used it to treat everything from eye ailments to disorders of the liver and kidneys. The genus Agrimonia was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Agropy'ron: from the Greek agros, "a field, country," and pyron, "grain, wheat." The genus Agropyron was published in 1770 by Joseph Gaertner.
  • Agrostem'ma: from the Greek agros, "field," and stemma, "crown or garland." The genus Agrostemma was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus and is called corncockle.
  • Agros'tis: the Latin and Greek names for a type of grass, from Greek agron or agros, "field or pasture," undoubtedly a root word for "agriculture," referring to its habitat. The genus Agrostis was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • ahar'tii: named for Lowell William Ahart (1938- ), a collector of plants in Nevada and California, Sacramento Valley sheep rancher, and co-author with Vernon Oswald of Manual of the Vascular Plants of Butte County, California. He was the recipient of the 1997 Distinguished Service Award given by the Friends of the Biological Sciences Herbarium at California State University, Chico. Two taxa new to science were found on his ranch.
  • Ailan'thus: from a Moluccan name ailanto meaning "sky tree." The genus Ailanthus was published in 1788 by René Louiche Desfontaines.
  • airo'ides: like genus Aira.
  • aja'cis: named for Ajax, the Greek hero who committed suicide at the siege of Troy during a fit of pique because the armor of Achilles was awarded to Odysseus. Supposedly a non-California species named Delphinium ajacis received the name because certain markings on the flower appeared like the Greek letters of Ajax's name.
  • ajugo'ides: like genus Ajuga, from the Greek a, "not, without," and the Latin jugum, "yoke," referring possibly to the undivided calyx.
  • Air'a: Umberto Quattrocchi says "From the ancient Greek name applied to another plant, possibly Lolium temulentum; Latin aera for a weed among grain, darnel, tare or cockle." The genus Aira was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • alainae: named for Alaina Tatiana Reiser (1982- ).
  • alaman'ii: named for Lucas Ignacio Alamán y Escalada (1792-1853), Mexican scientist, conservative politician,
      historian, and writer. He was born in Guanajuato. Wikipedia says: “He has been called the "arch-reactionary of the epoch...who sought to create a strong central government based on a close alliance of the army, the Church and the landed classes." Alamán was "undoubtedly the major political and intellectual figure of independent Mexico until his death in 1853...the guiding force of several administrations and an active promoter of economic development.” His father immigrated from Navarre, Spain. He studied at the Real Colegio de Minas de la Nueva España, in the Viceroyalty of
    New Spain (colonial México). He frequently traveled on his credentials as a scientist and diplomat, becoming one of the most educated men in Mexico. In 1821 he was a deputy in the Spanish national parliament for the province of Nueva Galicia in New Spain but returned to Mexico when it gained its independence that same year. He co-founded the Mexican Conservative party and was deeply involved in Mexican politics throughout the 1820s and 1830s. He created the first national bank in Mexico in 1830. He thought that the independence of Texas from Mexico in 1836 was a disaster and after that he largely retired from politics. He was however the head of the Directorate for the Promotion of Industry from 1839 until his death. The border he negotiated between Mexico and the United States was a fixed one up until the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848. The latter part of his life was occupied mainly with his writing of the history of Mexico, and he produced the three-volume Disertaciones sobre la Historia de la Republica mexicana (Mexico, 1844–1849) and the five-volume Historia de México, desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año de 1808, hasta la época presente (Mexico, 1849–1852) which viewed the Spanish presence in Mexico favorably. He created the Natural History Museum in Mexico City and the General National Archive, and in 1849 was president of the Mexico City city council. He was in correspondence with Santa Anna and helped to facilitate his return to power. Santa Anna appointed him Minister of Foreign Relations and he served in that capacity until his death in Mexico City from pneumonia.
  • Alarcon'ia: named for Spanish explorer and navigator Hernando de Alarcón (1500?-1541?), not to be confused with the
      Spanish soldier Hernando de Alarcón (1466-1640). Little is known about his life, but he was probably born in Trujillo in present-day Extremadura, Spain, and although his death date is not known for certain, he was alive at least as recently as 1541, when he returned from his expedition to the coast of California. He began his expedition in 1540 and was ordered by Viceroy Don Antonio da Mendoça to reach a point on the coast where he was to await the arrival of Francisco Vasquéz de Coronado's overland expedition. Coronado’s goal had been to locate the Seven Cities of Cibola. In
    1539 the Franciscan friar Friar Marcos de Niza had reported to Spanish officials that he had seen a city of fantastic wealth. Although Alarcón reached his appointed destination, Coronado never found this legendary place, and his rendezvous with Alarcón never took place, but he made maps with accurately detailed representations of the Gulf of California and the lower course of the Colorado River. He made two trips up the Colorado River, one extending past the site of what is today Yuma, Arizona. He established that Baja California was a peninsula and not an island as was previously thought. Most websites do not give a date of death for Alarcón, but several do indicate that he died on his return from the expedition in 1541. The book A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Seas Or Pacific Ocean published in 1803 by James Burney states: “The Viceroy was so much dissatisfied with the conduct of this expedition, that Alarcón, who had before been high in his favour, retired to one of the estates of the Marquis del Valle, where he shortly after died.” The genus Alarconia was published in 1836 by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. (Photo credit: Glogster)
  • ala'ta: with appendaged wings or flanges, usually the stems or leaf petioles.
  • alat'ernus: I have no definitive understanding of the meaning or derivation of this name. A number of different sources have proposed various ideas. This taxon has been described in the Jepson eFlora as a waif which originated in the Mediterranean region and has been referred to as Italian buckthorn, evergreen buckthorn or Mediterranean buckthorn. Rhamnus alaternus is apparently the only taxon that bears this specific epithet, although there is a genus Alaternus which was published by Philip Miller in 1754. Clues to its roots include the following: Ala or plural alae is a diminutive for alula, “a wing,” and appears in specific epithets such as alata or alatus. -Tern or -ternus are suffixes which relate to the Latin terni, “three.” So one possibility would be three-winged, of unknown application. The fruit is three-stoned, so that’s also in play. Gledhill’s The Names of Plants says “alaternus: an old generic name for a buckthorn (= Rhamnus), resembling buckthorn's fissured bark." Wikipedia says: “The specific Latin name alaternus, assonant with "alternus" or “alternate”, refers to the alternate leaves.” A page on the International Plant Names Index says: “The epithet alaternus is a pre-Linnaean generic name (“Alaternus” of Clusius) and is a noun used in apposition, not an adjective; it is not to be corrected to “alaterna.” This implies that the name goes back at least as far as Carolus Clusius (1526-1609), an Artois doctor and pioneering botanist, perhaps the most influential of all 16th-century scientific horticulturists.
  • al'ba/al'bum/al'bus: white.
  • al'bens: white.
  • albertia'na: named for Albert von Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861). He was born Albert Francis Charles Augustus
      Emmanuel of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Schloss Rosenau, Bavaria, and became HRH Prince Albert upon his marriage to his first cousin, Queen Victoria, in 1840 at the age of 20. He was educated privately at home and then studied in Brussels. He attended the University of Bonn in Germany where he studied law, political economy, philosophy and the history of art. He was not popular in England at first, and it was seventeen years after his marriage that he was finally granted the title of prince consort of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Having no real power of his town, he became the
    Queen’s private secretary and adviser, and she tended to listen to his advice, which was usually level-headed and sage. Throughout the years of his happy marriage, he wielded his influence with grace, discretion and intelligence, and the couple had nine children, all of whom survived to adulthood, and 42 grandchildren. It was Albert who encouraged Victoria to take a greater interest in social welfare issues, including child labor, and suggested she favor a stance of political neutrality. In 1840 he and his pregnant wife were the targets of an assassin but thankfully were not hurt, and later that year Albert was designated by parliament as regent in the event of Victoria's death before their child reached the age of majority. The Prime Minister appointed Albert chairman of the Royal Commission in charge of redecorating the new Palace of Westminster to replace the palace which had burned down seven years before, and was being rebuilt. In 1842 the Queen and Prince Albert were shot at again, but again were unhurt. In addition to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight which Albert was able to purchase as a private family residence, he managed and improved other royal estates. He had access to all the Queen's papers, drafted her correspondence, and was present when she met her ministers, or even saw them alone in her absence. The clerk of the Privy Council, Charles Greville, wrote of him: "He is King to all intents and purposes." In 1847 he was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He led reforms in university education, welfare, the royal finances and slavery, and he had a special interest in applying science and art to the manufacturing industry. He spearheaded the Great Exhibition of 1851, a World's Fair event celebrating British industrial advancement and culture, which was attended by such luminaries as Charles Darwin, Charlotte Bronte and Lewis Carroll. In 1859 he came close to being killed when he had to leap from a runaway carriage. His last months were marred by the so-called Trent Affair with the United States, the deaths of two of his young cousins from typhus, the death of the Queen Mother, the Duchess of Kent, and the marital indiscretions of his son, the Prince of Wales. On Dec. 9, 1861, at the age of 42, he fell ill and died five days later at Windsor Castle. The contemporary diagnosis was typhoid fever, but modern writers have pointed out that Albert's ongoing stomach pain, leaving him ill for at least two years before his death, may indicate that a chronic disease, such as Crohn's disease, renal failure, or abdominal cancer, was the cause of death. Queen Victoria was so distraught at Albert's passing that she wore black in mourning for the rest of her life, which lasted 40 more years. She erected numerous monuments to Albert's legacy, and a re-examination of Albert's life let the public finally view him as the respectable and honorable figure he always was. He was president of the Society for the Extinction of Slavery, the Society for the Improvement of the Condition of the Labouring Classes, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Numerous places and objects were named for him following his death, and a great many British and foreign honors were heaped on him.
  • alberti'na: presumably of or from Alberta. This taxon extends to Alaska and northern Canada, and among its common names are Alberta draba and Alberta whitlow-grass, the latter of which seems odd since it isn't a grass, but there you are.
  • albes'cens: becoming white.
  • albi-, albo-: a prefix indicating the characteristic of being white-colored.
  • al'bicans: whitish.
  • albicau'lis: white-stemmed.
  • al'bida/al'bidum/al'bidus: white.
  • albiflor'um/albiflor'us: white-flowered.
  • albifo'lius: white-leaved.
  • al'bifrons: from Latin albus, "white," and frons, which can either have the meaning of a leaf or frond, or of forehead, brow or front. For Anser albifrons, the white-fronted goose, and other non-floral examples, it refers to the forehead, but its meaning in botany is "white-leaved."
  • Albiz'ia: sometimes spelled Albizzia, and named for Filippo del Albizzi, 18th century Florentine nobleman and naturalist who introduced the plant Albizia julibrissin into cultivation in 1749. The Albizzi family was a Florentine family originally based in Arezzo, who were rivals of the Medici and Alberti families. The genus Albizia was published in 1772 by Antonio Durazzini.
  • albomacula'ta: white-spotted.
  • albomargina'ta/albomargina'tus: white-margined.
  • alboni'gra: black and white.
  • albopilo'sus: white-haired.
  • albopurpur'eum: from the root words for white and purple, in reference to the color of the flower.
  • al'bula: whitish.
  • al'bus: diminutive of albulus, "white."
  • Al'cea: from the Greek alkea or alkaia and the Latin alcea, "a kind of mallow." The genus Alcea was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Alchemil'la: takes its Latin name from some plant valued for its use in alchemy, and is a diminutive of alchemia, “alchemy," from a belief in the power of the drops that are distinctively formed on the leaves of the plant. With the common name of lady's mantle or alchémille, FNA says "Arabic name alkemelyeh, perhaps alluding to alchemists' interest in reputed marvelous powers of its dew." The genus Alchemilla was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Alda'ma: named for Ignacio Aldama y Gonzales (1769-1811), Mexican insurgent and law student who devoted himself
      to agriculture and trade, and later with his brother Juan became involved in a Mexican independence movement in 1810. He joined the movement that ultimately became the Mexican War of Independence and assumed the municipal and military leadership of San Miguel el Grande. As Mayor of San Miguel el Grande (now San Miguel de Allende where he was born), he recognized Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla as the leader of the insurgent movement. As field marshal of the troops led by Hidalgo y Costilla, for whom he had been a legal and political advisor, he was unable to
    prevail and their forces were defeated by the royalist army of the Spanish marshal Félix Calleja. He was later appointed a representative to the United States for the purpose of gaining their support, and was attempting to travel there to secure weapons when he was arrested by royalist forces, tried and executed by firing squad. The genus Aldama was published in 1824 by Pablo de La Llave.
  • alderson'ii: named for Rufus Davis Alderson (1858-1932), He was born in Alderson, Virginia (now West Virginia). He
      taught for three years in West Virginia, then attended the National Normal School in Lebanon, Ohio, receiving a B.S. degree in 1882 after studying botany, zoology, natural philosophy, physiology, herbarium and astronomy. He taught for two more years and then was the proprietor and editor of the Alderson Statesman. He was also a member of the state legislature. In 1887 he moved to San Diego where he worked for a while in a print shop, and then from 1889 to 1897 taught at a number of schools. In 1897 he was listed as living in Del Mar, but being in somewhat frail health he moved
    back to West Virginia where he took up cattle breeding and dairy farming. His daughter remembers him as a man with an inquisitive mind and broad interests. He collected plants in San Diego County from 1891 to 1896 and corresponded with E.L. Greene at the University of California. He also sent Greene a large shipment of collected specimens for identification. He had plants identified by Samuel Parish and was acquainted with T.S. Brandegee. Altogether he probably collected in excess of 12,000 specimens from the area near where he lived, and also from the Cuyamaca Mountains and from the Colorado Desert. (Photo credit: Madrono, Vol. 16, No. 7, July, 1962)
  • alefeld'ii: named for Friedrich Christoph Wilhelm Alefeld (1820-1872), a German botanist, physician and horticulturist
      who concentrated mainly on the Leguminosae and the Malvaceae. He studied medicine and the natural sciences in Giessen and Heidelberg and earned his doctorate in 1843. His interest in botany was triggered by the director of the Heidelberg Botanical Garden, Johann Metzger. He settled down and worked as a general practitioner for some 25 years, during which time he also focused his attention on zoology and beekeeping among other things. He did considerable work on German crops and wrote theses on herbal baths, medicinal herbs and the usefulness of cultivated plants.
    His main work was the "Agricultural Flora" published in 1866 which contained a comprehensive review of all the herbaceous plants cultivated in central Europe. He was a precise observer of the natural world, he utilized herbarium specimens from many herbaria both local and foreign, and he extensively studied existing literature on the subjects he was interested in. If he had a weakness, it was his tendency to create new genera without sufficient justification. He died of pneumonia at the age of 51.
  • alep'picum: of or from Aleppo, in northwestern Syria near the Mediterranean Sea.
  • aleu'ticum: of or from the area of the Aleutian Islands off the Alaskan coast.
  • alexan'derae/alexan'drae: named for Annie Montague Alexander (1867-1950), intrepid explorer, amateur naturalist,
      skilled markswoman, philanthropist, farmer, and founder and patron of two natural history museums at the University of California, Berkeley, a pioneer who helped shape the world of science in California. Alexander's father founded a Hawaiian sugar empire, and his great wealth afforded his adventurous daughter the opportunity to pursue her many interests. She was a complex, intelligent, woman who. despite her frail appearance, was determined to achieve something with her life. Along with Louise Kellogg, her partner of forty years, Alexander collected thousands of animal, plant, and
    fossil specimens throughout western North America. Their collections serve as an invaluable record of the flora and fauna that were beginning to disappear as the West succumbed to spiraling population growth, urbanization, and agricultural development. Today at least seventeen taxa are named for Alexander, and several others honor Kellogg, who continued to make field trips after Alexander's death. Alexander's dealings with scientists and her encouragement and funding of women to do field research earned her much admiration, even from those with whom she clashed. Her legacy endures in the fields of zoology and paleontology and also in the lives of women who seek to follow their own star to the fullest degree possible. (Excerpted from a description of the book On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West by Barbara R. Stein, published 2001 by the University of California Press). Annie's father deserves much of the credit for the arc of her life because he (and she) was not limited by gender expectations, and believed that her curiosity should be encouraged and developed to the fullest extent possible. In addition to sharing adventures on mountains and in deserts, he taught her about finance and business. In 1901 she began auditing classes in paleontology at the University of California in Berkeley, and was soon accompanying and financing paleontological expeditions. Even into her seventies she proved to be one of the most resilient and resourceful members of any outing she participated in. In 1904 she was in Africa where at Victoria Falls her father was crushed and killed by a landslide in front of her. She was responsible for creating the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley, a scientific institution which would become a national leader in vertebrate biology. She subsequently created a Museum of Paleontology to match the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and personally organized and led several expeditions to stock its store rooms. It was in her seventies that her focus turned to botany. She and her life partner Louise Kellogg collected thousands of specimens for the University Herbarium at Berkeley. Earlier in her life reading and other close work gave her massive migraines, and it was recommended that some of the muscles to her eyeballs be cut, a procedure which was carried out with little effect, and it was this limitation that prevented her from graduating from college. Nevertheless she became one of the most consequential figures in the history of paleontology and evolutionary biology. A stroke and a long coma finally ended the life of a woman who was truly a giant in her field.
  • al'gida/al'gidus: cold, originating in high mountains, from Latin algeo, "to be cold."
  • Alha'gi: Various etymologies have been recorded for this epithet. Wikipedia says from the Arabic word for "pilgrim," but Merriam-Webster claims from the Arabic al-haj or al-haja for "camel-thorn." Gledhill says it is the Mauritanian vernacular name for Alhagi maurorum. The genus Alhagi was published in 1755 by Abraham Gagnebin.
  • al'iceae: named for Alice Eastwood (1859-1953), self taught botanist and botanical curator for the California Academy
      of Sciences, indisputably one of the most significant figures in California botany who in a damaged and burning building after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake saved 1,500 priceless type specimens representing 53 years of collecting. During this time she neglected the safety of her own home which burned to the ground. She was born in Toronto, Canada, her mother died when she was six, and her father separated himself from the family. After a period of time when she and her sister were placed in a Toronto convent, her father reappeared and she moved with him to Denver, Colorado, and in
    1879 graduated valedictorian from East Denver High School, following which she taught there for ten years. Her interest in flowers had been initiated first by her country doctor uncle who was an experimental horticulturist, and she later became a respected collector in Colorado where more than a dozen native plants bear her name. Having foregone a college education she relied on published botany manuals and became so adept at identifying plant species that she was asked to guide the famous English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace up the summit of Grays Peak in Denver. In the early years of her career Eastwood made numerous collecting expeditions in Colorado and the Four Corners region by train, buckboard stage, horseback, and on foot. She became so well known locally that the railroad builder David Moffat issued her a free rail pass, and Alice reciprocated his generous support by naming a plant she had discovered, Penstemon moffatii, in his honor. She also explored the coastal ranges of the Big Sur region, which at the end of the 19th century were essentially a frontier.  She joined Katherine Brandegee in 1892 as joint curator of botany for the California Academy of Sciences, succeeding her in 1894, and remained in that post for fifty-five years until she retired at the age of 90. After the earthquake, Eastwood studied in herbaria in Europe and other US regions, including the Gray Herbarium, the New York Botanical Garden, the National Museum of Natural History of Paris, the British Museum, and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. She undertook numerous collecting trips in the Western United States, including to Alaska, Arizona, Utah and Idaho. In the 1930s and 1940s she spent a great deal of time collecting with her assistant John Thomas Howell, himself a recognized botanist who succeeded her as curator.  She was honored by Townsend Brandegee who named a new genus after her, Eastwoodia, after she came upon a new sunflower on one of her trips. She published over 310 scientific articles and authored 395 land plant species names. There are seventeen currently recognized species named for her, as well as the genera Eastwoodia and Aliciella. She served as editor of the biological journal Zoe and as an assistant editor for Erythea before the 1906 earthquake, and with Howell founded a journal, Leaflets of Western Botany (1932–1966). Eastwood was director of the San Francisco Botanical Club for several years throughout the 1890s. In 1929, she helped to form the American Fuchsia Society. She was also an ardent conservationist and fought to preserve and protect Muir Woods National Monument and Mt. Tamalpais State Park as well as other red wood groves. She died in San Francisco. This epithet is on all of the taxa except the one listed next.
  • alic'iae: named for Dr. Alice Rasse (fl. 1909). The PlantZAfrica website includes this: "The species was first named and published in the Journal de Botanique in 1905 by [the French botanist and physician] Raymond-Hamet (1890-1972) who was only 15 years old at the time. He named Drosera aliciae in honour of Dr. Alice Rasse who encouraged him to study the sundew family." (Drosera aliciae)
  • Aliciel'la: named for Alice Eastwood (see aliceae). The genus Aliciella was published in 1905 by August Brand.
  • a'lipes: ali is a Latin word one of whose meanings is "a wing," and the ending pes refers to the stalk (see brevipes, planipes), so possibly something like "winged stalk" (?).
  • aliquan'ta: from the Latin meaning "somewhat," "moderate, of some size," or "a certain amount, number," probably indicating an intermediate size.
  • -alis: Latin adjectival suffix meaning belonging to or pertaining to something (e.g. dorsalis, "dorsal" from dorsum, "back"; autumnalis, "pertaining to autumn, autumnal" from autumnus, "autumn"; occidentalis, "having to do with the West" from occidens, "west"), takes the form -aris after stems which end in 'l' as in stellaris, fascicularis and avicularis.
  • Alis'ma: a Greek name some say from Celtic for a water plant and alluding to the habitat in which it grows. Wikipedia notes that "Copóg Phádraig ("Patrick's leaf") is the Irish name for the water-plantain. It is reputed to ward off fairies." The genus Alisma was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • alismaefo'lium: with leaves like Alisma.
  • alismel'lus: I am uncertain of the meaning of this name except that it seems to be related to the same root word as in the name Alisma for a water plant. The Latin suffix -ellus means "small," so this probably means a small Alisma.
  • alismifo'lius: see alismaefolium above.
  • allenii: named for Robert Lee ('Bob' or 'Bugbob') Allen (1959- ), American botanist, entomologist, photographer, author
      and university professor from Orange County. He got his B.S. in Environmental and Systematic Biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1982 and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Cal State Fullerton in 2006. He taught entomology and biological illustration at CSUF and has since taught nature photography, entomology, botany and pollination. He has been a Research Associate at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and a Research Associate in Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He has taught classes at the Fullerton Arboretum, Santa Ana
    College and Rancho Santa Ana. He is the co-author along with Fred Roberts of Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains. With his deep knowledge of both plants and insects, he excels in understanding and explaining how and by what plants are pollinated.
  • Allenrol'fea: named for Robert Allen Rolfe (1855-1921), an English botanist and the first taxonomist of orchids for the
      Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and first curator of the Orchid Herbarium. He was born at Ruddington near Nottingham and worked at the Duke of Portland’s gardens at Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire before taking up his gardening work at Kew. It’s not clear at what point he became deaf but he established the first orchid publication called The Orchid Review in 1893 and began keeping careful records of the hybridizing of species of orchids, co-authoring the first catalog of orchid hybrids. He published hundreds of new Orchid species in the Kew Bulletin and elsewhere,
    wrote numerous monographs and species descriptions for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, and also penned articles about Rosa and Rubus. He considered his deafness to be not a handicap. In fact he thought it made him able to concentrate more fully, however it did interfere with any possible promotions he ought to have had. He had never travelled, and it was on the eve of his first trip abroad to Central and South America at the age of 65, that he was struck with the cerebral tumor that killed him within a fairly short span of time. He apparently went by the name R. Allen Rolfe, and the German botanist Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze who named the genus in his honor in 1891 used the name Allen Rolfe in his dedication, which may explain why it is called Allenrolfea and not Robertrolfea or Robertallenrolfea.
  • Allio'nia: named for Carlo Ludovico Allioni (1728-1804), professor of botany at Turin, naturalist, physician,
      entomologist, contemporary and friend of Linnaeus, and exponent of the natural classification of plants. He graduated in medicine in Turin in 1747 and was admitted to the College of Doctors, obtaining a position as proto-doctor to King Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy. After becoming a physician in 1747, like so many other would-be doctors, his interest soon shifted to the world of the natural sciences and to botany and plant species in particular. At the age of twenty-seven he published Rariorum Pedemontii stirpium, the result of his first systematic studies of the vegetation of
    the Piedmontese Savoyard territory, and it was this early work on the rare species of the Piedmont region that brought him to the attention of Carl Linnaeus. In 1760 he was appointed a professor of botany at the University of Turin and embraced the binomial nomenclature system which caused him to be referred to as the Piedmontese Linnaeus. In 1763 he became a full professor and took over management of the botanical garden of Turin, becoming director of the Museum of Natural History and of the Botanical Garden, and under his leadership the number of species held by the garden rose from 317 to 4,500. His most important work was the Flora Pedemontana in which he described the medicinal virtues of 2,831 plant species from the Piedmont area, of which 237 were new species. This work was one of the most important floristic treatments in Europe and brought him international attention. He also contributed many writings on medical and entomological subjects, and was a member of many well-known and respected European academies including the nascent Academy of Sciences of Turin. His interests were broader than botany, and during his lifetime he turned his attention as well to other fields of the natural sciences, taking an interest in zoology, geology and the study of fossils. He assembled a collection of over 6,000 samples of minerals, rocks, fossils and zoological preparations and an entomological collection consisting of about 4,200 insects, much of which material was lost following his death. His herbarium was a testament to his botanical studies and consisted  of about 11,000 specimens. He died in Turin in 1804. Linnaeus published the genus name Allionia in his honor in 1759.
  • Al'lium: Latin for "garlic." Carl Linnaeus first described the genus Allium in 1753. Some sources refer to the Greek ἀλέω (aleo, "to avoid") by reason of the smell of garlic.
  • allochro'us: of different color (purple petals, contrasted to whitish to pale yellow in A. douglasii).
  • Allophyl'lum: from the Greek allos, "diverse," and phyllum, "leaves." The genus Allophyllum was published in 1955 by Alva Day Grant and Verne Edwin Grant.
  • Allotro'pa: from the Greek allos, "different or other," and trope, "a turning." The genus Allotropa was published in 1858 by John Torrey and Asa Gray.
  • al'ma: nourishing, bountiful.
  • Almutas'ter: named for American botanist and plant systematist Almut Gitter Jones (Mrs. George Neville Jones) (1923-2013). She received a B.S. degree with high honors in agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1958, completed her M.S. degree in botany with a minor in agronomy from UI in 1960, and in 1973 received her Ph.D. from the Botany Department at UI specializing in plant taxonomy with a minor in agronomy. During her career, she held various positions in plant biology, and was curator of the UI herbarium until her retirement. Her field of research centered on the plant genus Aster and she published many papers about the systematics of this large, complicated group of species, being recognized nationally and internationally as an authority. The genus Almutaster was published in 1982 by Áskell Löve and Doris Benta Maria Löve.
  • alnifo'lia: with leaves like genus Alnus.
  • Al'nus/al'nus: the classical Latin name for the alder. The oldest fossil pollen that can be identified as Alnus is from northern Bohemia, dating to the late Paleocene, around 58 million years ago. The species Frangula alnus commonly known as alder buckthorn, glossy buckthorn, or breaking buckthorn is native to Europe but is also introduced and naturalised in eastern North America. The genus Alnus was published by Philip Miller in 1754.
  • A'loe: an ancient Greek name. The genus Aloe was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • alo'ides: aloe-like.
  • alopecuro'ides: like genus Alopecurus.
  • alopecu'ros: see following entry.
  • Alopecur'us: from the Greek alopekouros, meaning a grass like a fox's tail, in turn from alopex, "fox," and oura, "a tail," from the paniculate form of the spike. The genus Alopecurus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Aloy'sia: named for Queen Maria Luisa Teresa (1751-1819), Princess of Parma and wife of King Carlos IV of Spain
      (Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno José Januario Serafín Diego (Bourbon) de España). She was the daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, and mother of King Ferdinand VII. She was engaged to be married at the age of 13 and married her cousin Carl, the crown prince, in 1765, rising to the throne in 1788. Charles IV's cousin Louis XVI was beheaded by French revolutionaries in 1793 and war fever gripped Spain. Queen Maria supported the alliance with Napoleon, and in 1800 Spain signed an agreement which returned Louisiana to France. Royal plotting by Ferdinand
    caused factional chaos in Spain and Napoleon forced the abdication of both Carl IV and his queen who went into exile in France and never returned to Spain. Maria Luisa and her husband eventually died in Rome. When French forces invaded the country, much of the blame for the abdication fell on Maria Luisa. The genus Aloysia was published in 1784 by Spanish botanist Antonio Paláu y Verdera and is a Latinized form of the name Louisa/Luisa.
  • alpes'tre/alpes'tris: of the lower mountains, with the implication of coming from below the timberline, though not necessarily.
  • alpico'la: dwelling in high mountains, preferring the habitat of alpine regions.
  • alpig'ena/alpig'enum/alpig'enus: alpine.
  • alpi'na/alpi'num/alpi'nus: of an alpine origin or habit, of high, snow-capped mountains, from Latin alpes, "The Alps."
  • alsino'ides: like genus Alsine, a Greek and Latin name given to some plant possibly a chickweed.
  • alter'nans: alternating.
  • Alternanther'a/Alternan'thera: from the Latin alternus, "alternate," and anthera, "anthers," referring to the alternating stamens and staminodia. The genus Alternanthera was published by Pehr Forsskål in 1775.
  • alterniflor'a: alternate-flowered, with flowers on either side of a stem and not opposite to each other.
  • alternifo'lius: alternate-leaved.
  • Althae'a: from the Greek althaino, "to cure," from the use of some species as medicines. The genus Althaea was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • althaeifo'lia: with leaves like Althaea.
  • althaeo'ides: like the hollyhock, genus Althaea, from the Greek althaia "a cure, something that heals."
  • alti-: a prefix indicating the characteristic of being tall.
  • altico'la: dwelling in high places.
  • altis'sima/altis'simum/altis'simus: very tall, tallest.
  • al'tus: tall.
  • alverson'ii: named for Andrew Halstead Alverson (1845-1916). There is some conflicting information about the birth
      tplace of this individual. Some say Connecticut, some say Wisconsin and some England. David Hollombe sent me these comments: "There was one article by [Edmund] Jaeger in 1958 saying that he was born in Wisconsin, followed by another by [Joseph] Ewan in 1963 "correcting" this to say that he was born in England. There does not seem to be any surviving record of his birth, but all census records show he was born in Connecticut. His parents were born and and married in New York state. His older half-brothers were born in Troy, NY. Joseph Ewan told me someone at the
    cemetery where he is buried  told him that Alverson was born in England, but my copy of the death certificate says he was born in Connecticut (abbreviated "Conn.")." So we will say that he was born in New Haven, CT, and grew up near Kingston, WI, before moving back to New Haven about 1868, where he worked mostly as a bank clerk, although he was also for a time a wholesale and retail dealer and a minor inventor. In 1877, Alverson and two other men came to Calif. to locate a "colony" for settlers from New Haven, and selected a spot near present-day Redlands, but the project fell through due to the lack of a sufficient water supply. He returned in 1883 and settled at first at Lugonia. In July, 1887, he advertised "A. H. Alverson at the Lugonia Post Office Store has opened a first class stock of Jewelry, Clocks, Watches, Stationery, Musical goods, Confectionery, Fine toilet articles, Tobacco and cigars." (In August, the same ad ran with his brother's initials.) He also became involved in prospecting and mining. At some point he began collecting and propagating cacti for sale. Edmund Jaeger wrote that he was told that Alverson collected carefully and did not over-collect. According to Edmund Jaeger, Alverson was a jeweler, minerologist and cacti and succulent dealer, who made prospecting trips into the Eagle and Chuckawalla Mountains.
  • al'vordiana/alvordia'na: named for William Alvord (1833-1904), born in Albany, NY, and a mayor of San Francisco,
      1871-1873. His first trade was the hardware business which he started in New York City in 1850. Three years later he moved his business to Marysville, California, and then to San Francisco. The stress of the work and business degraded his health and he moved to Europe to regain it, returning in 1871, after which time he almost immediately was put up for Mayor of San Francisco, an office he held for two years. He was associated with the companies Pacific Rolling Mills and Risdon Iron and Locomotive Works. He helped to reestablish the Bank of California after its crash in 1875. In 1878
    he was elected president of the Bank of California. He also served at different times as park commissioner and police commissioner. He was president of several associations such as the American Forestry Association in 1890-91, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1898, and the California Academy of Schools, demonstrating the wide range of his interests. He corresponded with George Engelmann. Quercus Xalvordiana was first published in 1905, the year after his death, by Alice Eastwood. (Photo credit: Find-a-Grave)
  • alysso'ides: like genus Alyssum.
  • Alys'sum: from the Greek a-, "not or without," and lyssa, "madness," it was said to cure rabies. This is another of those names that I have wondered about the derivation of. It was used loosely to denote various medicinal herbs from the mid 16th century. Alyssum is both a Latin generic name and a common name, so when people mention ‘alyssum,’ it’s important to know whether they are taling about the genus Alyssum or simply the plant commonly called alyssum.  There are about a hundred species in the genus which is in the mustard family, with the highest diversity in the Mediterranean region. Several other genera, most notably Lobularia, are closely related and were formerly included in it. We don’t really have the genus Alyssum in southern California, so the alyssum that is familiar to us is the sweet alyssum of garden popularity called Lobularia maritima, and for desert enthusiasts the desert alyssum which is Lepidium fremontii. However the Jepson Manual does include from more northerly parts of California such naturalized taxa as Alyssum alyssoides (literally the Alyssum that looks like Alyssum), Alyssum desertorum, and Alyssum simplex. Other meanngs of the ‘lyssa’ part of the root are “rage, fury, or madness,” giving alyssum the sense of “without madness.” It’s funny that such a sweet little flower would have this kind of a name. Alyssum is a type of European flowering plant and the name comes from the Greek alysson which is perhaps the neuter of adjective alyssos "curing madness." Some relate the word lyssa with lykos, “wolf,” and others see a connection with words having to do with light, in reference to the glittering eyes of the mad.  Stearn says it has been called madwort, and was regarded as a specific against madness and the bites of mad dogs. It may have been thought at one time that it was a remedy for dogs with rabies. Alyssum is also a plant with a role to play in witchcraft. Dedicated practitioners claim alyssum will help deflect unfriendly spells. Alyssum is also thought by some to help cultivate calmness and avoid anger, and is said to protect an individual from heated encounters. The genus Alyssum was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus and is called alyssum or madwort.
  • ama'bilis: beautiful.
  • Amaran'thus: from the Greek amarantos, "unfading," referring to the long-lasting flowers. The genus Amaranthus was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • amarel'la: bitter.
  • amargo'sae: of or from the region of the Amargosa Mountains in Death Valley.
  • amar'um: bitter to the taste.
  • Amaryl'lis: from Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names: "...named for a beautiful shepherdess Amaryllis in classical poetry and equally irresistible to the English pastoral poets of the 16th and 17th centuries." The genus Amaryllis was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • Amauriop'sis: resembling genus Amauria. The genus Amauriopsis was published by Per Axel Rydberg in 1914.
  • Amauropel'ta: derived from amaurus, "dark, obscure," and pelta, "a shield," alluding to the very small indusium. The genus Amauropelta was published in 1843 by Gustav Kunze.
  • ambig'ua/ambig'uum/ambig'uus: doubtful, of uncertain identity.
  • amblyo'don: blunt-toothed.
  • Amblyopap'pus: from the Greek amblus, "blunt," and pappos, "pappus." The genus Amblyopappus was published in 1841 by William Jackson Hooker and George Arnott Walker Arnott.
  • Ambro'sia: Greek for "food of the gods." The genus Ambrosia was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • ambrosio'ides: like the genus Ambrosia.
  • ambustico'la: from the Latin root ambust or ambustus, "burned up, consumed, scorched," and the word ending -cola, "dwelling in or inhabiting," thus meaning "a dweller of burned areas" which applies to this taxon.
  • Amelan'chier: from amelancier, an old French Provencal common name applied to A. ovalis. The common name serviceberry comes from 'sarvis' or 'servis berry' because of its resemblance to Sorbus domestica, the service tree. Amelanchier has various other common names including shadbush, shadwood, shadblow, wild pear, juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum, wild plum and and chuckley pear. The genus Amelanchier was published in 1789 by Friedrich Kasimir Medikus.
  • Amelichlo'a: named for María Amelia Torres (1934-2011), Argentine botanist and professor of biology. She was born
      in Tandil, province of Buenos Aires, where she spent her childhood and adolescence. She graduated in 1953, with a  bachelor's degree from the General San Martin Mixed Normal School of his native city. In 1966 she received a degree in botany and graduated as a professor of biology. from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Museum of the National University of La Plata, and in 1976 a Ph.D. in natural sciences at the same university. She studied the Poaceae and visited almost all Argentine provinces and collaborated in a floristic survey that covered Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the
    South Atlantic islands in 1967. She worked as a teacher in various capacities for a number of years, was a researcher in the Herbarium of the Vascular Plants Division of the Museum of La Plata, and became curator in 1986. She was a tireless and extremely thorough curator, a virtue that was reflected in the excellent functioning of the Herbarium during its working period and that today benefits everyone who works with the Division's collections. The genus Amelichloa was published by Mirta O. Arriaga and Mary Elizabeth Barkworth in 2006.
  • america'na/american'um/american'us: American, of America.
  • Ames'ia: named for Oakes Ames (1874-1950), American botanist who specialized in orchids. He was born in North
      Easton, Massachusetts, son of Governor Oliver Ames. He collected his first orchids at the age of 15. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard in 1898 and an A.M. in 1899. Wikipedia says: “Ames spent his entire professional career at Harvard. As administrator, he was assistant director (1899-1909) and director of the Botanic Garden (1909-1922); curator (1923-1927), supervisor (1927-1937), director (1937-1945), and associate director of the Botanic Museum (1945-1950); chairman of the Division of Biology (1926-1935) and chairman of the Council of Botanical
    Collections and supervisor of the Biological Laboratory, the Atkins Garden in Cuba, and the Arnold Arboretum (1927-1935). As teacher, he was an instructor in botany (1900-1910), associate professor of botany (1915-1926), professor of botany (1926-1932) and Arnold professor of botany (1932-1935). From 1935 to 1941 he was a research professor of botany. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1911. The Orchidaceae were little-known before Ames' study and classification. He made expeditions to Florida, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and Central and South America, with his wife creating scientifically accurate drawings of the plants they cataloged. The Ames' work was published in the seven-volume Orchidicae: Illustrations and Studies of the Family Orchidicae. They also developed the Ames Charts, illustrating the phylogenetic relationships of the major useful plants, which are still used. Ames built up an extensive orchid herbarium, with library, photographs, and paintings, which he gave to Harvard in 1938. Today the Orchid Herbarium of Oakes Ames contains about 131,000 specimens, plus 3,000 flowers in glycerine, 4,000 pickled specimens, and hundreds of line drawings. Its library includes about 5,000 books, reprints, and journals.” The website of the Harvard University Herbaria says: “Ames also had an interest in economic botany. This became his other major field of study after he taught a course "Outlines of Economic Botany" in 1909-1910, and a few years later gave several lectures on medical botany at the Harvard School of Tropical Medicine (Shultes 73-74). His devotion to economic botany led Ames to collect what might be the most complete library and herbarium on the subject, both of which are now part of the Harvard University Herbaria. Oaks Ames's accomplishments were not limited to scholarship and collecting, however. As director of the Botanical Museum, he "initiated a program of research and publication" as well as seeking (and finding) the financial support necessary for the creation of an endowment fund. The Botanical Museum Leaflets of Harvard University began publication during his tenure with the museum, and did not cease publication until over 50 years later, in 1986. Ames was also "instrumental in raising the Charles Sprague Sargent Memorial Fund" during his time as Supervisor of the Arnold Arboretum. This fund more than doubled the Arboretum's endowment and allowed for its growth in many areas, as well as making it possible for the Arboretum staff to more fully participate as part of the Department of Biology. During WWI, Ames was part of the Botanical Raw Products Committee of the National Research Council. WWII saw economic botany become even more important to the war effort, and many of Professor Ames's former students were called into government service to solve the botanical problems facing the nation.” The genus Amesia was published in 1913 by Aven Nelson and J.F. Macbride. (Photo credit: Harvard University Herbaria)
  • ames'iae: named for 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 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 possessed 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 affliction 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 one 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."
  • amethys'tina/amethys'tinus: having a violet color.
  • amic'tum: from the Latin amictus, "wrapped up." Other meanings for amictus as listed by WordSense Dictionary are: 1) "covering, dressing, surrounding," and 2) "cloak, mantle, dressing, garb." The taxon in the California flora is Ribes roezlii var. amictum, and I have no idea why this epithet was used. It was first published by E.L. Greene as Ribes amictum in 1887 and then republished as Ribes roezlii var. amictum by Willis Lynn Jepson in 1936.
  • Amman'nia: named for Paul Ammann (1634-1691), a German botanist and professor at Leipzig who wrote on South American plants. He was born at Breslau and received the degree of doctor of physic from the University of Leipzig in 1662. In 1664 he was admitted a member of the society Naturae Curiosorum. Shortly afterwards he was chosen as extraordinary professor of medicine in the above-mentioned university, and in 1674 was promoted to the botanical chair, which he exchanged in 1682 for the chair of  physiology. He was also director of the medical garden. He authored Supellex Botanica in 1675, an enumeration of the medical plants in the garden and others in the vicinity. He also produced Medecina Critica (1670), Paraenesis ad Docentes Occupata Circa Institutionum Medicarum Emendationem (1673), Irenicum Numae Pompilii cum Hippocrate (1689), and Character Naturalis Plantarum (1676). He died at Leipzig in 1691. The genus Ammannia was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • am'mei: named for David G. Amme (1948- ), long associated with the East Bay Regional Park District who is known for his work on native grass horticulture, grassland restoration, and roadside management, and as a distinguished author on environmental matters. He received his master’s degree from UC Berkeley and is a founding member of the California Native Grass Association. He has been involved in California grassland ecology as a private resource management consultant, state park resource ecologist, and most recently as an environmental planner for Caltrans.
  • Am'mi: according to Umberto Quattrocchi, an ancient Latin name for an umbelliferous plant, possibly from the Greek ammos for "sand." The genus Ammi was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
  • Ammobro'ma: from the Greek ammos, "sand," and broma, "food," the single Southern California representative of this former genus having been added by Jepson to the genus Pholisma, the common name of which is sand-food, and once an important food for the local indigenous people. The genus Ammobroma was published in 1854 by John Torrey.
  • Ammophi'la/ammophi'lum: sand-loving, growing in sandy places. The genus Ammophila was published in 1809 by Nicolaus Thomas Host.
  • Ammoseli'num: from the Greek ammos, "sand," and Selinum, an Old World genus of the carrot family. The genus Ammoselinum was published by John Torrey and Asa Gray in 1855.
  • amnico'la: dwelling by a river.
  • amoe'na/amoe'num/amoe'nus: pleasant or lovely.
  • Amor'pha: from a Greek word amorphos signifying "deformed," an allusion to the single petal of the flower. The genus Amorpha was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
  • Ampelodes'mos: from the Latin and Greek ampelodesmos, an old name for the species Lygeum spartum which was used in Sicily for tying up vines. The genus Ampelodesmos was published by Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link in 1827.
  • amphi-/ampho-: Greek prefix meaning "on both sides, around, both, double."
  • amphib'ia/amphib'ium: amphibious, suited for or adapted to growing on land or in the water.
  • amphibo'lus: I am assuming that this is an alternate spelling and derives from the Greek amphibolos, meaning "ambiguous or doubtful."
  • Amphibro'mus: from the Greek amphi, " both, on both sides," and the Poaceae genus Bromus. The genus Amphibromus was published by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck in 1843.
  • Amphipap'pus: from the Greek amphi, "both kinds of or double," and pappos, "pappus," the pappus being double. The genus Amphipappus was published in 1845 by John Torrey and Asa Gray.
  • Amphiscir'pus: from amphi, "both, around," and the grass genus Scirpus. The genus Amphiscirpus was published by Alfred Apau Oteng-Yeboah in 1874.
  • amplec'tans: embracing, clasping with the base.
  • amplexicaul'is: embracing or clasping the stem.
  • amplexifo'lius: with clasping leaves
  • amplia'tus: enlarged.
  • amplifauca'lis: possibly from the Latin amplio, "to make large or ample," or amplus, "large," and fauces, "gullet, the back area of the mouth, the passage from the mouth to the pharynx" thus meaning something like "amply-throated or large-throated."
  • amplifo'lia/amplifo'lius: large-leaved, from the Latin ampli or amplus, "large, spacious," and folia, "leaves."
  • amplis'sima: very large.
  • ampulla'ceum: flask-like.
  • Amsinc'kia: named for Wilhelm Amsinck (1752-1831), German businessman, senator and first Bürgermeister
      (Mayor) of Hamburg, patron of botany and the Botanical Garden in Hamburg of which he contributed to the foundation. Surprisingly little is known about him, but he was born in Hamburg and attended the Johanneum and Academic High school in Hamburg. He studied law in Leipzig and Goettingen (1771-1774) and obtained a licentiate qualifying to take a doctorate which he received in 1774, returning to Hamburg the following year. In 1786, he was elected a town councilor (alderman) managing various public offices, was elected Mayor in 1802, and made many improvements to
    Hamburg relating to land reclamation, education, and lighthouse construction. He took office during the French occupation of Hamburg and was particularly active in the negotiations with the French Republic. During the French tyranny, he lived as a private citizen, refusing all the offices offered to him. As a man of absolute order and meticulous accuracy, Amsinck turned against all further reforms after the restoration of German independence in 1814. From 1820 he managed the administration of the valuable monastery area of ​​Sankt Johannis in the spirit of the strictest legality. He earned special merits by organizing the rich Averhoffschen Foundation for women in need and for the promotion of young scholars, artist and craftsmen. The genus Amsinckia was published by Johann Georg Christian Lehmann in 1831.
  • Amsinckiop'sis: like Amsinckia. The genus Amsinckiopsis was published in 2020 by C. Matt Guilliams, Kristen E. Hasenstab-Lehman and Bruce G. Baldwin.
  • Amso'nia: named for Dr. John Amson (1698-?), of Gloucester Co. and thereabouts, a Virginia physician, amateur botanist, and gentleman farmer who apparently had settled there from England. It is difficult to describe the eponymy of this name due to lack of relevant records. The genus Amsonia was first published in 1788 by a man named Thomas Walter who gave no derivation or eponymy for the name. Walter was a British-born American botanist best known for his work Flora Caroliniana. As early as 1830, the name Amsonia was associated with a “Charles Amason, an American traveller.” This eponomy was soon adopted by other British and continental sources, but the name was changed from Amason to Amson by Joseph Paxton, and many editions of Gray’s Manual and other sources included the name of “Charles Amson.” By the beginning of the 20th century, skepticism had arisen about the name of “Charles” Amson inasmuch as no records of such a person, a “traveller in America,” could be produced. The first idea that Amsonia might have been named for a physician was alluded to in John Clayton’s unpublished manuscript on the plants of Virginia, and gradually over the course of succeeding decades took hold. Eventually references began to turn up about a Dr. John Amson of Gloucester County and Williamsburg who was said to be a friend of John Clayton. Little that is definitive is known about his early life before he began practicing medicine but it is likely that he received a degree from the university at Rheims in France in 1722. As early as 1746 he served as an Alderman and then as Mayor of Williamsburg from 1750 to 1751. It is uncertain when he died but it was likely sometime between 1761 and 1765. One website, CasaBio.org, gives 1763 with no source material. Wikipedia provides this interesting story about how the genus came to be named Amsonia. “In 1760, a perennial flower was named for Amson. It came about after then-Colonel George Washington, on campaign during the French and Indian War, contracted what he believed to be the consumption, called tuburculosis today. In 1758, on his way to Williamsburg, Washington sought a definitive answer as to his illness, stopped for a medical consultation at the governor's Palace, where Dr. Amson lived on the north-west edge of town. Amson diagnosed Washington with a common cold and convinced him he was not going to die. To commemorate Amson, John Clayton, clerk of courts for Gloucester County, named the genus Amsonia after the doctor, and sent the seeds to botanist John Bartram for his seed and plant business.” In fact it is likely that Washington had dysentery and almost certain that he travelled to Williamsburg specifically to consult doctors there so it was not a fortuitous meeting with Amson whose reputation had spread widely.  Much of the information given was gleaned from a 2004 article by James S. Pringle in SIDA, Contributions to Botany, entitled “History and Eponomy of the Genus Name Amsonia.” The thinness of the material regarding the life of Dr. John Amson is a good example of how difficult it sometimes is to find out who various genera are named for. The genus Amsonia has been called blue-star and blue dogbane.
  • amygdalin'um: with an almond odor.