Friday, December 1st, 2006...9:22 am

Aspidistra

I received an email from a Gabriela in Mexico. She asked,

Con que nombre se le conoce a la ASPIDISTRA en America Latina (Mexico)?

How exciting to know that someone in Mexico is reading my website! Though I do not speak any Spanish I hope that the translation of your question is “What is the name of the Aspidistra in Mexico?

When the Garden Lady writes this column, she tries to use Latin names for plants, not just the common names. The reason I use the Latin names is because many plants have lots of different common names. When one goes to look for a plant, the common name may be different in different parts of the country or in different parts of the world but the Latin name is the same everywhere. These differences in common names can cause confusion when one wants to find or buy a particular plant.

In the 18th Century, a gentleman who loved plants, Carl Linnaeus, devised a method using Latin to identify every living thing. This Latin method of naming each plant makes it easy for those who use the system to know exactly which plant it is. All scientists throughout the world use Linnaeus’s system and every good nursery person should know the Latin name of a plant he sells or the Latin name should be written on a label on the plant. Sometimes a plant’s common name is the same as its Latin name. In the case of the Aspidistra, the Latin name is used as one of the plant’s common names. The Latin name is Aspidistra eliator or the synonym is Aspidistra lurida.

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