Friday, December 28, 2012

How Plants Get Their Names: January 2013

On Tuesday, January 8,  Brinsley will entertain us with an illustrated talk about the ways plants get their names. He'll also show how we can name a plant which we think is new or different. Brinsley will look both at "Latin" scientific names and "common" names for plants and show how a Swedish born botanist, Carl Linnaeus, established a system which ensured, for the first time, that each plant only had one correct name. This system is, by international agreement, used throughout the world today. We will also learn how to understand and pronounce plant names.

See this 1567 plant identification book in person during Brinsley's talk.

Additionally, we will also look at some intriguing aspects of plant naming such as:
  • Why in the USA there are more plants named for the Devil than for Saints and in Europe more plants are named for Saints than the Devil.
  • Why hemlock is a forest tree in the USA and the official state poison of ancient Greece.
  • Why the Irish cannot agree which plant is the true shamrock.
  • Why Caltha palustris has over 240 different common names.
  • Why the Jerusalem Artichoke is a Sunflower and has nothing to do with Jerusalem.
  • Why Botanical Latin is a new language, not just a revival of what the Romans spoke.
  • Why Shakespeare wrote about many plants but never used the word "petal."

This presentation is FREE and open to the public. The Garden Club meets at the First Presbyterian Church on the corners of 3rd and Adams. 6:00 pm is our business meeting, with the presentation at 7:00.