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Genus: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
ACACIA (La)
Thorn Tree(ld) Wattle Doringboom
Family: FABACEAE
acer, = sharp, pointed, piercing; acus, = a needle or pin; as being pointed; -ius, = means ‘characteristic of’, hence indicates connection or resemblance. acacia, = the acacia-tree, the Egyptian pod-thorn, Mimosa nylotica, described by Pliny.
(ld, BL)
ACMADENIA (G)
Buchu (Le)
Family: RUTACEAE
acme, = the highest point of anything, the bloom, flower, prime of man’s age; aden, adena, = a acorn, a gland; (referring to the glands on the anthers)
(LS, Ox, Le)
ACROLOPHIA (G)
Cinderella Orchid (K3)
Family: ORCHIDACEAE
acros, = at the end, either outermost, or at the top; acros, = at the tip, end, summit; lophos, = crest, tuft of hair; a cock’s comb. (The author Pfitzer contrived this name to describe a Eulophia-like plant, which flowers from the summit of the stem, not basally, as in the genus Euplohia)
(LS, BL, Co)
ACROSANTHES (G)
Spekvygie (Le)
Family: AIZOACEAE
acros, = at the end, either outermost, or at the top; acros, = at the tip, end, summit; anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower. (flower solitary on a flower stalk)
(LS, BL, Le)
ADENANDRA (G)
China Flower(Le) Porseleinblom
Family: RUTACEAE
aden, adena, = an acorn, a gland; aner, andrus, = man, of a man. aner, andros, = male, stamen. (gland-bearing anthers)
(Ox, LS, BL, Le)
aden, adena, = an acorn, a gland; kline, = that on which one lies, couch, bed; klino, = slope, slant, incline. (glandular disc at base of flower)
(Ox, LS, Le)
ADENOGRAMMA (G)
Muggiesgras (PS)
Family: MOLLUGINACEAE
aden, adena, = an acorn, a gland; gramma, = written character, a drawing; gramme, = line, stroke of a pen. (ridged or striped by raised lines)
(Ox, LS, K3)
ADIANTUM (G)
Maidenhair Ferns (Le)
Family: PTERIDONTACEAE
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; diantos, = wettable. adiantos, = unwetted, ‘maidens hair’. (during rain leaves shed water and remain dry)
(Ox, Le, LS)
adros, = thick, stout; mischos, = a stalk.
(LS, Eg)
aethes, = unusual, strange; phyllon, = a leaf.
(LS)
AGAPANTHUS (G, La)
Agapanthus(Le) Bloulelie
Family: AGAPANTHACEAE
agape, = brotherly love, charity; -anthus, = a flower, the bloom of a flower.
(LS)
AGATHOSMA (G)
Buchu(Le) Boegoe
Family: RUTACEAE
agathos, = good in their kind; osme, = a smell, scent, odour, whether good or bad. (fragrant oils in the glands of leaves)
(LS, Le)
AGROSTIS (G)
Bent Grass(Le) Couch Grass
Family: POACEAE
agros, = a field, land. agrostis, = a grass that mules feed on.
(LS)
AIRA (G)

Family: POACEAE
airo, = to rise or lift up, to carry; to lift and take away; put an end to; later to kill. aira, = a Greek name for a different grass, Lolium temulentum, known as poison darnell.
(LS, Le, K3)
AIZOON (G)
Baconbush (Wf) Spekvygie (Le)
Family: AIZOACEAE
aei-, = ever, always, for ever; zoos, = alive, living. (ability to survive under difficult conditions)
(LS, Le)
For Albertus Magnus (c 1200-1280)**
(Ch)
ALBUCA (La)
Slime Lily(Le) Slymlelie
Family: HYACINTHACEAE
albus, = white, properly dead white, not shining; -icans, = indicates process of becoming or resemblance sometimes so close as to be almost identical. (some albuca flowers are partly white)
(ld, BL, Le)
ALCIOPE (G)
Fire Daisy(Wf)
Family: ASTERACEAE
alke, = bodily strength, force, prowess, power, might; ope, ops, = ability, means, help, support, aid.
(LS, BL)
ALECTRA (G)
Yellow Witchweed (Le)
Family: OROBANCHACEAE
alector, = a cockerel, Alectron.** electron, = amber. (allusion vague)
(LS, Ox, Le)
ALOE (G)
Aloe(Le) Alwyn
Family: ASPHODELACEAE
aloē, = from Hebrew used in the Septuagint to translate akhālīm, akhālōth; descriptive of the succulent herbs , shrubs or trees, with erect spikes of flowers, and bitter juice. (the dried bitter juice of aloe leaves, derived from earlier Semitic word alloeh)
(Ox, Le)
ALSOPHILA (La, G)
Cape Tree Fern(PS)
Family: CYATHEACEAE
algeo, = to be cold, to feel cold; alsus, alsius, = chilly, cold, cool; philos, = loving.
(ld, LS)
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; mar-, mor-,= die; -marantos, = fading, corruptible. marainein, = to wither, decay. anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower. (everlasting) (refers to lasting quality of the flowers)
(BL, Ox, ld, Le)
AMARYLLIS (La)
Belladonna(Wf) March Lily
Family: AMARYLLIDACEAE
amo, amare, amans, = to love; -illus, = diminutive. Amaryllis, = adopted by Linnaeus; name of a country-girl in Theocritus, Ovid and Virgil; name of a shepherdess.
(ld, BL, Ox)
AMELLUS (La)
Astertjie(Le) Wild Aster(Wf)
Family: ASTERACEAE
a-, = from (denoting source) mella, = mead. (Name given by Vergil to a similar blue daisy (the purple Italian star-wort, Aster amellus) that grew on the banks of the river Mella, in Upper Italy, near Brescia, now Mella)
(Ws, BL, Le, ld)
AMMOPHILA (G)
Marram Grass (Le)
Family: POACEAE
ammos, = sand; philos, = loving. (ammophilous, applying to plants or insects which inhabit sandy places)
(Ox, LS)
amphi-, = on both sides, around; thallos, = a young shoot or branch, twig. amphithales, = blooming on both sides: hence flourishing, rich. (flowering all around the stem)
(LS, Le)
ANACOLIA (G)
Moss()
Family: BARTRAMIACEAE
ana-, = up to, towards, up, in the sense of strengthening; (upwards, back, again, with general sense of strengthening, increasing) colos, = docked, curtailed, stunted. (alluding to the short pedicel)
(LS, BL, Cl)
ANAGALLIS (G)
Pimpernel (Le)
Family: PRIMULACEAE
anagelao, = to laugh aloud. (Perhaps from anagelao, the Greek name for the 'pimpernel'; thought to have removed sadness)
(LS, Le)
anax, = lord, king, applied to all the gods, especially to Apollo; anaxuo, = to scrape off; anaxein, = to polish; -itas = indicates a concept or quality. (shiny upper surface of the leaves)
(LS, Le, BL)
ANDROCYMBIUM (G, La)
Men-in-a- boat(Wf) Cup and Saucer(Le) Patrysblom
Family: COLCHICACEAE
Now COLCHICUM. aner, andrus, = man, of a man. cymba, = a boat, skif; (the boat of Charon which transported the dead); -ium, = ‘characteristic of’, hence indicates connection or resemblance.
(LS, ld, BL)
aner, andrus, = man, of a man. aner, andros, = male stamen. pogon, = the beard. (tufts of hairs on the flowers)
(LS, BL, Le)
ANEMONE (G)
Anemone(Le) Windflower (Wf)
Family: RANUNCULACEAE
anemos, = wind; -one, = implying the feminine of a patronymic name - that of her father. anemone, = the wind flower, literally 'daughter of the wind'. (see Anemone,** and Anemos**) (either because anemones grow in windy places or open under the influence of wind, or because the petals blow away in the wind)
(LS, Ox, Le)
ANISODONTEA (G)
African Mallow(Le) Bergroos
Family: MALVACEAE
anisos, aniso-, = unequal, uneven odon, ontos, odons, = a tooth; -tis, = usually indicates the agent or means. -odontus, = -toothed. (unevenly toothed)
(LS, BL)
ANNESORHIZA (G)
Anyswortel (Le)
Family: APIACEAE
anisum, from annison, = under which the Greeks seem to have included the two plants, Anise and Dill. When these were discriminated anisum and anethum were utilised in Latin to distinguish them; rhiza, = root. (flavour of tuberous rootstock, used in food)
(Ox, Le)
ANTHOCEROS (G)
Moss(Le) Hornwort
Family: ANTHOCEROTACEAE
anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower; -ceras, from keras, = a horn, hornlike projection.
(LS, BL)
anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower. khortos, = grass, hay.
(LS)
anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower; sperma, = that which is sown, seed. (male flowers may carry a small ovary capable of carrying a seed)
(LS, Le)
ANTHOXANTHUM (G)
Vernal Grass (Le)
Family: POACEAE
anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower; xanthos, = yellow of various shades, golden or pale yellow; also red-yellow, chestnut, auburn. xanth-, xantho-, = yellow; -ion, = indicates occurrence. xanthion, = yellow.
(LS, BL)
apateo, = to cheat, trick, outwit, beguile; -ius, = means ‘characteristic of’, hence indicates connexion or resemblance. (likeness to the genus Hymenogyne before the flower has opened)
(LS, BL, Le)
APIUM (G, Skr)
Parsley(Le)
Family: APIACEAE
apis, = a bee. apium, = parsley, esp. liked by bees; an umbilliferous plant of several species (mountain-parsley, celery etc.). the leaves of one species (water parsley, our celery, the Apium graveolens) were used by the ancients for garlands, on account of their strong fragrance.
(ld)
APODYTES (G)
White Pear (Le)
Family: ICACINACEAE
apoduo, = to strip off, undress. (to strip, referring to the unprotected petals in bud)
(LS, Le)
APONOGETON (G)
Pond Blossom (Wf) Waterblommetjie (Le) Wateruintjie (K3)
Family: APONOGETONACEAE
Aponus was a hot spring near Padua. geton, = neighbor. A partial anagram of Potamogeton, which in turn comes from Patmos, a river, and geiton, a neighbor.
(Le, BL, M)
ARCTOPUS (La, G)
Sandholly (Wf) Platdoring (Le)
Family: APIACEAE
arctos, = a bear; pous, = a foot. (flat leaf resembles shape of a bear's paw)
(LS, Le)
ARCTOTHECA (G)
Cape Weed (Wf)
Family: ASTERACEAE
arctos, = a bear; theca, = a chest, coffin, sepulchre. (densely woolly fruit)
(LS, Le)
ARCTOTIS (G)
Arctotis(Le) Gousblom
Family: ASTERACEAE
arktos, = a bear; ous, -otis, = an ear. (allusion unclear, possibly the appearance of the involucral bracts).
(LS, Le)
ARGEMONE (G)
Mexican Poppy(Le)
Family: PAPAVERACEAE
argos, argema, = white, white spot. (Originally from argemos, white spot. The plant was meant to cure cataracts)
(Ox, Le)
argureos, = silver, of silver; lobos, = the lobe or lower part of the ear; (capsule or pod); -ium, = ‘characteristic of’, hence indicates connection or resemblance.
(LS, BL)
ARISTEA (G, La)
Aristea(Le) Blousuurkanol
Family: IRIDACEAE
aristos, aristo-, = best of its kind. aristeia, = the prize of the bravest. -eus, = indicates material or colour or resemblance in quality. (aristos, best, noblest or aristeia, excellence or prize to the best and bravest)
(LS, ld, BL, Le)
ARISTIDA (La)
Steekgras (Le)
Family: POACEAE
arista, = the awn or beard of grain; -ida, = indicates a state or action in progress; -ish. (bearded)
(ld, BL)
ASCLEPIAS (G)
Milkweed (Le)
Family: APOCYNACEAE
After Asklepios**.
(K3)
askos, = a leathern bag, a wineskin; -idium, = diminutive. sperma, = that which is sown, seed.
(LS)
ASPALATHUS (G)
Cape Gorse (Wf)
Family: FABACEAE
aspalathos, = a scented shrub. (What plant is referred to in the early quotations is not certainly known. Johnson gives as his first definition, ‘A plant called the rose of Jerusalem or our lady’s rose.’)
(LS, Ox)
ASPARAGUS (G)
Wild asparagus(Le) Katdoring Wilde Aspersie
Family: ASPARAGACEAE
a-, = intensive (very much); sparagmos, sparasso, = a rending, tearing, mangling. (referring to the sharp spines) OR spargan, = to be full to bursting, to teem, swell, be ripe. (to swell or sprout)
(LS, Le)
aspis, = a shield; -idion, = diminutive. glossa, = the tongue. (deeply lobed corolla resembling a forked tongue)
(LS, BL, Le)
ASPLENIUM (G)
Spleenwort Ferns (Le)
Family: ASPLENIACEAE
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; splen, = the milt, spleen. (Asplenium, = a totally confusing reference to the use of spleenwort to cure spleen and liver problems. The name originated with Pliny and Discorides)
(BL, Ws, Int)
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; stephanos, = that which encircles; a crown, wreath. (a kind of diadem or coronet, represented in statuary as worn by the goddess Hera and other deities; also worn by military commanders) -anus, = indicates position, connexion or possession by. (absence of a crown)
(Ox, LS, BL)
ATHANASIA (G)
Klaaslouw Bush(Wf) Klaaslouwbos (Le)
Family: ASTERACEAE
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; thanatos, = death. athanatos, = not subject to death, undying, immortal (referring to the persistent dry involucral bracts)
(Ox, LS, Le)
ATHRIXIA (G)
Boesmantee (Le)
Family: ASTERACEAE
a-, = intensive (very much); thrix, = the hair both of man and beast; sheep’s wool. (the plants are extremely hairy) (possibly from Greek, anther, or awn alluding to the fine awn-like tips of the involucral bracts)
(LS, Le, FC)
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; thrix, tricos, = the hair both of man and beast; sheep’s wool. anthos, = a flower, the bloom of a flower. (hairless corolla lobes)
(Ox, LS, Le)
ATRIPLEX (La)
Saltbush (Le)
Family: CHENOPODIACEAE
ater, atra, = coal-black, lustreless-black, sable, dark; (especially, dull black) plexus, = a twining, plaiting, braid. atriplexum, = the orach, a kitchen vegetable.
(ld, BL)
AULAX (G)
Feather Bush (Wf)
Family: PROTEACEAE
aulax, = a furrow; (the leaves of Aulax cancellata are conspicuously channelled)
(LS, K3)
AVENA (La)
Oats (Le)
Family: POACEAE
a-, an-, = denotes privative, negative; a-, = without, not, -less, un-; vena, = a blood-vessel, vein. avena, = oats (veinless, without perceptible lateral nerves or veins; opposite of ‘venosus’)
(Ox, ld, BL)