Fun with Latin names

Where I work we use Latin names a lot because they are the most precise and descriptive way to talk about plants, but they are also really fun to say!

One of my favorites is the Latin name for sweet potato vine, a charming annual that I love for a quick color pop in pots. It comes in chartreuse, black-purple and rusty red.

Ethnoturf copyright

The latin name is Ipomea batata, which I love to pronounce with a big sweeping gesture “Ee Po ME ah Ba-ta-ta!”

Another latin name that I have latched onto is Calamagrostis, which we often use in reference of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerester’, a feather grass which has lovely plumes and is one of the best selling grasses in the gardening world.

Red Butte Garden copyright

It is stunning stuff when the light hits it at an angle. However, it’s beauty does not sway me from my opinion that saying the word “Calamagrostis!” with sufficient vehemence is a good substitute for swearing.

Go on. Try it. The next time you go out to your strawberry patch and see that the slugs have gotten there before you, yell “Calamagrostis!” I bet you’ll feel better.


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