Jump to content
  • WELCOME GUEST

    It looks as if you are viewing PalmTalk as an unregistered Guest.

    Please consider registering so as to take better advantage of our vast knowledge base and friendly community.  By registering you will gain access to many features - among them are our powerful Search feature, the ability to Private Message other Users, and be able to post and/or answer questions from all over the world. It is completely free, no “catches,” and you will have complete control over how you wish to use this site.

    PalmTalk is sponsored by the International Palm Society. - an organization dedicated to learning everything about and enjoying palm trees (and their companion plants) while conserving endangered palm species and habitat worldwide. Please take the time to know us all better and register.

    guest Renda04.jpg

How common are common names?


andrebazhen

Recommended Posts

Hi all, I was wondering how often native English speakers use Latin names and common ones. For me (Russian language, not the Latin alphabet) it is unclear why people say traveler’s palm, if you can say Ravenala. If I say Hyophorbe instead of Bottle palm, will I sound pretentious? Or just non-palm people won't understand me?

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel like it wouldn't sound wierd if you say the latin names. Sometimes I just say both in case someone doesn't know what I'm talking about.

  • Like 2

My Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@dts_3
Palms in Ground Currently: Rhapidophyllum Hystrix (x1), Butia Capitata (x1), Sabal Causiarum (x2), Sabal Louisiana (x1).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use both depending on whom I’m talking to. Some palms don’t really have a “common” name that I am aware of . Harry

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Andre, you are not pretentious, you are educated.  Latin binomials are best, in South America there are about eight species called "chonta" palms.

I have little patience with palm growers who are resistant to learning proper names.

  • Like 4
  • Upvote 2

San Francisco, California

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not pretentious at all to use Latin names, imo..


Sadly, in the U.S., use of common names is wayy too common / overly relied upon by a lot of people, even among some nursery people who supposedly took horticulture courses / have degrees in Hort who seem " smart "...  I get some amusement when  ID'ing something fairly common i might be looking for using the latin name before said nursery professional and getting the " what is that "  look. 

Some people i'd deal with in the nurseries i've worked would also give me " the look " when providing the Latin name vs. the common name yet they could easily recognize " common "  Latin names like Eucalyptus, Oleander, Lantana, Cattleya, Oncidium, Vanda,  Gardenia, Rhododendron, Ficus,  Canna,  and / or Bougainvillea ..etc..  Yes, not all names are that easy, but if you can learn those, the rest comes fairly easily -if you put the effort into learning.. 

One person who asked for help even asked that i use English names only because they didn't want to hear anything but..  I sent them on their way to be someone else's " entertainment ", lol. ..

 Plant people i trust the most use Latin names, 9 times out of 10 times,  and aren't afraid of correcting those who use English / common names as a " i'm not curious enough to learn the proper name(s) of " crutch.  Not rudely, but informatively. 

Someone i know recently made me aware of why use of certain common names should not be tolerated " Kaffir " being one of those no one should be using in 2024..

As far as pronouncing some Latin names ...Say  Amphipterygium,   don't care if someone slaughters most/ a majority of it when trying to pronounce,  i do that regularly.    As long as they show the effort / get close,  you're good.. In my book anyway. Others might still snub their noses..

  Happy to teach anyone who wants to learn what i know,  and learn how not to slaughter quite as much,  haha...  Like Latin more anyway..  :greenthumb:

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Common names are a necessary evil in some situations especially for nurseries. The reality is that the majority of the population tune out unless they hear something descriptive about a plant that they can understand in their own language (think Golden Cane Palm vs Chrysalidocarpus lutescens). 
 

There are a few problems with common names. They are a serious source of confusion because palms are known by different common names in different areas of the world or even different regions in the same country (A cunninghamiana = Bangalow palm, piccabeen palm and king palm, but king palm is also a name for other Archontophoenix species including A alexandrae which also goes by Alexandra palm or Alexander palm which is also somehow a name for Prychosperma elegans!!!). Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is also known not only as Golden Cane Palm but also butterfly palm and Areca palm which is a completely different genus, similarly Cocos palm for Syagrus romanzoffiana which is also known as Queen palm is some places. 
 

The next and possibly even bigger problem with common names is that they don’t apply to the vast majority of species. I often get people ask me what the common name (or sometimes they even say real name!) of species are in my garden. No good answer exists for many. 

  • Like 4
  • Upvote 2

Tim Brisbane

Patterson Lakes, bayside Melbourne, Australia

Rarely Frost

2005 Minimum: 2.6C,  Maximum: 44C

2005 Average: 17.2C, warmest on record.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This problem is equally bad when discussing yuccas. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, andrebazhen said:

Hi all, I was wondering how often native English speakers use Latin names and common ones. For me (Russian language, not the Latin alphabet) it is unclear why people say traveler’s palm, if you can say Ravenala. If I say Hyophorbe instead of Bottle palm, will I sound pretentious? Or just non-palm people won't understand me?

Ι  always use latin names only; First, I dislike many of the common names as they sound kinda silly and random ("queen palm"). Makes me feel like I am talking about Barbie and Ken or smth. Yes, I am a pretentious snob when it comes to naming organisms.

Second because I have realized that the same common name is used for different species sometimes and causes confusion. 

However, I do realize why nurseries have to use common names. Not everyone is as geeky. People want words they can remember easily. 

  • Like 1

previously known as ego

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There seems to be a deeply ingrained impulse in gardening in the US (maybe it's something that comes from the British) to give everything a cute memorable common name. The nursery and landscaping world is very stuck in that mindset and I would agree that it's outdated and confusing. 

I do think that anyone who is remotely interested in growing or collecting tropical plants quickly realizes that common names don't cut it. Whether you are dealing with palms, orchids, or aroids, most of them just don't have common names (in English at least) so learning the "real" name is the only option. I have a lot of in-person conversations with plant people, and especially younger collectors have no problem speaking in terms of latin. I think that the ability to research different plants and their names online makes it a lot easier to be confidently specific. 

As for communicating with non-plant people, if I'm at a small nursery or a neighbor's garden I'll meet them where they are, I'm not going to pull out a latin name for something just to sound impressive. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with everyone above,  I use latin names.  It leaves little room for error.  

I have always been in the aquarium hobby, long before I started gardening, and we ALWAYS use latin names.  The vast majority of the fish don't have common names so it's ingrained in me.  The only difference is that with fish they are constantly reclassifying them, adding/splitting up new genera, so you have to stay on top of things.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In defense of common names, I might counter that reclassifying palms to different genera may be a reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Chester B said:

  The only difference is that with fish they are constantly reclassifying them, adding/splitting up new genera, so you have to stay on top of things.

This is happening with ...pretty much everything as well..  Have gone to check on a certain plant, insect, only to find the latin name had been changed.

The big change looming on the horizon will be Birds, especially numerous species here in the U.S.  Say goodbye to person- named species..  I've heard similar changes may be on the way for plants / other critters as well.

 

7 hours ago, tim_brissy_13 said:

Common names are a necessary evil in some situations especially for nurseries. The reality is that the majority of the population tune out unless they hear something descriptive about a plant that they can understand in their own language (think Golden Cane Palm vs Chrysalidocarpus lutescens). 
 

There is truth in this..  A way around it?  Point out something interesting about some easy to associate part of a latin name.

....Something containing words like  pubescens = fuzzy / covered in a layer of fuzzy hairs,  azureus = blue/ bluish,  nana = dwarf. Ranunculus = Little Frog.. bicolor = two colored.   Seems pretty easy to teach.


 My favorite " easy to digest" glimpse into understanding Latin names is the species name of a blow fly that is an obligate parasite.. 

While the Genus Cochliomyia might be harder to learn, ( = a combo of things that mean " Snail with a spiral shell "  and " fly " ) species name is easy,  and it's " common  name " meaning is pretty attention getting, no matter how much Latin you might / might not understand  ...hominivorax = Man consuming /  eater..  Even the least non- english- savy human on the planet would pick up on that.

Say it repeatedly enough times and you've opened the door to learning Latin ...Or might need to talk to someone, lol...

Want a much tougher challenge in Latin?, try learning all the terms often associated with the medical fields,  detailed Anatomy, ..etc.. 

Even my brain sputters a little trying to learn some of that stuff, even though i find it just as interesting to try and learn.




 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@andrebazhen nice to meet you! See my PM (private message).

You ask a really profound question in many ways.

In general, I concur heartily and heavily with @Darold Petty @Silas_Sancona @Chester B and @tim_brissy_13 in preferring Latin names when possible.

On the other hand, I'll raise a little (LOUD) peep of dissent in noting that some "common names" where properly descriptive to a naive listener can be a great marketing tool. Tell someone about Chambeyronia hookeri who's not a palm nut, and you'll likely get a blank stare; exclaim over a Flame Thrower Palm (and maybe show a picture) and you'll get excitement. Roystonea sounds like a cowboy with Dale Evans and too many doobies; Royal Palm gives at least an idea of its glory. One of the things we in the PSSC try to do is think up cool common names, in large part as a marketing tool for the palms and us. That said, there are still limits as almost everyone here has noted and I acknowledge. Coming up with good common names is a science and an art.

The other bigger thing is that the alleged precision of binomials is often more apparent than real. The factual, physical and other bases upon which some supposedly descriptive names rely can be pretty elusive. Exhibit "A" is the consolidation of Chrysalidocarpus, Vonitra, etc. into "Dypsis." Back when it was done, I thought it was crazy. Vonitra and Chrysalidocarpus aren't closely related, unless I'm missing something (which is always a possibility). Another problem is closely related species, or maybe subspecies? Exhibit "B" is the Chrys. baronii, onilahensis, lanceolata "complexes" of species.

Still, whatever you call them, I'll love them all . . . .

Sanity schmanity.

  • Like 1

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

 ...hominivorax = Man consuming /  eater..  

Thankfully we won't have a palm with a name including hominivorax!  😄

  • Like 2

Jon Sunder

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Thankfully we won't have a palm with a name including hominivorax!  😄

Sounds like a rogue Dr. Seuss character: Lorax meets Hominivorax!

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Thankfully we won't have a palm with a name including hominivorax!  😄

Depends.. slip off a trail, onto a really spiny one 80ft below, in the middle of nowhere and well...  human  palm Fertilizer?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Depends.. slip off a trail, onto a really spiny one 80ft below, in the middle of nowhere and well...  human  palm Fertilizer?

Maybe a species epithet - vladtheimpalerensis?

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Depends.. slip off a trail, onto a really spiny one 80ft below, in the middle of nowhere and well...  human  palm Fertilizer?

Like high in the mountains of India and having a Plectocomia himalayana break your fall?  Ouch!

  • Like 1

Jon Sunder

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Like high in the mountains of India and having a Plectocomia himalayana break your fall?  Ouch!

Or maybe doing a bit of horseback riding on the Pampas in Argentina and your horse spooks and runs headlong into a thicket of Acrocomias. And heaven help similarly situated Lady Godivas (and their male counterparts) of the Pampas.

  • Upvote 1

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

Or maybe doing a bit of horseback riding on the Pampas in Argentina and your horse spooks and runs headlong into a thicket of Acrocomias. And heaven help similarly situated Lady Godivas (and their male counterparts) of the Pampas.

And the common name for Acrocomia as I recall is the "Toilet Paper Palm".  

  • Like 1

Jon Sunder

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Like high in the mountains of India and having a Plectocomia himalayana break your fall?  Ouch!

Definitely painful..

Thinking having a one on one run in with any of the Astrocaryum ( A. mexicana or standleyanum  for instance ) Aiphanes ...horrida..  while wandering thru some hot and humid  corner of Mexico or Cen. America  might not be pleasant either..  Still home to our " friendly " fly too. Parts of Cen. America at least.. ( new issues in Costa Rica / Panama atm )

Manicaria saccifera  seems like it would be nicer to meet though..

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer the clear message of the Latin binomial. There is no confusion about which palm is being discussed anywhere on earth. I understand the ease of local nicknames, but they quickly lose their validity in a global context. Just my take.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Always the botanical/Latin name. Too much confusion with common names. I studied horticulture at college many years ago and have worked in the industry most of my life and it was drummed into me from an early age not to use common names.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/8/2024 at 10:58 PM, tim_brissy_13 said:

Common names are a necessary evil in some situations especially for nurseries. The reality is that the majority of the population tune out unless they hear something descriptive about a plant that they can understand in their own language (think Golden Cane Palm vs Chrysalidocarpus lutescens). 
 

There are a few problems with common names. They are a serious source of confusion because palms are known by different common names in different areas of the world or even different regions in the same country (A cunninghamiana = Bangalow palm, piccabeen palm and king palm, but king palm is also a name for other Archontophoenix species including A alexandrae which also goes by Alexandra palm or Alexander palm which is also somehow a name for Prychosperma elegans!!!). Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is also known not only as Golden Cane Palm but also butterfly palm and Areca palm which is a completely different genus, similarly Cocos palm for Syagrus romanzoffiana which is also known as Queen palm is some places. 
 

The next and possibly even bigger problem with common names is that they don’t apply to the vast majority of species. I often get people ask me what the common name (or sometimes they even say real name!) of species are in my garden. No good answer exists for many. 

In Hawai`i Golden Cane Palm vs Chrysalidocarpus lutescens). are called Areca Palms

Steve

Born in the Bronx

Raised in Brooklyn

Matured In Wai`anae

I can't be held responsible for anything I say or do....LOL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Florida, too, unfortunately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/8/2024 at 11:32 PM, andrebazhen said:

Hi all, I was wondering how often native English speakers use Latin names and common ones. For me (Russian language, not the Latin alphabet) it is unclear why people say traveler’s palm, if you can say Ravenala. If I say Hyophorbe instead of Bottle palm, will I sound pretentious? Or just non-palm people won't understand me?

If you are serious about palms you should use a palm’s Latin name, i.e. genus + species. Otherwise, you end up in the “Areca” vs “Golden Cane” fiasco, obsolete no-longer-valid names - “Neanthe bella” vs “Chamaedorea elegans”, or the inane “Christmas Palm”  instead of “Adonidia merrilii“. Marketing wizards are responsible for inaccurate, obsolete and/or cutesy common names to wow palm illiterati. Don’t fall for the hype.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

If you are serious about palms you should use a palm’s Latin name, i.e. genus + species. Otherwise, you end up in the “Areca” vs “Golden Cane” fiasco, obsolete no-longer-valid names - “Neanthe bella” vs “Chamaedorea elegans”, or the inane “Christmas Palm”  instead of “Adonidia merrilii“. Marketing wizards are responsible for inaccurate, obsolete and/or cutesy common names to wow palm illiterati. Don’t fall for the hype.

Well said!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good one is the Australian Fan Palm. There are about 25 species of fan palms in Australia, in 3 genera. Of the 45 odd species of cycads here (Cycas, Lepidozamia and Macrozamia) most have the common name Zamia Palm.

But binomial scientific names have some oddities too. The American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana comes from Africa, as does the Australian Cockroach, Periplaneta australasiae. Although, these days through human activity both species are now worldwide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Imagine having to say Joey Palm instead of Johannesteijsmannia Altifrons XD

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

My Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@dts_3
Palms in Ground Currently: Rhapidophyllum Hystrix (x1), Butia Capitata (x1), Sabal Causiarum (x2), Sabal Louisiana (x1).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...