What's in a name
Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Common names. Latin names. So many names. There are those within the realm of gardening that refuse to ever refer to a plant with the common name. I certainly understand this, since common names are many times regional. What someone in the South refers to with one name can be a completely different species in the North. I do, however, refer to plants with the common names. I feel it makes them more "user friendly," lol! The Latin name of a species is the ultimate identifier for a plant. Let's use Black-eyed Susan as an example. There are a couple of different species of Rudbeckia that many call Black-eyed Susan. Rudbeckia Hirta is considered to be a biennial, or a short lived perennial. They are a prolific reseeder, and this is why many think of them as a perennial. Rudbeckia fulgida is a perennial Black-eyed Susan, and is also called Orange Coneflower. The flowers looks identical. You can distinguish between the two by looking at the leaves. The leaves of the hirta are narrower and fuzzy, with a bit of a grey tinge, where as fulgida has fuller, shiny leaves. Fulgida, in my experience, tends to do better growing in pots. When buying native plants, it is important to know the Latin names, so you'll know what you are getting, and what it requires for successful growing.