Plants have many names!
Often, plants are displayed using their common names. Common names are often provincial, can describe an aspect of the plant, and can sometimes be hilarious. The snake plant, for instance, is also known as Mother-in-law?s tongue because of its sharp pointed shape (sharp and pointed?just like a mother-in-law, get it?).
While one plant can have many common names, it only has one scientific name. Scientific naming is used to group a plant species with other closely related species. Carl Linnaeus developed scientific naming?and don?t you worry, I?ll cover more about him in a later post.
And while a common name or a scientific name can tell you a lot about your plant, these names are impersonal! Common and scientific names represent many plants, not just your houseplant. For us at Welltended, we like to foster a relationship with our plants by giving them their own unique name ? something that we think helps the plant develop a personality.
I do not claim to be a anthropologist (far from it), but to help with the naming process I?ve interviewed a few plant owners, and I believe I understand the major trends and themes behind the naming of plants. So, without further ado: Here are my notes on plant nicknames!
Nickname or None
Houseplant owners are split into two camps: those who name and those who do not. For the ones who choose not to bestow a nickname onto their plant, I found their main reasons to be:
- They prefer to save the naming for other things such as pets (well, for some plants are like pets?or at least the gateway to a dog or cat)
- They don?t want to name their plants because they have a fear it will die (at Welltended, we relieve this stress by offering expert care instructions written by yours truly, and even providing automated watering reminders and customer support!).
- Prefer to the common and scientific names (fair enough).
- Never thought to do it (well after reading this, you have no excuse).
Major themes in nicknaming plants
For those of us who do nickname plants, we do it because it provides a bit of personality to our leafy friends. Life is short?name your plant!
I have compiled the major themes in plant nicknames, as well as provided examples of each theme. If you think I have missed any major naming themes please send me an email at [email protected], I would love to know!
Old Fashioned Names
Perhaps a bit dated nowadays, they make excellent names for plants:
Martha, Evelyn, Harold, Roger, Gerard, Bertrand, Bertha, Ida, Albert, Archibald, Cornelius, Clyde, Ernest, Virgil, Florence, Myrtle, Edith, Winnifred, Selma, Walter, Marj
Why stop with humans, give plants the same names!
Chuck, Brad, Richard, Gary, Martha, Chad, Kevin, Greg, Steve, Jim, Barbara , Linda, Susan, Karen, Betty, Donna, Deborah, Chris, Amy, Eric, Cheryl, Judy, Keith, Ralph, Bruce, Fred, Newman, Mark
Historical Figures, Mythology, Famous People, Characters from Books/TV/Movies
No part of human culture is safe from being bestowed onto a plant.
Zeus, Odin, Hera, Athena, Caesar, Abraham Lincoln , Brad Pitt , Gandalf, Bilbo, Beyonc, Nic Cage, Bill Murray, Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher.
Why bother with complex names, just describe it.
Plant, Leaf, Shrub, My Bamboo, Flower, Cactus, Tree, Friend, Life, Partner
Don?t stop with your new dog or cat! Continue right on with your plants.
Spike, Snuggles, Sparkle, Rover
Adjectives (sort of)
Sometimes merely a description will do.
Jerk (maybe it sheds leaves on your expensive carpet), Mr. Prickles, Purple Plant, Love of My Life,
Points for adding puns and/or alliteration into your plant naming scheme
Now here are the advanced maneuvering of plant naming.
King Cactut, Morgan Tree Man, Orlando Bloom, Roman Plantski, Tree Diddy, Succulberry Finn, WOODrow Wilson, SucCUTElent, Herb(ert), Treeminator, Leaf Erickson, Hocus Crocus, Cactus Everdeen, ?Hello? Vera, Shane the sharp, Justin TIMBERlake, Jennifer Plantiston
I hope you?ve enjoyed my brief overview of plant nicknames! As you can see the possibilities are endless?and we?ve thought about this a lot. There really are no bad plant names (for the most part).
Do you have a nickname for you plant? If so we want to hear about it!! Tag #welltended on Instagram or Facebook with a picture of your plant, its nickname, and an explanation for how you came up with your plants name. We may feature you on Welltended?s social media pages!