Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh, Those Common Names

One new plant today, and a little discussion. This plant is tiny, but I think it's a little beauty. It's Cumberland or Mercury Spurge, Euphorbia mercurialina, another southern species.

Cumberland spurge

Euphorbias, like this is, are the plants I usually think of as being called spurges. I've shown you a number of succulent ones from the Philadelphia flower show. And there are some that grow wild around here. I haven't done a good job of getting their pictures yet.

But remember yesterday, I said the plant that looks something like an orchid, that Chuck said looks like a maggot tree (it does, too), is called Allegheny spurge. These plants are not related at all.

As it turns out, the word spurge comes from Middle English where it means to purge. The milky sap of many of the plants with that common name is a strong laxative, if not outright poisonous.

Here is one more Euphorbia from the 2009 flower show, that I really loved. Euphorbia x martinii 'Tiny Tim' spurge

This is just a reminder that common names are fine to use, but they can't really tell you about the relationships of plants to one another like the Latin names can.

See Philadelphia Flower Show 2013: Euphorbias
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!


Ratty said...

I really like the picture of the Tiny Tim Spurge. I'm not sure why it's so attractive to me. I'm never quite sure with plants. Maybe it's the shape and all the green.

Ann said...

my biggest problem with the latin names is that I can't remember the common names so there's no way I would remember the latin one...lol
I love those tiny little green flowers

vanilla said...

Argument for learning Latin, almost compelling. Like Ann, I can't remember the common names.

Secondary Roads said...

Does the "mercury" derive from the white edged blossoms? Tiny Tim is a most pleasing plant at which to look.

Duxbury Ramblers said...

I love the common names of plants and my latin is shocking but I appreciate the need for it and must endure the very testing and tongue tying pronunciation, which sometimes has me and all the group in stitches.

RNSANE said...

I had enough learning Latin names in nursing school. I might not remember the names of those plants but I might remember if I ate one and it purged me!!!!

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin