List of plant genus names with etymologies (A–C)

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Canistrum (from the Greek for "basket")

Since the first printing of Carl Linnaeus's Species Plantarum in 1753, plants have been assigned one epithet or name for their species and one name for their genus, a grouping of related species.[1] Many of these genera (genuses) are listed in Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners. William Stearn (1911–2001) was one of the pre-eminent British botanists of the 20th century: a Librarian of the Royal Horticultural Society, a president of the Linnean Society and the original drafter of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants.[2][3]

The first column below contains seed-bearing genera from Stearn and other sources as listed, excluding those names that no longer appear in more modern works, such as Plants of the World by Maarten J. M. Christenhusz (lead author), Michael F. Fay and Mark W. Chase.[4] Plants of the World is also used for the family and order classification for each genus. The second column gives a meaning or derivation of the word, such as a language of origin. The last two columns indicate additional citations.


Latin: = derived from Latin (otherwise Greek, except as noted)
Ba = listed in Ross Bayton's The Gardener's Botanical[5]
Bu = listed in Lotte Burkhardt's Index of Eponymic Plant Names[6]
CS = listed in both Allen Coombes's The A to Z of Plant Names[7] and Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners
G = listed in David Gledhill's The Names of Plants[8]
St = listed in Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners


in a suspended crate
Bombax seed and silk
on a post
Cercocarpus fruits
Potted Cereus
Genus[b] Meaning or derivation Family[4] Order[4] Ref G
Abeliophyllum Abelia-like leaves Oleaceae Lamiales CS G
Abelmoschus from Arabic for musky (the seeds) Malvaceae Malvales CS
Abies Latin: rising. Latin name.[c] Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Abobra Brazilian name Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Abroma inedible Malvaceae Malvales St G
Abronia dainty (the bracts) Nyctaginaceae Caryophyllales St G
Abrophyllum dainty leaves Rousseaceae Asterales St G
Abrus from an Arabic name or Greek Fabaceae Fabales St G
Abutilon Arabic name Malvaceae Malvales CS G
Acacia sharp tips. Greek name. Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Acaena thorns Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Acalypha Greek name Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales CS G
Acampe unbending (the flowers or stems) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Acanthocereus thorn-Cereus Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Acantholimon thorn-Limonium Plumbaginaceae Caryophyllales St G
Acanthophoenix thorn-Phoenix Arecaceae Arecales St
Acanthostachys thorn spike (the bracts) Bromeliaceae Poales St
Acanthus thorns[4] Acanthaceae Lamiales CS G
Acca Peruvian name Myrtaceae Myrtales CS
Acer Latin name Sapindaceae Sapindales CS G
Achillea Achilles of mythology[d] Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Achimenes (unknown) Gesneriaceae Lamiales CS G
Achlys Achlys of mythology Berberidaceae Ranunculales CS G
Acineta motionless (the lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Aciphylla sharp leaves Apiaceae Apiales Ba G
Acis Acis of Greek mythology Amaryllidaceae Asparagales Ba
Ackama Māori name Cunoniaceae Oxalidales St
Acoelorrhaphe not hollow-seamed Arecaceae Arecales Ba G
Acokanthera sharp-tipped anthers Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Aconitum Greek name Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Acorus Latin name[4] Acoraceae Acorales CS G
Acradenia apex glands Rutaceae Sapindales Ba G
Acrocomia top lock of hair (the leaves) Arecaceae Arecales St
Acronychia end claw (on the petals) Rutaceae Sapindales St
Acrophyllum end leaves Cunoniaceae Oxalidales St
Actaea Greek and Latin name Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Actinidia radiating (the styles)[4] Actinidiaceae Ericales CS G
Actinotus radiating (the bracts) Apiaceae Apiales St G
Adenandra glandular male parts Rutaceae Sapindales St
Adenanthera glandular anthers Fabaceae Fabales St
Adenia Arabic name Passifloraceae Malpighiales Ba G
Adenium Arabic name Passifloraceae Malpighiales St G
Adenocarpus glandular (sticky) fruit Fabaceae Fabales St G
Adenostoma glandular mouth (the calyx) Rosaceae Rosales St
Adonis Adonis of mythology Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Adoxa without stature[4] Viburnaceae Dipsacales St G
Adromischus thick stems Crassulaceae Saxifragales Ba G
Aechmea pointed (the calyx) Bromeliaceae Poales St G
Aegilops Greek name Poaceae Poales St G
Aegle Aegle, a Naiad Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Aeglopsis Aegle, a Naiad Rutaceae Sapindales Bu
Aegopodium goat's foot (the leaves) Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Aeollanthus Aeolus (wind god) + flower Lamiaceae Lamiales Bu G
Aeonium Latin name Crassulaceae Saxifragales CS G
Aerangis air cups Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Aeranthes air flowers Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Aerides air Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Aerva Arabic name Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales St
Aeschynanthus blushing flowers Gesneriaceae Lamiales St G
Aesculus Latin name Sapindaceae Sapindales CS G
Aethionema odd filament (the stamens) Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Aethusa Aethusa, daughter of the god Poseidon Apiaceae Apiales Bu G
Aframomum African Amomum Zingiberaceae Zingiberales St G
Agalmyla glory of the forest Gesneriaceae Lamiales St
Aganisia gentleness Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Aganosma gentle scent Apocynaceae Gentianales St
Agapanthus love flowers Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Agapetes loved ones Ericaceae Ericales St G
Agastache remarkable or plentiful (flower) spikes Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Agathis ball of thread (the catkins) Araucariaceae Pinales CS G
Agathosma good scent Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Agave praiseworthy (the flowers) Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Ageratina Ageratum-like Asteraceae Asterales Ba
Ageratum never-aging (the flowers) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Aglaia Aglaea of mythology Meliaceae Sapindales St
Aglaonema shining thread (the stamens) Araceae Alismatales CS G
Agonis congregation (the seeds) Myrtaceae Myrtales St
Agoseris goat lettuce Asteraceae Asterales Ba
Agrimonia Greek name Rosaceae Rosales St G
Agrostemma field wreaths Caryophyllaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Agrostis Greek name Poaceae Poales St G
Aichryson ever-gold. Greek name. Crassulaceae Saxifragales CS G
Ailanthus Moluccan name Simaroubaceae Sapindales CS G
Aiphanes ragged (the leaves) or ever-shining (the flowers) Arecaceae Arecales St G
Aira Greek name Poaceae Poales St G
Ajania Ayan, Russia Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Ajuga Latin name Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Akebia Japanese name Lardizabalaceae Ranunculales CS G
Alangium Keralan name Cornaceae Cornales St G
Albuca Latin: whitish Asparagaceae Asparagales Ba G
Alcea Greek and Latin name Malvaceae Malvales CS G
Alchemilla Arabic name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Aletris meal-grinder (they are powdery) Nartheciaceae Dioscoreales St G
Aleurites floury (they are sometimes powdery) Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales St G
Alisma Greek name[4] Alismataceae Alismatales CS G
Alkanna Arabic name Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Alliaria Latin: garlic-like Brassicaceae Brassicales Ba G
Allium Latin name Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Alloplectus diverse weaving (the overlapping sepals) Gesneriaceae Lamiales St
Alnus Latin name Betulaceae Fagales CS G
Alocasia separate from Colocasia Araceae Alismatales CS G
Aloe Arabic name Asphodelaceae Asparagales CS G
Aloinopsis like Aloe Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Alopecurus fox tails (the grass) Poaceae Poales St G
Alphitonia mealy (the fruit) Rhamnaceae Rosales St
Alseuosmia grove fragrance[4] Alseuosmiaceae Asterales St G
Alsobia grove life Gesneriaceae Lamiales Ba
Alternanthera Latin: alternating anthers (are fertile) Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Althaea Greek name Malvaceae Malvales CS G
Alyogyne whole female parts Malvaceae Malvales Ba G
Alyssum Latin and Greek name Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Alyxia chain (the fruits), possibly Apocynaceae Gentianales St
Amaranthus unfading[4] Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Amaryllis Amaryllis, a Greek shepherdess from classical poetry[4] Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Ambrosia ambrosia Asteraceae Asterales St G
Amelanchier French name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Ammi Greek and Latin name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Ammobium sand-living Asteraceae Asterales St G
Ammocharis sand beauty Amaryllidaceae Asparagales St G
Ammophila sand-loving Poaceae Poales CS G
Amomum Greek name Zingiberaceae Zingiberales St G
Amomyrtus Amomis + Myrtus Myrtaceae Myrtales Ba
Amorpha deformed (the corollas) Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Amorphophallus deformed phallus Araceae Alismatales CS G
Ampelopsis vine-like Vitaceae Vitales CS G
Anacampseros Greek name[4] Anacamp­serotaceae Caryophyllales St G
Anacamptis bending back (possibly the orchid's spur) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Anacardium Greek name[4] Anacardiaceae Sapindales St G
Anacyclus flowerless circle (the corollas) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Anagyris Greek and Latin name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Ananas Tupi (South American) name Bromeliaceae Poales CS G
Anaphalis Greek name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Anastatica resurrection (it recovers quickly from drought) Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Anchusa Greek and Latin name Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Andira Brazilian name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Andrachne Greek name Phyllanthaceae Malpighiales St G
Andromeda Andromeda of mythology Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Andropogon man beard (the spikelets) Poaceae Poales CS G
Androsace Greek name Primulaceae Ericales CS G
Androstephium male-parts crown (the stamens) Asparagaceae Asparagales St
Anemanthele wind plume Poaceae Poales Ba
Anemarrhena without filaments (the stamens) Asparagaceae Asparagales St G
Anemone blood-red Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Anemonopsis like Anemone Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Anemopaegma wind-playing Bignoniaceae Lamiales St G
Anemopsis like Anemone Saururaceae Piperales CS
Anethum Greek name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Angelica Latin: angelic Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Angelonia South American name Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Angophora vessel-bearing (fruit-bearing) Myrtaceae Myrtales St
Angraecum Malay name Orchidaceae Asparagales CS G
Ania troublesome (maybe taxonomically) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Anigozanthos wide-open flowers, perhaps Haemodoraceae Commelinales St G
Anisodontea unequal teeth Malvaceae Malvales Ba G
Anisotome jagged (the leaves) Apiaceae Apiales St G
Annona Taíno name[4] Annonaceae Magnoliales St G
Anoda perhaps a Sinhalese name Malvaceae Malvales St G
Anoectochilus open lips Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Anopterus upturned wings Escalloniaceae Escalloniales Ba G
Anredera (unclear) Basellaceae Caryophyllales St
Antennaria Latin: antenna-like (the bristles) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Anthemis Greek name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Anthericum Greek name Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Anthoxanthum flowers of yellow Poaceae Poales CS G
Anthriscus Greek name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Anthurium flower tail (the spikes) Araceae Alismatales CS G
Anthyllis Greek name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Antiaris Javanese derivation Moraceae Rosales St G
Anticlea Anticlea, mother of the mythological hero Odysseus Melanthiaceae Liliales Bu
Antidesma (unclear) Phyllanthaceae Malpighiales St G
Antigonon perhaps angled or zig-zag Polygonaceae Caryophyllales St G
Antirrhinum nearly a nose (the flowers) Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Anubias Anubis Araceae Alismatales St G
Aotus earless (the simple calyx) Fabaceae Fabales St
Aphanostephus inconspicuous adornment (the flower heads) Asteraceae Asterales St
Aphelandra simple male part (the anthers) Acanthaceae Lamiales CS G
Aphyllanthes leafless flower (the long, bare stalks) Asparagaceae Asparagales St G
Apios pear (the shape of the tubers) Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Apium Latin name[4] Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Aplectrum (orchid flowers) without a spur Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Apocynum Greek name[4] Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Aponogeton near (hot springs at) Abano Terme[4] Aponogetonaceae Alismatales St G
Aptenia wingless (the capsules) Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Aquilegia eagle Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Arabidopsis like Arabis Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Arabis Arabian Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Arachis Greek name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Arachnis Arachne, mythological woman who was transformed into a spider Orchidaceae Asparagales Bu
Aralia French-Canadian name[4] Araliaceae Apiales CS G
Araucaria Araucanos (now Mapuche) Araucariaceae Pinales CS G
Arbutus Latin name Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Archontophoenix lordly palm Arecaceae Arecales St G
Arctium Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Arctostaphylos bear grapes Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Arctotheca bear casing Asteraceae Asterales Ba
Arctotis bear's ear (the scales) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Ardisia pointed (the anthers) Primulaceae Ericales CS G
Areca Malabar name[4] Arecaceae Arecales St G
Arenaria Latin: sand Caryophyllaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Arenga Malayan or Moluccan name Arecaceae Arecales St G
Arethusa Arethusa Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Argania Moroccan name Sapotaceae Ericales St
Argemone Greek name Papaveraceae Ranunculales CS G
Argyranthemum silver flowers Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Argyreia silvery (the backs of the leaves) Convolvulaceae Solanales St G
Argyrocytisus silver Cytisus Fabaceae Fabales Ba
Argyroderma silver-skin (the leaves) Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Ariocarpus fruit like Sorbus aria Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Arisaema Arum-blood Araceae Alismatales CS G
Arisarum Greek name Araceae Alismatales CS G
Aristea Greek: best, Latin: pointed, or awned (the bracts) Iridaceae Asparagales CS G
Aristolochia best childbirth (for which some species used to be prescribed)[4] Aristolochiaceae Piperales CS G
Armeria French and Latin name Plumbaginaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Armoracia Latin name Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Arnebia Arabic name Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Arnica Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Aronia Greek name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Arpophyllum sickle-shaped leaves Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Arracacia Spanish name Apiaceae Apiales St
Arrhenatherum male bristle (the male awns) Poaceae Poales CS G
Artabotrys supported (suspended) bunches (of fruit) Annonaceae Magnoliales St G
Artemisia Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Arthrocereus jointed Cereus Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Arthropodium jointed foot (the flower stalks) Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Artocarpus bread fruit Moraceae Rosales St G
Arum Greek and Latin name[4] Araceae Alismatales CS G
Aruncus Latin name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Arundinaria like Arundo Poaceae Poales CS G
Arundo Latin: reeds Poaceae Poales CS G
Asarina Spanish name Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Asarum Greek and Latin name Aristolochiaceae Piperales CS G
Asclepias Greek and Latin name Apocynaceae Gentianales CS G
Asimina Indian name Annonaceae Magnoliales CS G
Asparagus Latin name[4] Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Asperugo rough (the leaves) Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Asperula little rough Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Asphodeline like Asphodelus Asphodelaceae Asparagales CS G
Asphodelus Greek name[4] Asphodelaceae Asparagales CS G
Aspidistra small shield (the stigmas) Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Astartea Astarte, a god Myrtaceae Myrtales Bu G
Astartoseris Astarte, a god Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Astelia trunkless Asteliaceae Asparagales Ba G
Aster Latin: stars[4] Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Asteranthera star anthers Gesneriaceae Lamiales CS G
Asteropeia Asteropeia, daughter of the mythological king Pelias Asteropeiaceae Caryophyllales Bu
Astilbe dull (the leaves) Saxifragaceae Saxifragales CS G
Astilboides Astilbe-like Saxifragaceae Saxifragales Ba G
Astraea Astraea, a goddess Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales Bu
Astragalus Greek and Latin name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Astrantia possibly Medieval Latin: stars Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Astroloba star lobes Asphodelaceae Asparagales St
Astrophytum star plant Cactaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Astydamia Astydameia, a mythological woman Apiaceae Apiales Bu
Asyneuma not joined (the corolla lobes) Campanulaceae Asterales St G
Atalantia Atalanta Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Athamanta probably Athamas Apiaceae Apiales St G
Athenaea Athena, a god Solanaceae Solanales Bu
Atherosperma awned seeds, or a reference to the fruit[4] Athero­spermataceae Laurales St G
Athrotaxis arranged in crowds Cupressaceae Pinales Ba G
Atriplex Latin name Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Atropa Atropos Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Attalea (unclear) Arecaceae Arecales St
Aucuba Japanese name Garryaceae Garryales CS G
Aurinia Latin: golden (flowers) Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Austrocedrus southern cedar Cupressaceae Pinales Ba G
Austrocylindropuntia southern Cylindropuntia Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Austroderia southern Cortaderia Poaceae Poales Ba
Avena Latin name Poaceae Poales CS G
Azolla dry-killing (drought kills them) Salviniaceae Salviniales CS G
Azorella Azores + small Apiaceae Apiales Ba G
Azorina Azores Campanulaceae Asterales Ba
Aztekium Aztecs Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Babiana from Afrikaans Iridaceae Asparagales CS G
Baccharis Bacchus Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Bacopa South American name Plantaginaceae Lamiales St G
Bactris walking stick Arecaceae Arecales St G
Bahiella Bahia, a state of Brazil Apocynaceae Gentianales Bu
Balaka Fijian name Arecaceae Arecales St
Ballota Greek name Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Balsamorhiza Greek name + root Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Bambusa Malayan name Poaceae Poales St G
Baphia dye Fabaceae Fabales St G
Baptisia (indigo) dyeing Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Barbarea Saint Barbara Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Basella Malabar name[4] Basellaceae Caryophyllales St G
Bellis Latin: attractive Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Bellium like Bellis Asteraceae Asterales St G
Benitoa San Benito County, California Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Bentleya Bentley College in Perth, Western Australia (present-day Curtin University) Pittosporaceae Apiales Bu
Berberidopsis like Berberis[4] Berberidop­sidaceae Berberidopsidales CS G
Berberis Arabic name[4] Berberidaceae Ranunculales CS G
Berenice Bernica, the ravine in Réunion where the plant was discovered Campanulaceae Asterales Bu
Beta Latin name Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Betonica from the name of a Spanish plant Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Betula Latin name[4] Betulaceae Fagales CS G
Bia Bia, a goddess Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales Bu
Biarum Greek name Araceae Alismatales Ba G
Bidens Latin: two teeth (on the dried fruit) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Bifrenaria double bridle (the pollinia stalks) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Biophytum life plant Oxalidaceae Oxalidales Ba G
Biscutella Latin: two dishes (the shape of the fruits) Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Bistorta Medieval Latin name Polygonaceae Caryophyllales St G
Bixa Carib name[4] Bixaceae Malvales St G
Blyxa gushing (the habitat), possibly Hydrocharitaceae Alismatales St
Bolax clod Apiaceae Apiales Ba G
Bombax silk (the seed capsules' stuffing) Malvaceae Malvales St G
Borago Latin: hairy clothes, possibly (the leaves)[4] Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Borassus spadix of the date palm Arecaceae Arecales St G
Bothriochloa pitted grass Poaceae Poales Ba G
Brabejum sceptre or prize Proteaceae Proteales St
Brachychiton short coat (including the scales) Malvaceae Malvales St G
Brachyglottis short-tongued Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Brachypodium short-footed Poaceae Poales Ba G
Brachyscome short lock of hair (the pappuses). Previously Brachycome. Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Brassica Latin name[4] Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Briza Greek name Poaceae Poales CS G
Bromus Greek name Poaceae Poales CS G
Brosimum edible Moraceae Rosales St G
Bryonia Greek name Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Buglossoides Buglossum-like (now Anchusa) Boraginaceae Boraginales Ba G
Bulbine Greek name Asphodelaceae Asparagales CS G
Bulbinella little Bulbine Asphodelaceae Asparagales CS G
Bulbophyllum bulb leaves Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Bunium Greek name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Buphthalmum ox eye Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Bupleurum ox rib. Greek name. Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Bursaria purse (the fruits) Pittosporaceae Apiales St G
Butia Brazilian name Arecaceae Arecales St G
Butomus ox-cutting (the inedible leaves harm cattle)[4] Butomaceae Alismatales CS G
Buxus Greek and Latin name[4] Buxaceae Buxales CS G
Byblis Byblis, a mythological character Byblidaceae Lamiales Bu G
Cabomba Guianese name[4] Cabombaceae Nymphaeales St G
Caiophora (hairs) causing a burn Loasaceae Cornales St G
Cajanus Malay name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Cakile Arabic name Brassicaceae Brassicales Ba G
Caladium Malay name Araceae Alismatales CS G
Calamagrostis reed grass Poaceae Poales Ba G
Calamus Greek name Arecaceae Arecales St G
Calanthe attractive flowers Orchidaceae Asparagales CS G
Calathea basket (the bracts) Marantaceae Zingiberales CS G
Calceolaria slipper (the flowers) Calceolariaceae Lamiales CS G
Calendula first day of the month Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Calla attractive Araceae Alismatales CS G
Calliandra attractive stamens Fabaceae Fabales St G
Callicarpa attractive fruit Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Callicoma attractive hair Cunoniaceae Oxalidales St G
Callirhoe Callirrhoe Malvaceae Malvales CS G
Callisia beauty Commelinaceae Commelinales CS G
Callistemon attractive stamens Myrtaceae Myrtales CS G
Callistephus attractive crown (the flowers) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Callitriche attractive hair Plantaginaceae Lamiales St G
Callitris attractive triples (the leaves, for instance) Cupressaceae Pinales St G
Calluna tidying or beautifying Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Calocedrus attractive cedar Cupressaceae Pinales CS G
Calocephalus attractive head (the flowers) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Calochortus attractive grass Liliaceae Liliales CS G
Calodendrum attractive tree Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Calophaca attractive lentil Fabaceae Fabales St G
Calophyllum beautiful leaves[4] Calophyllaceae Malpighiales St G
Calopogon attractive beard (on the lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Calothamnus attractive shrub Myrtaceae Myrtales St G
Calotropis attractive boat Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Caltha Latin name Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Calycanthus calyx flower (the sepals are like the petals)[4] Calycanthaceae Laurales CS G
Calypso Calypso Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Calystegia cup or calyx roof Convolvulaceae Solanales Ba G
Calytrix Hairy calyx. Previously Calythrix. Myrtaceae Myrtales St G
Camassia Chinookan name Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Camonea Camonea, a nymph Convolvulaceae Solanales Bu
Campanula Latin: little bell (the flowers)[4] Campanulaceae Asterales CS G
Camphorosma camphor-scented Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales St G
Campsidium Campsis-like Bignoniaceae Lamiales St G
Campsis curved (the stamens) Bignoniaceae Lamiales CS G
Cananga Malayan name Annonaceae Magnoliales St G
Canarina Canary Islands Campanulaceae Asterales St G
Canavalia Malabar name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Canella little Canna[4] Canellaceae Canellales St G
Canistrum Latin: basket (the bracts) Bromeliaceae Poales St G
Canna Irish Celtic word for a reed or cane[4] Cannaceae Zingiberales CS G
Cannabis Greek and Latin name[4] Cannabaceae Rosales St G
Cannomois reed-like Restionaceae Poales Ba
Cantua Peruvian name Polemoniaceae Ericales CS G
Capelio anagram of Alciope, a nymph Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Capparis Greek name[4] Capparaceae Brassicales St G
Capsicum bite (the spiciness) Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Caragana Mongol name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Caralluma Telugu name, possibly Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Cardamine Greek name Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Cardiocrinum heart lily (the leaves) Liliaceae Liliales CS G
Cardiospermum heart seed (white spots on the seeds) Sapindaceae Sapindales CS G
Carduncellus little Carduus Asteraceae Asterales St G
Carduus Latin name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Carex Latin name Cyperaceae Poales CS G
Carica Latin name[4] Caricaceae Brassicales St G
Carissa originally from Sanskrit Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Carpentaria Gulf of Carpentaria Arecaceae Arecales Bu
Carpinus Latin name Betulaceae Fagales CS G
Carpobrotus edible fruit Aizoaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Carpodetus constricted fruit (narrower in the middle) Rousseaceae Asterales St G
Carthamus from Arabic Asteraceae Asterales St G
Carum Greek name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Carya Greek name Juglandaceae Fagales CS G
Caryopteris nut wing (the wings on the fruit) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Caryota nut Arecaceae Arecales St G
Cassia Greek name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Cassiope Cassiopeia Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Castanea Greek and Latin name Fagaceae Fagales CS G
Castanopsis Castanea-like Fagaceae Fagales St G
Castanospermum Castanea seed Fabaceae Fabales St G
Casuarina From a Malaysian word for cassowary[4] Casuarinaceae Fagales St G
Catalpa Native American name Bignoniaceae Lamiales CS G
Catananche Greek name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Catasetum bristles pointing down (on the columns) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Catha Arabic name Celastraceae Celastrales St G
Catharanthus spotless flowers Apocynaceae Gentianales Ba G
Caulophyllum stem-leaf (the single large leaf) Berberidaceae Ranunculales St G
Ceanothus Greek name Rhamnaceae Rosales CS G
Cecropia Cecrops I Urticaceae Rosales St G
Cedrela Latin: little cedar Meliaceae Sapindales St G
Cedronella Latin: little cedar Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Cedrus Greek and Latin name Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Ceiba South American name Malvaceae Malvales St G
Celastrus Greek name[4] Celastraceae Celastrales CS G
Celmisia Celmisios, whose mother was the Greek nymph Alciope Asteraceae Asterales St G
Celosia burning (the hues of the flowers) Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Celtis Greek name Cannabaceae Rosales CS G
Centaurea centaur Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Centaurium centaur Gentianaceae Gentianales St G
Centauropsis Chiron, a centaur Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Centaurothamnus Chiron (a centaur) + bush Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Centradenia spur + gland (on the anthers) Melastomataceae Myrtales St G
Centranthus spur flowers Caprifoliaceae Dipsacales CS G
Centropogon spur beard (on the stigmas) Campanulaceae Asterales St G
Centrosema spur + standard Fabaceae Fabales St G
Cephalanthus head of flowers Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Cephalaria (flower) heads Caprifoliaceae Dipsacales CS G
Cephalocereus head Cereus Cactaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Cephalostachyum head spike (the flower spikes) Poaceae Poales St
Cephalotaxus head Taxus Taxaceae Pinales St G
Cephalotus head-like[4] Cephalotaceae Oxalidales G
Cerastium horn (the shape of the capsules) Caryophyllaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Ceratonia Greek name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Ceratopetalum horned (antler-shaped) petals Cunoniaceae Oxalidales St G
Ceratophyllum horned (antler-shaped) leaves[4] Ceratophyllaceae Ceratophyllales CS G
Ceratostigma horn stigmas Plumbaginaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Ceratozamia horn Zamia (the horned scales) Zamiaceae Cycadales St G
Cerbera Cerberus, a mythological monster Apocynaceae Gentianales Bu G
Cercidiphyllum with leaves like Cercis siliquastrum[4] Cercidiphyllaceae Saxifragales CS G
Cercis weaver's shuttle (the pods) Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Cercocarpus tail (-shaped) fruit Rosaceae Rosales St G
Cereus Latin: wax candle (the shape) Cactaceae Caryophyllales St G
Cerinthe wax Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Ceropegia wax fountain (the flowers) Apocynaceae Gentianales CS G
Ceroxylon wax (-coated) wood Arecaceae Arecales St G
Cestrum Greek name Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Chaenomeles gaping apples Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Chaenorhinum gaping Antirrhinum (the flowers are more open) Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Chaenostoma wide-open mouth Scrophulariaceae Lamiales Ba G
Chaerophyllum pleasing leaves (the scent) Apiaceae Apiales St G
Chamaebatia Greek name Rosaceae Rosales St G
Chamaecyparis dwarf cypress Cupressaceae Pinales CS G
Chamaecytisus ground Cytisus Fabaceae Fabales Ba
Chamaedaphne dwarf Daphne Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Chamaedorea ground gift (the easily accessible fruit) Arecaceae Arecales CS G
Chamaelirium dwarf lily Melanthiaceae Liliales CS G
Chamaemelum ground apple Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Chamaeranthemum dwarf Eranthemum Acanthaceae Lamiales St
Chamaerops dwarf bush Arecaceae Arecales CS G
Chamelaucium (unclear) Myrtaceae Myrtales St
Chasmanthe wide-open flowers Iridaceae Asparagales St G
Chasmanthium wide-open flowers Poaceae Poales Ba G
Chelidonium swallow Papaveraceae Ranunculales CS G
Chelone turtle Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Chelonopsis Chelone-like Lamiaceae Lamiales Ba G
Chenopodium goose foot Amaranthaceae Caryophyllales Ba G
Chiastophyllum crosswise leaves Crassulaceae Saxifragales St G
Chiliotrichum a thousand hairs Asteraceae Asterales St G
Chilopsis lip-like (the calyx) Bignoniaceae Lamiales St G
Chimaerochloa Chimera (a mythological monster) + grass Poaceae Poales Bu
Chimaphila winter-loving (evergreen) Ericaceae Ericales St G
Chimonanthus winter-flowering Calycanthaceae Laurales CS G
Chimonobambusa winter Bambusa Poaceae Poales CS G
Chiococca snow berries Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Chionanthus snow-white flowers Oleaceae Lamiales CS G
Chionochloa snow grass Poaceae Poales Ba G
Chionophila snow-loving (the habitat) Plantaginaceae Lamiales St G
Chironia Chiron Gentianaceae Gentianales St G
Chlidanthus luxury flowers Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Chloraea green (the flowers) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Chloranthus green flowers Chloranthaceae Chloranthales Ba G
Chloris Chloris Poaceae Poales St G
Chlorogalum green milk (the sap) Asparagaceae Asparagales St G
Chlorophytum green plant Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Chorizema separated filaments (on the stamens) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Chrozophora bearing (turnsole) dye Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales St G
Chrysanthemum gold flowers Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Chrysobalanus gold acorns[4] Chryso­balanaceae Malpighiales St G
Chrysocoma gold hair Asteraceae Asterales St G
Chrysogonum gold knees (yellow flowers, and the stems have joints) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Chrysolepis gold scales Fagaceae Fagales Ba G
Chrysopsis like gold Asteraceae Asterales St G
Chrysosplenium gold for the spleen Saxifragaceae Saxifragales Ba G
Chrysothamnus gold shrub Asteraceae Asterales St G
Chusquea Colombian name Poaceae Poales St G
Chysis melting (the fused pollinia) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Cicer Latin name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Cicerbita Italian name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Cichorium Arabic and Greek name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Cicuta Latin name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Cineraria ashen (the leaves) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Cinnamomum Greek name Lauraceae Laurales St G
Cipura (unclear) Iridaceae Asparagales St G
Circaea Circe, a mythological witch Onagraceae Myrtales Bu G
Circaeaster Circe, a mythological witch Circaeasteraceae Ranunculales Bu
Cirrhaea tendril (the long rostella) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Cirsium Greek name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Cissus Greek name Vitaceae Vitales CS G
Cistus Greek and Latin name[4] Cistaceae Malvales CS G
Citharexylum lyre wood Verbenaceae Lamiales St G
Citropsis like Citrus Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Citrullus from Citrus Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales CS G
Citrus Latin name Rutaceae Sapindales CS G
Cladanthus branch (-end) flowers Asteraceae Asterales St G
Cladium little branches Cyperaceae Poales St G
Cladrastis fragile twigs or shoots. Stearn's spelling is Cladastris. Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Cleistocactus closed cactus (the flowers) Cactaceae Caryophyllales St G
Clematis Greek name Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Clematoclethra Clematis and Clethra Actinidiaceae Ericales St G
Cleome brilliance[4] Cleomaceae Brassicales St G
Clerodendrum chance tree (the medical uses) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Clethra Greek name[4] Clethraceae Ericales CS G
Clianthus brilliant flowers Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Clitoria Latin: clitoris Fabaceae Fabales St G
Clymenia Clymene, a nymph Rutaceae Sapindales Bu
Cneorum Greek name Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Cnicus Greek name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Coccinia scarlet (the fruit) Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Coccoloba Greek name Polygonaceae Caryophyllales St G
Coccothrinax berry Thrinax Arecaceae Arecales St
Cocculus little berry (the fruit) Menispermaceae Ranunculales St G
Cochlearia spoonlike (the lower leaves) Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Cochliostema Spiral male parts. Stearn's spelling is Cochleostema. Commelinaceae Commelinales St
Cochlospermum spiral seeds Bixaceae Malvales St
Cocos Portuguese: mask Arecaceae Arecales St G
Codiaeum Moluccan name Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales CS G
Codonanthe bell flower Gesneriaceae Lamiales Ba G
Codonopsis like a bell (the flowers) Campanulaceae Asterales CS G
Coelia hollow Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Coelogyne hollow female parts Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Coffea Arabic name Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Coix Greek name Poaceae Poales CS G
Cola West African name Malvaceae Malvales St G
Colchicum Colchis[4] Colchicaceae Liliales CS G
Coleonema sheath thread (the staminodes) Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Coleotrype sheath hole Commelinaceae Commelinales St G
Coleus sheath Lamiaceae Lamiales Ba G
Collomia glue (the seeds, which can be sticky) Polemoniaceae Ericales St G
Colocasia Greek name, from Arabic Araceae Alismatales CS G
Colutea Greek name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Comarum Greek name Rosaceae Rosales Ba G
Combretum Latin name[4] Combretaceae Myrtales St G
Comesperma hairy seeds Polygalaceae Fabales St G
Conandron cone stamens Gesneriaceae Lamiales St
Conicosia conical Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St
Conium Greek and Latin name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Conophytum cone plant Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Consolida Medieval Latin name Ranunculaceae Ranunculales St G
Convallaria Latin: valley Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Convolvulus Latin: twining[4] Convolvulaceae Solanales CS G
Copaifera Brazilian name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Copiapoa Copiapó, Chile Cactaceae Caryophyllales St G
Coprosma dung smell (the leaves) Rubiaceae Gentianales CS G
Coptis cutting (divisions of the leaves) Ranunculaceae Ranunculales St G
Corchorus Greek name Malvaceae Malvales St G
Cordyline club (the roots) Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Corema broom-like Ericaceae Ericales St G
Coreopsis like a bug (the seeds) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Coriandrum Greek and Latin name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Coriaria Latin: leather (for tanning)[4] Coriariaceae Cucurbitales CS G
Cornus Latin name[4] Cornaceae Cornales CS G
Corokia Māori name Argophyllaceae Asterales CS G
Coronilla little crown (the flowers) Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Cortaderia Argentine name Poaceae Poales CS G
Coryanthes helmet flowers Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Corydalis crested lark (the spurs) Papaveraceae Ranunculales CS G
Corylopsis like Corylus Hamamelidaceae Saxifragales CS G
Corylus Greek name Betulaceae Fagales CS G
Corymbia Latin: clusters (the corymbs) Myrtaceae Myrtales Ba G
Corynocarpus club fruit[4] Corynocarpaceae Cucurbitales St G
Corypha summit (the highest fronds) Arecaceae Arecales St
Coryphantha summit flowers Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Cosmos ornament Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Costus Latin name[4] Costaceae Zingiberales St G
Cotinus Greek name Anacardiaceae Sapindales CS G
Cotoneaster Greek and Latin name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Cotula small cup (the leaves and flowerheads) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Cotyledon cup-shaped depression (the leaves) Crassulaceae Saxifragales CS G
Coutarea Guyanese name Rubiaceae Gentianales St
Crambe Greek and Latin name Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Craspedia fringe (the pappus) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Crassula Latin: little thick (the leaves)[4] Crassulaceae Saxifragales CS G
Crataegus Greek name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Cremanthodium hanging flowerheads Asteraceae Asterales St G
Crepis Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Crinodendron lily tree (the flowers) Elaeocarpaceae Oxalidales CS G
Crinum Greek name Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Crithmum Greek name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Crocosmia Crocus scent Iridaceae Asparagales CS G
Crocus Greek name, from a Semitic name Iridaceae Asparagales CS G
Crossandra fringed male parts Acanthaceae Lamiales St G
Crotalaria rattle (the sound of the seed pods) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Croton tick (the seeds) Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales St G
Crucianella little cross (the crosswise leaves) Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Crupina Belgian or Dutch name Asteraceae Asterales St
Cryptantha hidden flowers Bromeliaceae Poales St G
Cryptanthus hidden (lower parts of the) flowers Bromeliaceae Poales St G
Cryptocoryne hidden club (the spadix) Araceae Alismatales St G
Cryptomeria hidden parts Cupressaceae Pinales CS G
Cryptostegia hidden cover (scales inside the corolla) Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Ctenanthe comb flowers Marantaceae Zingiberales Ba G
Cucumis Latin name Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales CS G
Cucurbita Latin name[4] Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales CS G
Cuminum Greek name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Cunila Latin name Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Cuphea curved (the seed pods) Lythraceae Myrtales CS G
Cupressus Greek and Latin name[4] Cupressaceae Pinales CS G
Curculigo Latin: weevil-like (the ovaries) Hypoxidaceae Asparagales St G
Curcuma Arabic name Zingiberaceae Zingiberales St G
Cuscuta Medieval Latin name Convolvulaceae Solanales St G
Cyananthus blue flowers Campanulaceae Asterales CS G
Cyanella blue Tecophilaeaceae Asparagales St G
Cyanotis blue ear (the petals) Commelinaceae Commelinales St G
Cyathodes cup-like Ericaceae Ericales St G
Cycas Greek name[4] Cycadaceae Cycadales CS G
Cyclamen Greek name Primulaceae Ericales CS G
Cyclanthera circle of anthers Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Cyclanthus circle of flowers[4] Cyclanthaceae Pandanales St G
Cyclopia circle foot (the base of the calyx) Fabaceae Fabales St
Cycnoches swan Orchidaceae Asparagales Ba
Cydonia Greek and Latin name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Cylindropuntia Latin: cylindrical Opuntia Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Cymbalaria like a cymbal (the leaves) Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Cymbidium boat-shaped (the lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales CS G
Cymbopogon boat-beard (the spikelets) Poaceae Poales St G
Cymodocea Cymodoce, a sea nymph Cymodoceaceae Alismatales Bu G
Cynanchum dog-strangling (the poisonous herbs) Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Cynara Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Cynodon dog tooth (the blades) Poaceae Poales St G
Cynoglossum dog tongue (the leaves) Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Cynosurus dog tail Poaceae Poales Ba G
Cypella chalice (the flowers) Iridaceae Asparagales St G
Cyperus Greek name[4] Cyperaceae Poales CS G
Cyphostemma stubby wreaths Vitaceae Vitales Ba
Cypripedium Aphrodite's slipper (the flowers) Orchidaceae Asparagales CS G
Cyrtanthus arched flowers Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Cyrtopodium arched foot (the lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Cyrtostachys arched spikes Arecaceae Arecales St
Cytisus Greek name Fabaceae Fabales CS G

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clicking on ← moves you to the table row for the given genus.
  2. ^ Page numbers for references are omitted, since all the references list genera alphabetically except for Plants of the World, which is mainly cited for genera that match their family names.
  3. ^ "(Language) name" means the name of some plant originally, not necessarily in this genus.
  4. ^ This list includes fictional and unattested characters; also see List of plant genera named for people (A–C).



  • Bayton, Ross (2020). The Gardener's Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-20017-0.
  • Burkhardt, Lotte (2018). Verzeichnis eponymischer Pflanzennamen – Erweiterte Edition [Index of Eponymic Plant Names – Extended Edition] (pdf) (in German). Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universität Berlin. doi:10.3372/epolist2018. ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5. Retrieved January 1, 2021. See for license.
  • Christenhusz, Maarten; Fay, Michael Francis; Chase, Mark Wayne (2017). Plants of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants. Chicago, Illinois: Kew Publishing and The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-52292-0.
  • Coombes, Allen (2012). The A to Z of Plant Names: A Quick Reference Guide to 4000 Garden Plants. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. ISBN 978-1-60469-196-2.
  • Cullen, Katherine E. (2006). Biology: The People Behind the Science. New York, New York: Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-7221-7.
  • Gledhill, David (2008). The Names of Plants. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-86645-3.
  • The Linnean Society (August 1992). "Publications by William T. Stearn on bibliographical, botanical and horticultural subjects, 1977–1991; a chronological list". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 109 (4): 443–451. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1992.tb01443.x. ISSN 0024-4074.
  • Stearn, William (2002). Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners. London: Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-36469-5.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Roland (1956). Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 978-1-56098-848-9.
  • Lewis, Charlton (1891). An Elementary Latin Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-910205-1. Available online at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (2013) [1888/1889]. An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon. Mansfield Centre, Connecticut: Martino Fine Books. ISBN 978-1-61427-397-4. Available online at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names, Volume I, A–C. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-2675-2.