List of plant genus names with etymologies (L–P)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Margyricarpus, derived from the Greek for "pearl fruit"

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 plants 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


Lactuca sap
five gourds
Illustration of Lathraea
Illustration of Leontodon
Leucanthemum and a butterfly
Limnobium in an aquarium
Lithospermum seeds
Menispermum seeds
Monstera in a clothing shop window
Illustration of Orchis
Ormosia-seed necklaces
Potted Pachyphytum
Pachyrhizus root
growing in cracks in a brick walkway

Genus[b] Meaning or derivation Family[4] Order[4] Ref G
Lablab Arabic name[c] Fabaceae Fabales Ba G
Laburnum Latin name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Lacaena Helen of Troy[d] Orchidaceae Asparagales Bu
Lachnanthes woolly flowers Haemodoraceae Commelinales St
Lactuca Latin: milky (the sap) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Lagarosiphon narrow tubes Hydrocharitaceae Alismatales St G
Lagarostrobos loose or narrow cones Podocarpaceae Pinales Ba G
Lagenandra flask-like male parts (the anthers) Araceae Alismatales St
Lagenaria flask-like (the fruits) Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Lagotis rabbit ears Plantaginaceae Lamiales St G
Lagurus rabbit tail (the inflorescences) Poaceae Poales St G
Lamium Open mouth (the flowers). Latin name.[4] Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Lampranthus shining flowers Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Lamprocapnos bright smoke Papaveraceae Ranunculales Ba
Lantana Medieval Latin name Verbenaceae Lamiales CS G
Lapsana Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Larix Latin name Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Laserpitium Latin name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Latania name from Mauritius Arecaceae Arecales St G
Lathraea hidden (the parasitic underground stems) Orobanchaceae Lamiales St G
Lathyrus Greek name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Laurelia Latinised Spanish name Athero­spermataceae Laurales St G
Laureliopsis Laurelia-like Monimiaceae Laurales Ba
Laurus Latin name[4] Lauraceae Laurales CS G
Lavandula Latin: washing (used in soap) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Lemna Greek name Araceae Alismatales St G
Lens Latin name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Leonotis lion ears (the flowers) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Leontice Greek name Berberidaceae Ranunculales Ba G
Leontodon lion teeth (the leaf edges) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Leontopodium lion feet Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Leonurus lion tails (the inflorescences) Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Lepidium Greek and Latin name Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Lepidozamia scaly Zamia Zamiaceae Cycadales Ba G
Lepismium scales (around the areoles) Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Leptinella slender Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Leptodermis thin skin (the bracteoles) Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Leptopyrum slender grain (the fruits) Ranunculaceae Ranunculales St
Leptospermum slender seeds Myrtaceae Myrtales CS G
Leptotes delicacy (the thin, terete leaves) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Lethia Lethe, a mythological river Iridaceae Asparagales Bu
Leucadendron white tree (the leaves) Proteaceae Proteales St G
Leucaena white (the flowers) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Leucanthemum white flowers Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Leucheria white Asteraceae Asterales St G
Leucocoryne white club (the staminodes) Amaryllidaceae Asparagales St G
Leucocrinum white Crinum Asparagaceae Asparagales St G
Leucogenes white + (perhaps) nobility Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Leucojum white and violet Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Leucopogon white beard Ericaceae Ericales Ba G
Leucosceptrum white scepter Lamiaceae Lamiales Ba G
Leucospermum white seeds Proteaceae Proteales Ba G
Leucothoe Greek mythological name Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Levisticum Latin: (medicinal) relief Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Leymus anagram of the related Elymus Poaceae Poales Ba G
Liatris uncertain; possibly booty or bald[8] Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Libocedrus teardrop Cedrus (cedar resin) Cupressaceae Pinales St G
Licuala Moluccan name Arecaceae Arecales St G
Ligularia Latin: strap (the ray florets) Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Ligusticum Greek name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Ligustrum Latin name Oleaceae Lamiales CS G
Lilium Latin name[4] Liliaceae Liliales CS G
Limnanthes marsh flowers[4] Limnanthaceae Brassicales St G
Limnobium marsh life Hydrocharitaceae Alismatales St
Limnocharis marsh beauty Alismataceae Alismatales St G
Limonium Meadow. Greek name.[7][8] Plumbaginaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Linanthus Linum (flax) flowers Polemoniaceae Ericales St G
Linaria Linum-like Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Linum Latin name Linaceae Malpighiales CS G
Liparis oily (the leaves) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Liquidambar Latin: liquid amber (the resin) Altingiaceae Saxifragales CS G
Liriodendron lily tree Magnoliaceae Magnoliales CS G
Liriope Greek mythological name Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Litchi Chinese name Sapindaceae Sapindales St G
Lithocarpus stone fruit (the nuts) Fagaceae Fagales CS G
Lithodora stone gift (rocky habitat) Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Lithophragma stone wall. Possibly an error,[9] but some species do grow in stone walls.[8] Saxifragaceae Saxifragales St G
Lithops stony appearance Aizoaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Lithospermum stone seeds. Latin name. Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Lithraea Chilean name Anacardiaceae Sapindales St
Litsea Chinese name Lauraceae Laurales St G
Loasa probably a South American name[4] Loasaceae Cornales St G
Lobularia Greek and Latin: little pods Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Lolium Latin name Poaceae Poales St G
Lomandra fringed male parts Asparagaceae Asparagales Ba G
Lomatia with borders (the seed margins) Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Lomatium fringe Apiaceae Apiales Ba G
Lonas (unknown) Asteraceae Asterales St
Lonchocarpus lance fruit Fabaceae Fabales St G
Lophomyrtus crested Myrtus Myrtaceae Myrtales Ba G
Lophophora crest-bearing (the tufts) Cactaceae Caryophyllales St G
Lophospermum crested seeds Plantaginaceae Lamiales Ba G
Lordhowea Ontong Java Atoll, formerly the Lord Howe Atoll, in the Solomon Islands Asteraceae Asterales Bu G
Loropetalum strap petals Hamamelidaceae Saxifragales CS G
Lotus Greek name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Luculia Nepalese name Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Ludisia (unknown) Orchidaceae Asparagales Ba
Luffa Arabic name Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Luma Mapuche name Myrtaceae Myrtales Ba G
Lunaria Latin: moon-like (the seed pods) Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Lupinus Latin name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Luzula possibly Latin: small light (from the dewy sparkle), or yellowish, or Italian for a bioluminescent insect Juncaceae Poales CS G
Lycaste (unclear) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Lycianthes Lycium + flower Solanaceae Solanales Ba
Lycium Greek and Latin name for a shrub from Lycia Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Lycopus wolf foot (the leaves) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Lysichiton dissolving cloak (the spathes) Araceae Alismatales CS G
Lysionotus releasing in the back (the capsule suture) Gesneriaceae Lamiales St G
Lythrum bloody (the flowers)[4] Lythraceae Myrtales CS G
Machaeranthera sword anthers Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Machaonia Machaon, a mythological hero Rubiaceae Gentianales Bu
Macradenia long gland (pollen stalks) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Macrozamia large Zamia Zamiaceae Cycadales St G
Madhuca Sanskrit name Sapotaceae Ericales St
Madia Chilean name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Maesa Arabic name Primulaceae Ericales St G
Magdalenaea Santa Maria Madalena, Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil Orobanchaceae Lamiales Bu
Maianthemum May flowers Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Maihuenia Mapuche name Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Malachra Malva Malvaceae Malvales St
Mallotus woolly Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales St G
Malope Latin name Malvaceae Malvales St G
Malus Greek and Latin name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Malva Latin name[4] Malvaceae Malvales CS G
Malvastrum Latin: mallow-like Malvaceae Malvales St G
Malvaviscus Latin: mallow stickiness Malvaceae Malvales St G
Mammea West Indian name Calophyllaceae Malpighiales St G
Mammillaria Latin: nippled Cactaceae Caryophyllales St G
Mandragora Greek and Latin name Solanaceae Solanales St G
Mangifera Indian name Anacardiaceae Sapindales St G
Manihot Brazilian name Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales St G
Manilkara South Indian name Sapotaceae Ericales St
Manulea Latin: hand, from the finger-like petals Scrophulariaceae Lamiales St
Margyricarpus pearl fruit Rosaceae Rosales St G
Marrubium Latin name Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Mascarenhasia Mascarene Islands Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Matricaria Latin name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Mauritia Surinamese name Arecaceae Arecales St
Maxillaria resembling an insect maxilla Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Mayaca French Guianese name[4] Mayacaceae Poales St G
Maytenus Chilean name Celastraceae Celastrales CS G
Mazus teat, for swellings on the lower lip of the flowers[4] Mazaceae Lamiales CS G
Meconopsis poppy-like Papaveraceae Ranunculales CS G
Medeola Medea of mythology Liliaceae Liliales St G
Medicago Greek and Latin name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Medusagyne Medusa (a mythological monster) + female parts Ochnaceae Malpighiales Bu
Medusandra Medusa (a mythological monster) + male parts Peridiscaceae Saxifragales Bu
Medusantha Medusa (a mythological monster) + flowers Lamiaceae Lamiales Bu
Medusanthera Medusa (a mythological monster) + flowers Stemonuraceae Aquifoliales Bu
Megahertzia Roaring Meg falls, or their waterway, in Queensland, Australia Proteaceae Proteales Bu
Megaskepasma large covering (the bracts) Acanthaceae Lamiales St
Melaleuca black and white Myrtaceae Myrtales St G
Melampodium Melampus, a legendary oracle Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Melanthium dark flowers[4] Melanthiaceae Liliales St
Melasphaerula black small bulbs Iridaceae Asparagales St G
Melastoma black mouth. (The berries stain the mouth when eaten.)[4] Melastomataceae Myrtales St G
Melia Greek name[4] Meliaceae Sapindales CS G
Melianthus honey flowers, for its nectar Francoaceae Geraniales CS G
Melica honey, for its sweet sap Poaceae Poales CS G
Melicoccus honey berries. Previously Melicocca. Sapindaceae Sapindales St G
Melicope honey cutting Rutaceae Sapindales Ba G
Melicytus honey jar Violaceae Malpighiales St G
Melilotus honey lotus or honey clover Fabaceae Fabales St G
Melinis honey or blackish Poaceae Poales Ba G
Meliosma honey-scented Sabiaceae Proteales St G
Melissa honey bee Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Melittis honey-bearing or honey bee Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Melliodendron honey tree Styracaceae Ericales Ba
Melocactus Latin: melon cactus Cactaceae Caryophyllales St G
Melothria Greek and Latin name Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Menispermum moon seeds[4] Menispermaceae Ranunculales St G
Mentha Minthe of mythology Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Menyanthes small flowers[4] or moon flowers Menyanthaceae Asterales CS G
Mercurialis Mercury of mythology Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales St G
Merope Merope, one of the mythological Pleiades Rutaceae Sapindales Bu
Meryta bunching (the male flower heads) Araliaceae Apiales St G
Mesembryanthemum middle embryo flower (the ovaries) Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Metrosideros core of iron Myrtaceae Myrtales St G
Meum Greek and Latin name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Micranthemum small flowers Linderniaceae Lamiales St
Microbiota small Biota (now Platycladus) Cupressaceae Pinales Ba G
Microcachrys small cones Podocarpaceae Pinales Ba G
Microglossa small tongue (the ray florets) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Milium Latin name Poaceae Poales Ba G
Mimosa mimic (the leaves) Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Mimulus Latin: little mimic (the flowers) Phrymaceae Lamiales CS G
Mimusops monkey-face Sapotaceae Ericales St G
Mirabella Mirabela, Brazil Cactaceae Caryophyllales Bu
Mirabilis Latin: wonderful Nyctaginaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Miscanthus stalk-flower (the small flower spikes) Poaceae Poales CS G
Mitella small caps (the fruit) Saxifragaceae Saxifragales CS G
Mitraria cap or turban (the fruit or inflorescences) Gesneriaceae Lamiales CS G
Molopospermum striped seeds Apiaceae Apiales St G
Moluccella Molucca (unknown connection) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Momordica Latin: bitten (appearance of the seeds) Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales St G
Monanthes single-flowered (the type specimen) Crassulaceae Saxifragales St
Moneses single (flowered) Ericaceae Ericales St G
Monstera Latin: monstrous (the leaves) Araceae Alismatales CS G
Morinda Latin name + Indian Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Moringa Latinised Tamil name[4] Moringaceae Brassicales St G
Mormodes hobgoblin (the odd flowers) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Morus Greek and Latin name Moraceae Rosales CS G
Moscharia musk Asteraceae Asterales St
Mucuna Brazilian name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Mukdenia Mukden (now Shenyang), China Saxifragaceae Saxifragales Ba
Mulgedium Latin: milking (from the sap) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Musa Latinised Arabic name;[4] also Antonius Musa (63 BC – 14)[6] Musaceae Zingiberales St G
Muscari Turkish name Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Mussaenda Latinised Sinhalese name Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Myoporum closed pore (spots on the leaves) Scrophulariaceae Lamiales St G
Myosotidium derived from Myosotis Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Myosotis mouse ear (the leaves) Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Myosurus mouse tail (the flower stalks) Ranunculaceae Ranunculales St G
Myrica Greek and Latin name[4] Myricaceae Fagales CS G
Myricaria Myrica-like Tamaricaceae Caryophyllales St G
Myriocephalus myriad heads (from the compound flower heads) Asteraceae Asterales St
Myriophyllum myriad leaves Haloragaceae Saxifragales CS G
Myristica fragrant ointment[4] Myristicaceae Magnoliales St G
Myrmecodia ant-place Rubiaceae Gentianales Ba
Myroxylon fragrant-oil wood Fabaceae Fabales St
Myrrhis Greek name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Myrsine Greek name Primulaceae Ericales St G
Myrtillocactus myrtle cactus (for the myrtle-like fruit) Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Myrtus Greek and Latin name Myrtaceae Myrtales CS G
Mystacidium mustache (the fringes) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Najas naiad Hydrocharitaceae Alismatales St G
Nandina Japanese name Berberidaceae Ranunculales CS G
Nannorrhops dwarf bush Arecaceae Arecales St G
Napaea Napaeae, nymphs of the woods Malvaceae Malvales Bu
Napeanthus Napaeae (nymphs of the woods) + flowers Gesneriaceae Lamiales Bu
Narcissus Narcissus of mythology Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Narthecium Greek name[4] Nartheciaceae Dioscoreales St G
Nassella Latin: narrow-necked wicker basket Poaceae Poales Ba
Nasturtium twisted nose Brassicaceae Brassicales Ba G
Nauclea ship, possibly Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Nautilocalyx nautilus-calyx, possibly Gesneriaceae Lamiales St
Nelumbo Sinhalese name[4] Nelumbonaceae Proteales St G
Nemastylis thread column (the styles) Iridaceae Asparagales St G
Nematanthus thread flower (the flower stalks) Restionaceae Poales St G
Nemesia Greek name Scrophulariaceae Lamiales CS G
Nemophila clearing-loving Hydrophyllaceae Boraginales CS G
Neolitsea new Litsea Lauraceae Laurales Ba G
Nepenthes antidepressant[4] Nepenthaceae Caryophyllales St G
Nepeta Latin name Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Nephthytis Nephthys of mythology Araceae Alismatales St G
Neptunia Neptune of mythology (for its habitat) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Nerine a sea nymph Amaryllidaceae Asparagales CS G
Nerium Greek and Latin name Apocynaceae Gentianales CS G
Nertera low (to the ground) Rubiaceae Gentianales CS G
Nidularium Latin: little nest Bromeliaceae Poales St G
Nigella Latin name Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Niphaea snowy (the flowers) Gesneriaceae Lamiales St G
Nipponanthemum Japan flower Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Nolana Latin: small bell (the flowers) Solanaceae Solanales St G
Nothofagus false Fagus[4] Nothofagaceae Fagales CS G
Notholirion false lily Liliaceae Liliales St G
Notholithocarpus false Lithocarpus Fagaceae Fagales Ba
Nothoscordum false garlic Liliaceae Liliales St G
Notylia back-bumps (on the stigmas) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Nuphar Arabic or Persian name Nymphaeaceae Nymphaeales St G
Nyctanthes night-flowering Oleaceae Lamiales St G
Nymphaea water nymphs[4] Nymphaeaceae Nymphaeales CS G
Nymphoides Nymphaea-like Menyanthaceae Asterales St G
Nyssa Nysa, a water nymph[4] Nyssaceae Cornales CS G
Oberonia Oberon, a fairy king Orchidaceae Asparagales Bu
Oberonioides Oberon, a fairy king Orchidaceae Asparagales Bu
Ochna Greek name[4] Ochnaceae Malpighiales St G
Ocimum Greek and Latin name Frankeniaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Ocotea French Guyanese name Lauraceae Laurales St
Octomeria eight-part (the pollinia) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Odontadenia tooth gland (the pistils) Apocynaceae Gentianales St
Odyssea odyssey or long voyage, a reference to the many genera to which the plant has been assigned Poaceae Poales Bu
Oenanthe Greek name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Oenocarpus wine fruit Arecaceae Arecales St G
Oenothera Greek and Latin name Onagraceae Myrtales CS G
Olea Latin name[4] Oleaceae Lamiales CS G
Olsynium little joined (stamens) Iridaceae Asparagales Ba
Omphalea Omphale, a mythological queen Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales Bu
Omphalodes navel-like (the seeds) Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Omphalogramma navel-marked (the seeds) Primulaceae Ericales St G
Oncidium little swelling (on the lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Oncoba Arabic name Salicaceae Malpighiales St G
Onobrychis (unclear) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Ononis Greek and Latin name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Onopordum Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Onosma Greek and Latin name Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Ophiopogon Greek for a Japanese name Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Ophrys Greek and Latin name Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Oplismenus weapons (the appearance of the spikelets) Poaceae Poales St G
Oplopanax armed Panax (the spines) Araliaceae Apiales St G
Opopanax sap panacea Apiaceae Apiales St G
Opuntia Opus, Greece. Latin name. Cactaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Orbea Latin: discs Apocynaceae Gentianales St
Orchis testicle (the root tubers)[4] Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Oreocereus mountain Cereus Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Oreopanax mountain Panax Araliaceae Apiales St G
Orestias Orestes, a mythological hero Orchidaceae Asparagales Bu
Origanum Greek and Latin name Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Orixa from a Japanese name Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Ormosia necklace (one use of the seeds) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Ornithogalum bird's milk (the flowers or bulbs) Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Orobanche Greek and Latin name[4] Orobanchaceae Lamiales St G
Orontium Greek name Araceae Alismatales CS G
Orostachys mountain spike Crassulaceae Saxifragales Ba G
Oroxylum mountain wood (one of its habitats). Previously Oroxylon. Bignoniaceae Lamiales St
Oroya La Oroya, Peru Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Orphium Orpheus, a mythological prophet Gentianaceae Gentianales Bu G
Orthaea Orthaea, one of the mythological Hyacinthides Ericaceae Ericales Bu
Orthocarpus upright fruit Orobanchaceae Lamiales St G
Orthophytum straight plant Bromeliaceae Poales Ba
Orthosia Orthrus, a mythological monster Apocynaceae Gentianales Bu
Orthrosanthus morning flowers Iridaceae Asparagales St G
Orychophragmus dug-up partition (the pitted septa) Brassicaceae Brassicales St
Oryza Latin and Greek name Poaceae Poales St G
Osmanthus scented flowers Oleaceae Lamiales CS G
Osteomeles bone apple (the nutlets) Rosaceae Rosales St G
Osteospermum bone seed Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Ostrya Greek and Latin name Betulaceae Fagales CS G
Ostryopsis Ostrya-like Betulaceae Fagales Ba G
Osyris Latin name Santalaceae Santalales Bu G
Otatea Mexican name Poaceae Poales St
Othonna Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Ottelia from a Malabar name Hydrocharitaceae Alismatales St G
Oxalis Greek and Latin name[4] Oxalidaceae Oxalidales CS G
Oxera acid or acrid (the taste of the sap) Lamiaceae Lamiales St
Oxydendrum sharp tree (the taste of the leaves) Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Oxylobium sharp small pods Fabaceae Fabales St G
Oxypetalum sharp petals Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Oxyria sharp (the taste) Polygonaceae Caryophyllales St G
Oxytropis sharp keels (on the flowers) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Oziroe Oziroe, a nymph Asparagaceae Asparagales Bu
Ozothamnus strong-smelling shrub Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Pachira Guyanese name Malvaceae Malvales St G
Pachycereus thick cactus Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Pachycormus thick, stripped trunk Anacardiaceae Sapindales Ba
Pachyphragma thick walls (the septa) Brassicaceae Brassicales CS G
Pachyphytum thick plant Crassulaceae Saxifragales St G
Pachypodium thick foot Apocynaceae Gentianales Ba G
Pachyrhizus thick roots Fabaceae Fabales St G
Pachysandra thick male parts (the stamens) Buxaceae Buxales CS G
Pachystachys thick spikes Acanthaceae Lamiales CS G
Pachystegia thick cover Asteraceae Asterales Ba
Paederia Latin: stinky Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Paeonia Greek and Latin name[4] Paeoniaceae Saxifragales CS G
Palaquium Philippine name Sapotaceae Ericales St G
Paliavana possibly the palace of the Children of Palhavã in Portugal Gesneriaceae Lamiales Bu
Paliurus Greek and Latin name Rhamnaceae Rosales St G
Panax Latin name Araliaceae Apiales St G
Pancratium Greek and Latin name Amaryllidaceae Asparagales St G
Pandanus Malay name[4] Pandanaceae Pandanales St G
Pandorea Pandora of mythology Bignoniaceae Lamiales CS G
Panicum Latin name Poaceae Poales CS G
Papaver Latin name[4] Papaveraceae Ranunculales CS G
Paphia epithet of the goddess Aphrodite of Paphos Ericaceae Ericales Bu
Paphinia Aphrodite of mythology Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Paphiopedilum Aphrodite's slipper (the flower lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Paraquilegia similar to Aquilegia. Previously Paraquilega. Ranunculaceae Ranunculales St G
Paraserianthes almost Serianthes Fabaceae Fabales Ba G
Parietaria Latin: of walls (one habitat) Urticaceae Rosales St G
Paris Latin: equal (the leaves) Melanthiaceae Liliales CS G
Parnassia Mount Parnassus, Greece Celastraceae Celastrales St G
Parochetus near rivulets (the habitat) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Paronychia paronychia (a disease that these herbs were said to remedy) Caryophyllaceae Caryophyllales St G
Parthenice Latin name; also an epithet of the goddess Artemis Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Parthenium Greek and Latin name Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Parthenocissus virgin ivy, derived from the common name Vitaceae Vitales CS G
Pasithea Pasithea, a goddess Asphodelaceae Asparagales Bu G
Paspalum Greek name Poaceae Poales St G
Passiflora Latin: passion flowers[4] Passifloraceae Malpighiales CS G
Pastinaca Latin name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Pavetta Sinhalese name Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Paxistima thick stigmas Celastraceae Celastrales Ba G
Pedicularis Latin: louse (from folklore about the plant) Orobanchaceae Lamiales St G
Pediocactus plains cactus Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Pelargonium stork (the beak-shaped fruit) Geraniaceae Geraniales CS G
Pelecyphora hatchet-bearing (the tubercles) Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Peltandra shield-stamens Araceae Alismatales St G
Peltaria shield-like (the leaves) Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Peltoboykinia small-shield Boykinia Saxifragaceae Saxifragales Ba
Peltophorum shield-bearing (the stigma) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Penelopeia Penelope, a legendary heroine Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitales Bu
Peniocereus filament cactus Cactaceae Caryophyllales St
Pennisetum feather-bristle (the flower spikes) Poaceae Poales CS G
Penstemon five stamens Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Pentaglottis five tongues (on the corolla) Boraginaceae Boraginales St G
Pentas fives (the flower parts) Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Peperomia pepper-like Piperaceae Piperales CS G
Pericallis very beautiful Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Perilla possibly Latin: little bag (the calyx) Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Periploca entwining (the corolla tubes) Apocynaceae Gentianales St G
Peristeria dove-like (the orchid columns) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Peristrophe around-twisting (the corolla tubes) Acanthaceae Lamiales St G
Persea Greek name Lauraceae Laurales CS G
Persicaria leaves like Persica (peach) Polygonaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Petasites sun-hats (the leaves). Greek name. Asteraceae Asterales CS G
Petrocallis rock beauty (the habitat) Brassicaceae Brassicales St G
Petrocosmea rock ornament Gesneriaceae Lamiales Ba G
Petromarula Cretan name Campanulaceae Asterales St
Petrophile rock lover. Previously Petrophila. Proteaceae Proteales St G
Petrophytum rock plant. Previously Petrophyton. Rosaceae Rosales St G
Petrorhagia rock-breaking Caryophyllaceae Caryophyllales St G
Petroselinum Greek and Latin name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Petunia Tupi–Guarani name Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Peucedanum Greek and Latin name Apiaceae Apiales CS G
Peumus Chilean name Monimiaceae Laurales St G
Phacelia bundles (the flowers) Hydrophyllaceae Boraginales CS G
Phaedranassa bright queen (the flowers) Amaryllidaceae Asparagales St G
Phaius twilight (the dark flowers) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Phalaenopsis moth-like Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Phalaris Greek and Latin name Poaceae Poales CS G
Phaseolus Latin name, from a Greek name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Phebalium possibly a Greek name Rutaceae Sapindales St G
Phellodendron cork tree Rutaceae Sapindales CS G
Philesia loving[4] Philesiaceae Liliales St G
Phillyrea Greek name Oleaceae Lamiales CS G
Philodendron tree-loving (they are epiphytes) Araceae Alismatales CS G
Philotheca loving box Rutaceae Sapindales Ba
Philyra Greek name; also from Philyra, a nymph Euphorbiaceae Malpighiales Bu
Phleum Greek name Poaceae Poales St G
Phlomis flame (a use of the leaves) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Phlox flame (the flowers) Polemoniaceae Ericales CS G
Phoebanthus bright (an epithet of the god Apollo) + flower Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Phoebe Phoebe, a goddess Lauraceae Laurales Bu
Phoenix Greek name Arecaceae Arecales CS G
Pholidota scaly Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Phormium basket or mat (uses of the leaf fibres) Asphodelaceae Asparagales CS G
Photinia shining (the foliage) Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Phragmipedium partition slipper (the slipper-shaped lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Phragmites fence or hedge reeds Poaceae Poales CS G
Phuopsis Valeriana-like Rubiaceae Gentianales CS G
Phygelius fleeing the sun (they prefer shade) Scrophulariaceae Lamiales CS G
Phyla tribes (probably the flower clusters) Verbenaceae Lamiales St G
Phylica leafy Rhamnaceae Rosales St G
Phyllagathis leafy ball of thread (the bracts) Melastomataceae Myrtales St
Phyllanthus leaf-flowers (the source of some flowers)[4] Phyllanthaceae Malpighiales St G
Phyllis Latin name; also from Phyllis, a mythological princess Rubiaceae Gentianales Bu
Phyllocladus leaf-branch (the flattened branches) Podocarpaceae Pinales St G
Phyllodoce Nereid of mythology Ericaceae Ericales St G
Phyllostachys leaf spike (the inflorescences) Poaceae Poales CS G
Physalis bladders (the appearance of the fruit) Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Physaria bladder-like Brassicaceae Brassicales Ba G
Physocarpus bladder fruit Ranunculaceae Ranunculales CS G
Physochlaina bladder covering (the inflated calyx) Solanaceae Solanales CS G
Physoplexis bladder weaving (the corolla) Campanulaceae Asterales St G
Physostegia bladder roofing (the inflated calyx) Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Phytelephas plant-elephant (for the ivory-like nut) Arecaceae Arecales St G
Phyteuma Greek and Latin name Campanulaceae Asterales St G
Phytolacca plant lac[4] Phytolaccaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Picea Latin name Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Picrasma bitterness Simaroubaceae Sapindales Ba G
Pieris Pieria, the home of the mythological Muses Ericaceae Ericales CS G
Pilea Latin: caps (the shape of the calyx) Urticaceae Rosales CS G
Pilosella hairy + little Asteraceae Asterales Ba G
Pilosocereus hairy Cereus Cactaceae Caryophyllales Ba
Pimelea fat or lard (its oils) Thymelaeaceae Malvales St G
Pimenta Spanish name Myrtaceae Myrtales St G
Pimpinella from a Medieval Latin name Apiaceae Apiales St G
Pinanga Malayan name Arecaceae Arecales St
Pinguicula fatty (the leaves) Lentibulariaceae Lamiales St G
Pinus Latin name[4] Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Piper Latin name, from Sanskrit and Greek names[4] Piperaceae Piperales St G
Piptadenia falling glands (of the stamens) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Piptanthus falling flowers (all parts fall at the same time) Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Piscidia Latin: fish-killing (a use of the plant) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Pistacia Greek and Latin name Anacardiaceae Sapindales CS G
Pistia water Araceae Alismatales CS G
Pisum Greek and Latin name Fabaceae Fabales CS G
Pithecellobium Greek rendering of a Brazilian name for "monkey's earring" (the fruit) Fabaceae Fabales St G
Pittosporum tar seeds[4] Pittosporaceae Apiales CS G
Plagianthus asymmetrical flowers Poaceae Poales St G
Plagiobothrys oblique scars (on the nutlets) Boraginaceae Boraginales St
Plantago Latin name Plantaginaceae Lamiales CS G
Platanus Greek and Latin name[4] Platanaceae Proteales CS G
Platycarya broad nuts Juglandaceae Fagales St G
Platycladus broad branches Cupressaceae Pinales Ba G
Platycodon broad bell (the flowers) Campanulaceae Asterales CS G
Platystemon broad stamens Papaveraceae Ranunculales St
Plectranthus spur-flowers Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Pleioblastus many buds Poaceae Poales CS G
Pleione Pleione of mythology Orchidaceae Asparagales CS G
Pleiospilos many spots (on the leaves) Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St G
Pleurothallis side or rib branches (perhaps the inflorescences or stems) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Plumbago Latin name[4] Plumbaginaceae Caryophyllales CS G
Poa Greek name[4] Poaceae Poales CS G
Podachaenium stalked achenes Asteraceae Asterales St
Podalyria Podalirius of mythology Fabaceae Fabales St G
Podocarpus stalked fruit[4] Podocarpaceae Pinales CS G
Podolepis foot of scales (the pedicels) Asteraceae Asterales St G
Podophyllum foot-leaves (for the resemblance to duck's feet) Berberidaceae Ranunculales CS G
Podranea anagram of the related Pandorea Bignoniaceae Lamiales St G
Pogonatherum bearded awn (the glumes) Poaceae Poales St G
Pogonia bearded (the fringed lips) Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Pogostemon bearded stamens Lamiaceae Lamiales St
Polemonium Greek and Latin name[4] Polemoniaceae Ericales CS G
Poliothyrsis grey panicles Salicaceae Malpighiales St G
Polygala Greek and Latin name[4] Polygalaceae Fabales CS G
Polygonatum Greek and Latin name Asparagaceae Asparagales CS G
Polygonum Greek and Latin name[4] Polygonaceae Caryophyllales St G
Polylepis many scales Rosaceae Rosales Ba G
Polymnia Polyhymnia, a Muse Asteraceae Asterales Bu
Polyscias many sun-shades (the umbels) Araliaceae Apiales St G
Polyspora many seeds Theaceae Ericales Ba
Polystachya many spikes (on the inflorescences) Orchidaceae Asparagales St G
Pomaderris lid of skin (on the capsules) Rhamnaceae Rosales St G
Populus Latin name Salicaceae Malpighiales CS G
Porana possibly from a Marathi name Convolvulaceae Solanales St G
Portulaca Latin name[4] Portulacaceae Caryophyllales St G
Portulacaria Portulaca-like Didiereaceae Caryophyllales St
Posidonia Poseidon, a god Posidoniaceae Alismatales Bu G
Posoqueria Guianan name Rubiaceae Gentianales St
Potamogeton Greek and Latin name[4] Potamo­getonaceae Alismatales St G
Potentilla Latin: potent (medicinally) Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Pothos Sinhalese name Araceae Alismatales St G
Pouteria Carib name Sapotaceae Ericales St
Premna stump Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Prenanthes downward-facing flowers Asteraceae Asterales St G
Primula Medieval Latin name[4] Primulaceae Ericales CS G
Primulina Primula-like Gesneriaceae Lamiales Ba G
Proboscidea (elephant) trunks (the fruit) Martyniaceae Lamiales St G
Procris Procris, a mythological princess Urticaceae Rosales Bu
Promenaea Promenaea, a Greek priestess of Dodona Orchidaceae Asparagales St
Prometheum Prometheus, a god Crassulaceae Saxifragales Bu
Prosartes appendage Liliaceae Liliales Ba
Proserpinaca Latin name Haloragaceae Saxifragales St G
Prosopis Greek name Fabaceae Fabales St G
Prospero Prospero of William Shakespeare's The Tempest Asparagaceae Asparagales Bu
Prostanthera addition to the anther (the spurs) Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Protea Proteus of mythology[4] Proteaceae Proteales St G
Prumnopitys hindmost pine Podocarpaceae Pinales Ba G
Prunella from a German name Lamiaceae Lamiales CS G
Prunus Latin name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Psammophora sandy Aizoaceae Caryophyllales St
Pseuderanthemum false Eranthemum Acanthaceae Lamiales St G
Pseudocydonia false Cydonia Rosaceae Rosales Ba G
Pseudofumaria false Fumaria Papaveraceae Ranunculales CS
Pseudogynoxys false Gynoxis Asteraceae Asterales Ba
Pseudolarix false Larix Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Pseudopanax false Panax Araliaceae Apiales CS G
Pseudophoenix false Phoenix Arecaceae Arecales St G
Pseudosasa false Sasa Poaceae Poales CS G
Pseudotsuga false Tsuga Pinaceae Pinales CS G
Pseudowintera false Wintera (Drimys) Winteraceae Canellales CS G
Psidium Latin name, from a Greek name Myrtaceae Myrtales St G
Psophocarpus noisy fruit (the exploding capsules) Fabaceae Fabales St
Psoralea scabby Fabaceae Fabales St G
Psychotria from a Greek name Rubiaceae Gentianales St G
Ptelea Greek name Rutaceae Sapindales CS G
Pteridophyllum fern leaves Papaveraceae Ranunculales St G
Pterocarya winged nuts Juglandaceae Fagales CS G
Pteroceltis winged Celtis Cannabaceae Rosales Ba G
Pterocephalus winged head (the feathery fruiting heads) Caprifoliaceae Dipsacales St G
Pterospermum winged seeds Malvaceae Malvales St
Pterostyrax winged Styrax Styracaceae Ericales CS G
Ptychosperma folded seeds Arecaceae Arecales St G
Pulicaria Latin name Asteraceae Asterales St G
Pulmonaria Latin: lungs, from the supposed resemblance to diseased lungs Boraginaceae Boraginales CS G
Pulsatilla (unclear) Ranunculaceae Ranunculales St G
Punica Latin name Lythraceae Myrtales CS G
Puya Chilean name of Puya chilensis Bromeliaceae Poales CS G
Pycnanthemum dense flowers Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Pycnostachys dense spikes Lamiaceae Lamiales St G
Pyracantha fire thorns Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Pyrola diminutive of Pyrus Ericaceae Ericales St G
Pyrostegia fire roofs, from the upper lip Bignoniaceae Lamiales St G
Pyrus Latin name Rosaceae Rosales CS G
Pyxidanthera boxed anthers (with lids) Diapensiaceae Ericales St G

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The arrow provides a link 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 (K–P).



  • 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. S2CID 187926901. 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 II, D–L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-2676-9.
  • Quattrocchi, Umberto (2019) [2000]. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names, Volume III, M–Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-367-44751-9.