Plant names can be complicated, but if you consider the five or so ways plants are named you might get the hang of it.
Plants are named these ways:
Common names like Busy Lizzie (impatiens) and Miss Wilmot’s Ghost (eryngium) are plants name after people. Other plants named after people are for the person who discovered them such as David Douglas who found the Douglas fir.
Some plants are named after places such as Carpenteria californica, or the other way around. Tulare county in California was named for the Tule weed that grows there.
Other plant names can come from plant characteristics: Baby Blue Eyes, blackberry, cork oak and Butterfly Flower.
Common names are not scientific. In other words, there are many plants with the common name fir. Botanist have developed scientific names so that there is little confusion about what plant is being referred to.
Abies is the scientific name for fir. There is a second scientific name to distinguish firs from other firs. And these second names can describe the color, the leaf shape, the size, the growing characteristics and the native location.
Abies siberica (fir found in Siberia)
Abies koreana (fir found in Korea)
Abies grandis (large fir)
Abies concolor (white fir)
Abies fraseri (discovered by a botanist named Fraser)
Are you catching on to plant names?