Tip of the Week: Plant Names Show Origins

These lists will help you decode the Latin names of plants to determine to where the plant is native. The names listed here are the "specific epithet," or the second part of a two-part species name, as in Agave utahensis.


Countries of Europe

anglicus England

austriacus Austria

belgicus Belgium or the Netherlands

bulgaricus Bulgaria

cambricus  Wales

croaticus Croatia

gallicus France

germanicus Germany

graecus Greece

hispanicus  Spain

italicus  Italy

lusitanicus Portugal

scoticus Scotland

suecicus Sweden


Names From Asia

camtschaticus, camtschatcensis, kamtschaticus Kamchatka, Siberia

chinensis, sinensis, sinicus  China

coreanus, koreanus, koraiensis  Korea

hupehensis  Hubei province, China

indicus  India (often used more general to mean the Far East)

kansuensis  Gansu province, China

kouytchensis Guizhou province, China

mandschuricus, mandshuricus, manshuriensis  Manchuria

mongolicus Mongolia

napaulensis, nepalensis  Nepal

setchuenensis, szechuanicus  Sichuan, China

sibericus, sibiricus  Siberia

thibetanus, thibeticus, tibetanus, tibeticus  Tibet


Some American Names

alabamensis Alabama

arizonicus Arizona

arkansanus Arkansas

californicus California

carolinianus  North Carolina or South Carolina

coloradoensis Colorado

floridanus Florida

georgianus Georgia

idahoensis  Idaho

illinoinensis Illinois

kentuckiensis Kentucky

ludovicianus Louisiana

marilandicus Maryland

michiganensis Michigan

missouriensis Missouri or the Missouri River

nevadensis Nevada or the Sierra Nevada (California or Spain)

novae-angliae  New England

novi-belgii New York

ohiensis  Ohio

oreganos, oregonus  Oregon

pensylvanicus Pennsylvania

philadelphicus Philadelphia

tennesseensis Tennessee

texanus, texensis  Texas

utahensis  Utah

virginianus, virginicus  Virginia


Names Derived From Less Obvious Locales

aegypticus, aegyptiacus  Egypt

aethiopicus, aethiopis  Ethiopia; also used to mean South Africa

afer, afra, afrum; africanus Africa

anatolicus Anatolia, Turkey

asturiensis Asturias, Spain

atticus Attica or Athens, Greece

baeticus Andalucia, Spain

berolinensis Berlin, Germany

bonariensis Buenos Aires, Argentina

bucarius, bucharicus  Bokhara, Turkestan

byzantinus Instanbul (formerly Byzantium), Turkey

calabricus Calabria, Italy

canadensis Canada or the northeastern USA

canariensis  Gran Canaria or the Canary Islands

cantabricus Cantabria in Spain

capensis  the Cape (of Good Hope), meaning South Africa

caucasicus Caucasia, former Soviet Union

cornubiensis Cornwall, England

creticus  Crete

cyprius Cyprus

damascenus Damascus, Syria

etruscus Tuscany, Italy

fennicus Finland

florentinus Florence, Italy

fluminensis  Rio de Janeiro

formosanus  Taiwan (Formosa)

georgicus Georgia (Caucasus)

groenlandicus Greenland

ibericus  the Iberian peninsula

illyricus Illyria (the Adriatic coast of Croatia and Dalmatia)

japonicus, niponicus, nipponicus  Japan

libani, libanotis, libanoticus  Lebanon

lusitanicus Portugal

lutetianus Paris, France

magellanicus  the southern tip of South American, around the Straits of Magellan

monacensis Munich, Germany

monspeliensis, monspessulanus  Montpellier, France

narbonensis Narbonne, France

norvegicus Norway

novae-zelandiae New Zealand

numiducus Algeria

oxonianus, osoniensis Oxford, England

pedemontanus Piedmont, Italy

pekinensis Beijing, China

ponticus Pontus, Asia Minor

ruthenicus Ruthenia, a region of Russia (and used more generally to mean Russian)

sabatius Savona, on the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy

sarniensis Guernsey, Channel Islands

siculus Sicily

sinensis, sinicus China

sitchensis Sitka, Alaska

syriacus Syria

valentinus Valencia, Spain

tarentinus Taranto, italy

tauricus the Crimea

yedoensis, yesoensis, yezoensis Tokyo


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