Skip to main content

More Timely Tips: Colorful Latin Translations

This week's Latin lesson helps you determine color simply by the plant's name

What's in a Name?

Color: White

albescens becoming white, lightening, with a whitish cast

albicans whitish, foamy

albidus  whitish; dirty white

albulus watery white

albus white (general)

argo- pure white

candicans becoming white

chionanthus with snow-white flowers

cretaceus chalky white

dealbatus whitened, powdery white

eburneus ivory white

galacto- milky white

gypseus limy white

lacteus milky white, with a slight bluish tinge

leuco- white

nivalis, niveus snow white

Color: Black

anthracinus coal black, bluish black

ater pure black

atratus clothed in black for mourning; dark

carbonaceus black like charcoal

coracinus, corvinus crow black, shiny black

denigratus  blackened

ebenaceus, ebenus  black like ebony

mela-, melano- pure black

nigellus blackish

nigrescens, nigricans blackish, blackening

nigritus dressed in black

piceus brownish black, pitch black

pullus dusky, grayish black

Color: Brown

badius reddish brown

brunneus dark, dull brown

castaneus chestnut

cervinus fawn

cinnamomeus cinnamon brown

cupreus  coppery

ferrugineus; ferruginosus rusty; light reddish brown

fuligineus dark brown, sooty

fuscus dark; blackish brown

glandulaceus tawny brown

hepaticus liver-colored

luridus dirty brown

testaceus terra-cotta-colored

umbrinus umber

Colors: Gray and Silver

argentatus silvered

argenteus silvery, lustrous

argyrotrichon silver-haired

canescens rather hoary, whitish gray

cinereus  ash gray

ferreus iron gray

fulmineus lightning-colored

fumeus, fumidus, fumosus smoky gray

glaucescens rather glaucous, becoming glaucous

griseus pure pearly gray

incanus pale, whitish gray; hoary

leucophaeus light gray

murinus mousy gray

plumbeus  leaden

schistaceus slate gray

Colors: Yellow and Gold

auratus, aureatus decorated with gold

aureopictus (literally) gold-painted

aureus  gold, golden

canarinus canary yellow

cerinus waxy yellow

chrys-, chryso- gold

chrysographes marked with gold

citrinus lemon yellow

croceus saffron yellow

flavens yellow

flavus pale yellow

helvolus grayish yellow

icterinus jaundice yellow

isabellinus tawny yellow

luridus dirty yellow

luteus yellow

ochraceus brownish yellow

stramineus like straw, straw-colored

sulphureus sulphur yellow

vitellinus egg-yolk yellow

xanth-, xantho- yellow

xanthinus yellow

Colors: Blue and Purple

amethystinus violet-colored

atropurpureus dark purple

azureus sky blue

betinus purple like beet

caeruleus, coeruleus bright, deep blue

caesius light graish blue, lavender blue

cobaltinus cobalt blue

coelestinus sky blue

cyaneus, cyanus clear, bright blue

ianthinus violet-blue

indigoticus deep, dark blue

lilacinus lilac-colored

lividus leaden blue-gray

ostrinus rich purple

pavoninus  peacock blue

purpurascens  purplish, becoming purple

tyrius purple

violaceus violet