Latin to English Plant Names

Latin to English Plant Names

Latin to English – common plant names 

With hundreds of thousands of plant species across the world,  we have put together a list of Latin to English common plant names to help you identify what to ask for.

Why use Latin to name plants?

Botanical Latin is the language used throughout the world for naming and describing plants. Some of the very first writing about plants was in Latin and the Swedish botanist Linnaeus who lived in the 18th Century formally established the tradition that all plants should be given Latin names (or names of Latin form) and also that works relating to them should also be in Latin. Thankfully, whilst we still name plants in Latin we are no longer compelled to use it whilst writing about them!

This tradition of using Latin has continued for many good reasons not least that it has an abundance of words to describe the characteristics of plants such as colour, texture, size, and form. Also, since Latin is no longer spoken in an everyday sense the meanings of words in Latin do not change.  (Remember, in English, a computer once referred to a person who adds up.) The other major advantage of using Latin is that the words mean the same to people wherever they are in the world and whatever their mother tongue.

Latin Name Common Name
Abies Fir
Acer Japenese Maple
Acer Sycamore
Acer campestre Field maple
Achillea Yarrow
Aesculus Horse Chestnut
Agapanthus African lily
Agastache Hyssop
Ajuga Bugle
Alcea Hollyhock
Alchemilla Lady’s mantle
Alnus Alder
Allium Ornamental onion
Alstroemeria Peruvian lily
Anemone Japenese anemone
Anthriscus Cow parsley
Aquilegia Granny’s bonnet
Araucaria Monkey Puzzle
Artemisia Wormwood
Asplenium Birds nest fern
Astelia Silver spear
Astrantia Masterwort
Aucuba Spotted Laurel

Latin Name Common Name
Bergenia Elephant’s ears
Berberis Barberry
Betula Birch
Blechnum Hard fern, deer fern
Brunnera Siberian bugloss
Buddleja Butterfly Bush
Buxus Box, Common box

Latin Name Common Name
Calamagrostis Feather reed grass
Calluna Heather
Carex Sedge
Carpinus Hornbeam
Caryopteris Bluebeard
Ceanothus Californian lilac
Cedrus Cedar
Chaenomeles Flowering quince
Chamaecyparis Lawson’s cypress
Choisya Mexican orange blossom
Cistus Rockrose
Convallaria Lily-of-the-valley
Cornus Dogwood
Corylus Hazelnut
Corylus avellana Corkscrew hazel
Cotinus Smokebush
Crataegus Thorn
Crocosmia Montbretia
Cupressus Italian cypress
Cytisus Broom

Latin Name Common Name
Dicksonia Tree fern
Digitalis Foxglove
Dryopteris Fern

Latin Name Common Name
Echinacea Coneflower
Echinops Globe thistle
Elaeagnus Oleaster
Erica Heather
Eryngium Sea holly
Erysimum Wallflower
Eucalyptus Gum Tree
Euonymus ‘Emerald n Gold’ Wintercreeper
Euonymus Spindle tree
Euphorbia Spurge
Exochorda Pearl bush

Latin Name Common Name
Fagus sylvatica Beech
Fagus sylvatica pururea Copper beech
Fargesia Bamboo
Fraxinus Ash
Forsythia Golden Bell Bush
Fiscus Weeping fig

Latin Name Common Name
Garrya Silk Tassel Bush
Galanthus Snowdrop
Geranium Cranesbill
Genista Broom
Geum Avens
Griselinia littoralis Broadleaf

Latin Name Common Name
Hamamelis Witch Hazel
Hebe Shrubby veronica
Hedera Ivy
Helenium Sneezeweed
Helichrysum Curry plant
Helleborus Lenten Rose
Helleborus niger Christmas rose
Hemerocallis Daylily
Heuchera Coral bells
Hibiscus Tree hollyhock
Hosta Plantain Lily
Hylotelephium Sedum, Stonecrop

Latin Name Common Name
Ilex Holly
Ilex crenata Box-leaved holly

Latin Name Common Name
Jasminum Jasmine
Juniperus Juniper
Juglans Walnut

Latin Name Common Name
Kalmia Calico Bush
Kniphofia Red hot poker

Latin Name Common Name
Laurus nobilis Bay Laurel
Lavandula Lavender
Lavatera Mallow
Leucanthemum Shatsa daisy
Leucothoe Switch ivy
Leycesteria Himalayan honeysuckle
Ligustrum’ Aureum’ Golden privet
Ligustrum ovalifolium Privet
Lilium Oriental lily
Liriope Big blue lily-turf
Lonicera honeysuckle
Luzula nivea Snowy woodrush

Latin Name Common Name
Mahonia Oregon Grape
Malus Ornamental Crab, Crab apple
Matteuccia Shuttlecock fern
Miscanthus Chinese silver grass
Monarda Bergamot
Morus Mulberry

Latin Name Common Name
Nandina Heavenly bamboo
Nepeta Catmint

Latin Name Common Name
Olea Olive
Olearia Daisy bush

Latin Name Common Name
Pachysandra Japanese Spurge
Parthenocissus Boston Ivy
Papaver Poppy
Persicaria Knotgrass
Perovskia Russian sage
Pennisetum Fountain grass
Philadelphus Mock Orange
Phormium New Zealand Flax
Phyllostachys Bamboo
Picea Spruce
Pieris Andromeda, Lily-of-the-valley
Pinus Pine
Pittosporum Kohuhu
Polystichum setiferum Soft shield fern
Primula veris Cowslip
Prunus ‘Kojo-no-mai’ Fuji cherry
Prunus laur ‘Rotundifolia’ Laurel
Prunus lusitanica Portuguese Laurel
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn

Latin Name Common Name
Quince Chaenomeles
Quercus Robur Oak

Latin Name Common Name
Rosa Rose
Rosmarinus Rosemary
Rudbeckia Black eyed Susan, Coneflower
Rhamus Buckthorn
Ribes Flowering Currant
Rubus Blackberry

Latin Name Common Name
Salix Pussy willow
Salvia Sage
Sambucus Black tower elder
Sarcococca Sweetbox
Sorbus Rowan, Mountain Ash
Stachys Lamb’s ears
Stipa gigantea Golden Oats
Syringa Lilac

Latin Name Common Name
Taxus Yew
Tiarella Foam flower
Tilia Lime
Thuja Western Red Cedar
Trachelospermum Star jasmine
Trollius Globe flower
Tsuga Western Hemlock

Latin Name Common Name
Ulex Gorse
Ulmus Elm

Latin Name Common Name
Veronica Speedwell
Vinca Periwinkle


Click here to view common to Latin plant names