Fine Gardening’s Guide to Pronouncing Botanical Latin
Gardeners often lament that they feel intimidated about pronouncing the Latin names of plants. If you've avoided calling black snakeroot Cimicifuga racemosa because you didn't want to tie your tongue in knots, you're not alone. So we've decided to add a department to Fine Gardening that lists the pronunciation of all the Latin names mentioned in that issue. This online version adds the benefit of being able to listen to the Latin pronunciation of some of those plants as well as to read it.
Keep in mind that pronunciation of words in any language is not always a hard-and-fast matter. As the popular song goes: "You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to..." So enjoy broadening your Latin vocabulary and remember, if you can't remember the preferred pronunciation of a plant name, just say a chosen interpretation with conviction.
The list below includes selected plant names from Fine Gardening #92 (July/August 2003) through the current issue, as well as names from Great Plants, Plant Combinations, and Plant Combinations Volume 2.