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Learning Latin makes people better gardeners, claims new book


Gardeners who fancy brushing up on their skills may want to pick up a Latin phrasebook.

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Gardeners who fancy brushing up on their skills may want to pick up a Latin phrasebook. Apparently, learning the language can help out green-fingered people in the garden - according to a latest Royal Horticultural Society book. The publication, written by author Lorraine Harrison, claims that learning the lingo can be helpful when studying plants. She says that it can help when determining the size, colour, scent, fruitiness and medicinal properties of plants in garden spaces, due to many borrowing their names from the Latin language (which is often derived from Greek). For example, English names for flowers - such as 'forget-me-nots' - may sound prettier, but the Latin term is much more informative. 'Sylvatica' - from the full Latin name for the flower, 'Mysotis sylvatica' - means 'growing in woodlands', according to The other good thing about Latin names is that they are formulaic, as they follow a set of rules created under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature in 1952. Most Latin plant names now consist of just two words too; following the binomial, or 'two-word' system that was created by 18-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. According to, the book claims to 'provide an overview of Latin naming conventions', as well as offering guidelines for pronunciation details. It also gives readers a historical overview of plant naming. Latin language is useful in determining the properties over 3,000 plants, according to Miss Harrison.


Samantha Bartlett

4th October 2012