13 responses to “Iris variegata”

  1. Mark Egger

    Very nice Iris species!

  2. Elayne Antalffy

    Location: minor correction: Nagy Mező, Bükk National Park

  3. Tiiu Mayer

    Off to research Iris variegata! Until now, I thought that was the name of my iris with lovely green and white foliage and a very intense, dark velvety purple (solid not ‘netted’ ) bloom.

    I love Botany Photo of the Day – always something interesting to look at and learn.

  4. Jeff

    Hi Daniel!

    I’m an aspiring Landscape Architect and am trying to learn enough latin plant names to be dangerous. Is there a way you recommend getting started in this? Is there a way to work top down through the taxonomic ranks to understand what the general characteristics of a family or genus might be? Would love any tips or resources you have!

    Thanks for your time

  5. Tiiu Mayer

    Hi Jeff – as an amateur gardener and citizen scientist who has long had a fascination with botanical (not all are LATIN!) names, can I recommend that you start with the plants that you work with the most? Learn their names and every time you think of them or write them on a list, use the binomial and cultivar name. And every time you look at a plant online, get that binomial name, write it, use it!
    I also love reading catalogs and seed exchange catalogs (specifically that of the Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group) that feature the binomial names. After a while, it all starts to come together. Plant names start to speak to you of families. All the children have red hair and blue eyes! I think you have to have your own garden to expand your knowledge and learn the personalities of the different plants, too. Gardening books seem to have large gaps about the subtleties of location and culture. Good luck!


    1. Jeff Heaton

      Haha, good to know! Sounds like I just need to keep wikipedia handy on my travels around the internet.

  6. Alison

    About learning the botanical names – it will come with practice. I had a leg up because my mother suggested that I take Latin in high school to help with my future biology studies, as it was obvious I was headed that way.

    However, getting a couple of good reference books with excellent pictures that list by botanical name will help you associate the name and the plant quite quickly. ‘The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants’ or ‘Botanica’ are certainly well known, and I like both of them. As a Landscape Architect, you may want something like Michael Dirr’s ‘Manual of Woody Landscape Plants’ or ‘Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs’, which are classics. Looking at good seed and plant catalogues, e.g. Chiltern’s, which list by botanical names instead of miscellaneous common names, is also a help. All of these list alphabetically by genus name, though, so getting a feel for the family level is harder.

    For the family level, you might like ‘Flowering Plant Families of the World’, by Heywood et al., published by Firefly. It’s a large book, which lists angiosperm families only, with lots of illustrations to boot. However, it’s chockfull of technical terms, e.g. cystolith, retinacula, reduced calyx, poricidal anthers (and all of those were out of one sentence). I have a degree in biology, and I only understand three of those six, myself. Fortunately, you don’t really need to understand all of those to get a general feel over time for what genera various plants probably belong to.

    Something that translates the technical language, such as the ‘Plant Names’ book recommended by Daniel, or ‘Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary’, would definitely help in the above case. ‘Botanical Latin’, by William Stearn, or ‘Latin for Gardeners’ by Lorraine Harrison can help you cope, too.

    In all cases, I’d suggest checking your local library system to see what it has. Then, if you think the book is actually worth having as a reference, you can probably find good quality used copies online. I find that used.addall.com to be a very good way to find books, as it lists all the major online sources (e.g. Abebooks, Alibris, Amazon, Choosebooks, etc.) in the same list.

    I hope that this helps.

    1. Jeff Heaton

      That’s super helpful, thank you!

  7. Jeff Heaton

    Thanks for the tips everyone! Time to expand my gardening past herbs and tomatoes.

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