How important is it to know the latin names of your plants? Knowing the genus is one thing but how important is it to get the species name correct? Sometimes that can be difficult as I found today when I was researching my flapjack plant. Or shall we call it paddle plant. Can we not get by just knowing the common name? Flapjack plant just wasn't quite enough for me.
I was trying to find if these two plants I have are the same species.
This one is growing in a hypertufa planter, west facing. All green with just a touch of yellow.
And this one in an east facing pot with companion cactus. Lots of rosy tips to the leaves.
Yes, I knew it was a kalanchoe, but K. thyrsiflora, K. luciae or K. tetraphylla? You'll find all three of these names bandied about on the internet and lots of photos showing these colorful ones but there seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion, even among the growers. The internet is not necessarily the most accurate place to go for the identification of plants. How I would love the pale one to be K. tetraphylla because by all accounts it is very rare.
I know that winter cold can often cause the coloring of this kalanchoe but why is it so colorful own the heat of summer? Similar stress? But why isn't the other one stressed to color?
After spending a lot of time reading articles and blog postings about this kalanchoe I have reached the conclusion that all three of mine are probably K. luciae. Is there an expert out there who can confirm this for me?
Next in line for a true id is this plant.
Variously known as walking iris, fan iris, apostle plant, I bought it from a nursery where plants are often not labeled. I was given a small rhizome of this plant by a garden friend last year but it failed to make it though the winter. Determined to try it out in the shady part of my English garden I bought two 1 gallon plants this spring. Just this morning I noticed a bloom. Time for a proper id.
Neomarica was easy but then scrolling though photos and id on Google I came across species, N.gracilis, N.candida, northiana and N.caerulea. Not to mention N. longifolia but that flower is yellow. I think I finally narrowed it down to be N. gracilis.
I heard a story about a lady that went into a local nursery asking if they could procure a bird of paradise plant for her. When it arrived she was disappointed to find it was a Mexican bird of paradise. Not the Hawaiian one she wanted. Birds with the same name but quite different latin names. If she had just given the nursery the name Strelitzia reginae there would have been no confusion and she would not have received, Caesalpinia pulcherrima.