A Lamprocapnos by another name….


A recent post on Veg Plotting has sent me in a tizzy over plant names…I’m sure that wasn’t the desired effect, but regardless…. ūüôā

It turns out that¬†bleeding hearts haven’t been Dicentra spectabilis for a few years now.¬† (I must have missed that memo).¬† They’re now Lamprocapnos spectabilis, which is pronounced sort of like you have marbles in your mouth.¬† Dicentra was too easy to say, apparently.¬† At any rate, you’re not¬†likely¬†to find bleeding hearts labelled with the new name at your garden centre, as most growers are still using Dicentra (it saves ink on the labels, perhaps!).¬† And many magazines¬†and other publications¬†are still¬†referring to¬†the old moniker, too, so please don’t go writing in to the editors all up-in-arms.

Oh, and are you still using the botanical name Coleus blumei¬†for coleus?¬† It’s actually Solenostemon scutellarioides.¬† (My tongue seriously¬†won’t go there, and it strains the limits of my ability to spell).

So, why do¬†these name changes occur – especially as they don’t seem to be for the better, at least as far as pronounciation is concerned?¬† It often¬†happens when¬†new information about the origins (and evolution) of plants comes to light, which necessitates a reclassification.¬† This means that genera are often juggled around,¬†or species names are¬†bumped up to¬†form new genera.¬†¬†¬†Sometimes, a name overhaul has to be undertaken when a plant is misidentified.¬†¬† It’s all about refining and recategorizing, not about giving gardeners a hard time.¬† Honestly.¬† For the most part, anyway.¬† ūüėČ

Well, I’m off to water my bleeding heart.¬† I think, from this day forward, his name shall be George.¬† (Oh, one of the plant’s¬†common names is “LADY in the bath,” you say?¬† Hmmm.¬† I’ll need to reclassify).

What are your favourite taxonomic hits and misses?