March 26, 2013
First off, credit goes to Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant brilliance for pointing out on Twitter that these are, and I quote, “beautiful flowers with a load of the stupidest other names possible.”
She’s… yeah, she’s right.
Known to most as the wild pansy, Viola tricolor is the precursor to the cultivated pansy. But while horticulturists might ascribe terrible names to their selective greenhouse creations, the originals don’t have it much easier. Here are some of the sad sobriquets dumped on this otherwise innocent blossom—take them as edification or caveat.
Johnny Jump-Up
Love-lies-bleeding
Loving idol
Call-me-to-you
Three-faces-under-a-hood
Godfathers and godmothers
Pink-eyed-John
Flower o’Luce
Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me
Heart’s ease
Heart’s delight
Tickle-my-fancy
Love-in-idleness
Come-and-cuddle-me
Apocryphal? Some of them, maybe; imagine shouting in joy over “a bucolic field of come-and-cuddle-mes!” Then again, humanity sits on a history of dropping saccharine nicknames on any wildflowers we can’t identify off the bat. And here we are, explaining often and again why the Latin name of a given plant is actually easier than relying on the common.
My two cents? Blame Britain’s pastoral poets! Or Walt Whitman, if you happen to be British. —MN

First off, credit goes to Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant brilliance for pointing out on Twitter that these are, and I quote, “beautiful flowers with a load of the stupidest other names possible.”

She’s… yeah, she’s right.

Known to most as the wild pansy, Viola tricolor is the precursor to the cultivated pansy. But while horticulturists might ascribe terrible names to their selective greenhouse creations, the originals don’t have it much easier. Here are some of the sad sobriquets dumped on this otherwise innocent blossom—take them as edification or caveat.

  • Johnny Jump-Up
  • Love-lies-bleeding
  • Loving idol
  • Call-me-to-you
  • Three-faces-under-a-hood
  • Godfathers and godmothers
  • Pink-eyed-John
  • Flower o’Luce
  • Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me
  • Heart’s ease
  • Heart’s delight
  • Tickle-my-fancy
  • Love-in-idleness
  • Come-and-cuddle-me

Apocryphal? Some of them, maybe; imagine shouting in joy over “a bucolic field of come-and-cuddle-mes!” Then again, humanity sits on a history of dropping saccharine nicknames on any wildflowers we can’t identify off the bat. And here we are, explaining often and again why the Latin name of a given plant is actually easier than relying on the common.

My two cents? Blame Britain’s pastoral poets! Or Walt Whitman, if you happen to be British. —MN

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  5. spell37 said: If your dad is an amateur botanist, then all you ever learn is the Latin!! Thanks for the slang!
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