There's an interesting post by plant expert Allan Armitage over at Garden Rant about whether people in the hort industry should be using botanical or common names in the garden centres. Do you expect your customers to learn "Latin" names or not? This was the question at a recent landscape symposium where he was a speaker.
On the one hand, there is the argument that common names are confusing and that they vary throughout the country (never mind across continents). In addition, as gardeners and landscapers learn more, they get more comfortable referring to plants by their botanical names.
However, Armitage had a contrarian view:
“As professionals, we should know, use and promote the common names to simplify and make the buying experience more user-friendly. To think that my daughter Heather is ever going to learn Chaenomeles instead of quince, Baptisia rather than indigo, and to think she will ever get her tongue around Calibrachoa is ludicrous; she hasn’t the time or the interest. We should know those names, but yes, we should be using common names. Absolutely. Not as a substitute but as a way of making Heather feel more comfortable.”You can read the whole post here. The comments are interesting too, with people weighing in on both sides of the issue.
I'm inclined to agree with Armitage, but I think it's always good to use both when possible to avoid confusion, even though it's a lot for my aging brain to keep straight. (But thanks to Dr. Google, and a library of hort books in my study, it's not too much trouble.)
What do you think?
*Monarda didyma (Photo: Margaret Grant)