University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

An A-Z of Plant Names Quiz

See if you can identify the meanings of the following "roots" or prefixes of plant names commonly (and some not so commonly) seen. Maybe you might even see some of these in a crossword! Click on the plant name "root" for the answer, then your back button to return for the next. Need some help? A complete glossary can be found at: http://garden-gate.prairienet.org/botrts.htm

example: penta- means five, such as pentapylla or five leaves
 


Roots:

adeno-

bland-

cantabr-

delph-

edul-

falc-

glad-

heli-

iber-

japon-

ligul-

majal-

nepalens-

ob-

patens

rup-

sagit-

tect-

util-

villos-

xer-

zebr-
 


Answers:

adeno- refers to a gland, as in Adenophylla or "gland-bearing"

bland- means mild or pleasant, as in blanda

cantabr- refers to cantabrius or a part of Spain

delph- refers to a dolphin, as in Delphinium (flowers are said to resemble dolphins)

edul- means edible, as in edulis

falc- refers to a sickle shape, as in falcatus

glad- refers to a sword, as in gladiator, or Gladiolus (due to the leaves shaped like swords)

heli- refers to the sun, as in the yellow Perennial Sunflower or Helianthus

iber- refers again to a part of Spain, this time Iberia, as in Iberis

japon- another geographic designator, this time Japan, as in japonicus

ligul- refers to a strap shape, as in Ligularia

majal- refers to the month of May, often when a plant blooms, as in majalis

nepalens- geographic, referring to Nepal, as in nepalensis or nepalense

ob- commonly seen on other roots, meaning reverse or opposite, such as obovatus (reverse of ovate or egg-shaped)

patens is usually the whole species name, meaning spreading

rup- refers to rocks, as in a plant habitat, as in rupestris or rupicola (cliff dwelling)

sagit- refers to an arrow-shape, as in sagitarrius

tect- refers to a roof, usually as in a plant habitat, as in tectorum

util- means useful, as in utilis

villos- means hairy, as in villosus

xer- means dry, usually referring to a plant habitat (xeriphytic), fruit (xerocarpa), or flower (Xeranthemum)

zebr- refers to a zebra, as in striped leaves, as in zebrina


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Back to The Arcade for more games and quizzes with perennials, or to Perry's Perennial Pages.