This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
B. M., St. Louis, Mo.. says: 'I have not hitherto appreciated what you say about the disadvantages of common names; but I now do, at least to the extent of three dollars! Years ago the indomitable Billy Prince introduced to us the Dioscorea Batatas, or Chinese Yam, and, with my love of novelties, I invested a dollar therein. It was fair enough for a novelty, but the odor of roses which scented the advertisements soon disappeared, and I let my Chinese Yam go. But - tell it not in Aska-lon! - I saw a nice little advertisement of a "Cinnamon Vine," and invested three dollars in that same, only to find on receipt that it was my old friend, the Dioscorea, come back again! I wish I had them three dollars back; I am opposed to common names. Now walk straight in, Mr. Editor, and break it all up. Must I lose them three dollars ? What is to be done ? I am sick of common names that cost me three dollars!"
[Old things come out as new under botanical names sometimes, as well as under common ones. Of course it is easier to get into such trouble by common names than by the scientific ones, yet the"common" name is hardly responsible here. It may be by design that the name of "Chinese Yam "has been changed, so as to make a good "strike;" or it may have been started as"Cinnamon Vine "in ignorance that it was the old Chinese Yam. No intelligent nurseryman or florist would sell a root under such a name without stating that it was"Dioscorea Batatas," because such "deceptions "or "mistakes "always react unfavorably on his permanent business. We fear"them three dollars" are "gone" beyond recovery; and the only good advice we can give is that when you see things advertised that are not in the best nursery catalogues, whose issuers are always in the advance, wait till you do; but if you are very anxious to be in first on a new thing which even the best men in the trade have not - well, then you must pay for that glorious privilege, and even three dollars is a cheap sum to pay for it. - Ed].