This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In England, a movement has been inaugurated to give common names to plants that have not yet become common. Botanical names often seem hard, and an easy common name very desirable; but we fancy to be successful with popular names they must spring spontaneously from the popular mind. In botanical names, there is the advantage of a recognized rule for naming plants, and which all scientific men agree to abide by, but there is no such rule in regard to common names. One man feels as good as another to give a plant a common name, and we should soon come to the stage when one person could not tell what the other is talking about. In a recent number of the Garden, for instance, we find the following "common names" given to plants, which names are already either appropriated by other plants, or the plants have other names: Silver Maple, Acer negundo variegatum; but Silver Maple here is Acer dasycarpum; Spice shrub,Calycanthus floridus - the common name of Laurus Benzoin. Tassel flower is given as Cacalia coccinea, but which is surely more generally known as Venus' Paint Brush. Cigar flower, Cuphea eminens, is more used wholly for Cuphea platycentra. Morning Pride, Scabiosa, is Mourning Bride, and a curious instance of how a common name may become corrupted.
Joseph's Coat is here appropriated to Amarantus tricolor, but we are mistaken if there are not at least half a dozen other plants that would claim a share in that celebrated garment.
All these litttle facts show that there is trouble ahead for those who are working among common names, as well as for those who deal in the often harder botanical ones.