Monday, April 16, 2012

How can there be 1,000 named Streptocarpus when no one ever heard of Streptocarpus?

Streptocarpus 'Fernwood's Cherries Jubilee'
Story # 3
                Streptocarpus is an unfortunate word.  Most people who know the plant, have by now, heard the common reaction by a newcomer:  “Sounds like a disease”.  Streptocarpus (twisted fruit) and Streptococcus (twisted germ) are descriptive if you know your Latin.  The rest of us are just happy to be able to pronounce it.

                No good common name has ever evolved.  Cape Primrose just adds to the confusion.  ‘Cape’ is a reference to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa where all the Streptocarpus species are native.  ‘Primrose’ came from the somewhat look alike narrow leaves.  Since Streptocarpus is not related to a Primrose nor winter hardy, this is misleading.

                The branding of Streptocarpus by GreenFuse as the Ladyslipper Streptocarpus may catch on but I hope not.  Most people have Ladyslipper reserved for an Orchid and are happy with themselves if they know it is a Paphiopedilum.

                Hobby people call them their “Streps”.

                No one could say Chrysanthemum before it became a major crop and turned into ‘Mum’.

                I’m holding out for calling them by their Genus name, Streptocarpus (Strep-Toe-Car-Pus).

                We’ll all look smarter.

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