Saturday, October 25, 2014

Primulina --- So what's the common name going to be?

Primulina 'Nimbus' grown by Beverly Williams
Story  # 139,

            Plants have common names and botanical names.  Common names evolve over time and have infinitely different origins.

            The common names help the casual observer identify plants and make life simpler, e.g., the burn plant got associated with Aloe vera because its sap can be used on minor kitchen burns.

            Confusion arises when there are several common names like ‘String of peas’. ‘String of pearls’, ‘Pea vine’ for Senecio rowleyanus.

            Botanical names follow strict nomenclature rules, such that a particular species can only have one Latin name, described as Genus and species.  Some plants settled on the botanical name being the common name, e.g., Poinsettia and Chrysanthemum.

            The question is what are we going to call Primulina?

             I'm proposing that Primulina is like an African Violet, but better!

            Primulina species are native to China and North Vietnam.

            Will they become known as Chinese Violets, Vietnamese Violets or just Primulina?

            I would have voted for Chiritas, the previous and much cooler Genus name for Primulina.  Primulina will get confused with Primrose (Genus: Primula)

            My second choice would be Vietnamese Violets.  Vietnam should be known for something besides a futile war.

            The ultimate choice to match up with African Violets is Asian Violets.

            Will the name ‘Asian Violets’ become common?


  1. I sold several Primulina this year calling them "Asian Violets," but also including their botanical names. I'm amused to see you using that same name!

  2. TwoBear.

    Common names have a life of their own, so I don’t know what name will become the accepted leader. If Primulina is to become a commercial foliage plant, we need to think big. ‘Asian Violet’ should be the one.
    Thank you for reading and commenting.


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