Flowers Named After People

Written by alyssa guzman
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Flowers Named After People
Many rose flowers are named after people. (Andrew Dernie/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Bougainvillea (Nyctaginaceae) is just one of many flowers named after people. Bougainvillea bears the name of the French botanist who discovered the plant. Chrysopsis mariana, commonly known as the Maryland golden star, is a daisy flower named after the Maryland doctor who introduced the flower to England during the 17th century. There are even flowers named after celebrities including LeAnn Rimes, Princess Diana of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor, Julia Child and Bollywood-star Shahrukh Khan.

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Begonia

Charles Plumier, a Franciscan monk and amateur botanist, first discovered begonia (Begonia semperflorens) in the Dominican Republic during the 16th century. Plumier named the plant in honour of Michel Begon, the commander of the Port of Marseilles and French patron of botany. Begonia belongs to the Begoniaceae family of flowering plants and represents over 1,000 different flower cultivars and hybrids. These bushy, fibrous-rooted plants produce showy flowers in a variety of colours. Begonia boliviensis originates from Bolivia and produces red-orange blooms, while Begonia grandis is native to Japan and produces blush-pink flowers. Begonias do not like excess moisture and develop best in well-drained soil in partly to fully shaded garden spots with protection from harsh sunlight and drying wind.

Frangipani (Plumeria)

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, a renowned French botanist and mentor to Charles Plumier, gave Frangipani the scientific name of Plumeria to honour French botanist Charles Plumier. The common name of the fragrant plant, Frangipani, is after an Italian nobleman and perfumer. Frangipani joins white oleander and periwinkle in the Apocynanceae (dogbane) family of flowering plants. The plumeria genus itself represents only eight flower species endemic to tropical America. Each cultivar possesses different growth habits and characteristics, including toxic compounds. Flowers are ornate, reach 2 to 3 inches in diameter and come in various shades of white, pink, red, yellow and purple. This sun-worshipping plant enjoys rainforest-like habitats and grows best in well-draining soil. Frangipani is not winter hardy or cold tolerant and survives a lowest temperature of 00 degrees Celsius.

Clarkia

Clarkia is the scientific plant name for several, native, showy, flower species including pink ribbons, herald of summer and mountain garland. The plant's scientific name honours Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The herald of the summer (Clarkia amoena) variety produces delicate, pinkish-lilac to white, cup-shaped, four-petaled flowers. Two magenta-coloured splotches decorate each petal. Clarkia amoena tolerates nutrient-poor, sandy loam soil and prefers sites similar to its native habitat of coastal bluffs and slopes. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website reports Clarkia amoena only flowers from June through August in three of the fifty states.

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