The plant world was first described and named by the ancient Greeks and Romans and then codified by Swedish botanist and zoologist, Carl Linnaeus.
Today, plants are identified by a mixture of Greek and Latin names at the family, genera and species level. Some genera and species also have names that honour those that either discovered plants, worked in botany or were explorers within the precincts of the plant kingdom. I have chosen a few specially- named, local daisy plants.
Family Asteraceae (Greek -Aster= star-like)
Wrinkled Buttons, Leiocarpa gatesii. (pp6-7*)
The genus name from Greek, Leios= bald unembroidered, Greek carpos=fruit, seed, describes the bald, wrinkled, fruits of the button-like flowers; gatesii honours Reverend A Gates who holidayed regularly on the coast and discovered this unique endemic plant in 1921 near Lorne. It was believed extinct but re-emerged in 1984 in Anglesea district after the Ash Wednesday bushfires.
Heath Daisy, Allitta uliginosa, (pp52-3)
This solitary local genus was named after William Allitt, a 19th Century Australian botanist and plant collector for celebrated Victorian Herbarium director, Ferdinand Von Mueller.
Allitt lived at Tyrendarra (32 k NE of Portland) where he had a nursery and was first curator of the Portland Botanic Gardens, the second oldest in Victoria, established in 1857. Allitt is also commemorated by the species, Leucopogon allittii; for this species the Latin, uliginosa=marshy, moist.
Fringed Everlasting, Chrysocephalum baxteri, (pp54-55)
The genus derives from Greek,Chryso= golden, Greek cephalum=head; baxteri after William Baxter, the 19th Century English nurseryman and botanical collector who came to Australia with a quest to gather promising commercial cuttings and seeds of plants for nurseries in England, including Kew Gardens. He has ten Australian species named after him including, Banksia baxteri (Birds Nest Banksia) and Eucalyptus baxteri (Brown Stringybark).
Common Cassinia , Cassinia aculeate, (pp80-81)
The genus Cassinia, spawned by Robert Brown, honours the 18-19th Century Italian/French noble lawyer and amateur botanist, Count Alexandre de Cassini, who dedicated his studies to the sunflower family; the species name is from Latin, aculeatus= prickly, stinging and is often called ‘dogwood’ for the itching it causes.
Showy Podolepis , Podolepis jaceoides, (pp94-5)
This genus gets its name from the Latin root, podus=foot, Latin lepis=scales. The species name jaceoides aptly refers to an ‘old world’ genus of Jacea; meadow plants with an upright stem and a whirl of fringed ray-florets, exactly like the local podolepis. However, botanists were not satisfied and have renamed the species recently with the non-descript Latin epithet, decipiens=ensnare or deceptive (a not obvious species). Most helpful!
*Pages refer to Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet (2009)