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16th Century German Botanist Named these Three Plants

You may wonder where plants get their names.

The source could be from anywhere. There just has to be agreement on the name.

In the case of the ‘dahlia’, the name originated from Anders Dahl, a former student of Linnaeus at the University of Uppsala in the eighteenth century.

Three familiar flowers received their name from a professor of botany in the sixteenth century.

His name was Conrad Gesner (1516-1565). [below]

Conrad Gesner in an engraving by Conrad Meyer (1662)

The three wonderful flowers he named were the tulip, canna, and fritillary.

That is, according to garden writer Anna Pavord.

She mentions that in her wonderful book The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants.

That means that for all these centuries we have simply used Gesner’s name when we encounter one of these flowers.

Pavord writes, “Until the 1560s, most flowers grown in European gardens had been natives of Europe and the Mediterranean: calendulas, different colored columbines, violas, and kinds of primrose.”

Their names may have come from a long-standing tradition of naming them a certain way, but also from people who encountered them and admired them, but also wanted them to have their own names.

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