#Botanistlens: Snakes head, Tubergens gems, Red ridding hood, Elizabeth and a large galaxy!

Plant common names are at times fun for children and those young at heart, especially when you have names like Snakes head and red riding hood! They can be very intriguing as well, when named after a person, Elizabeth, Eric Savil or Tubergen gems.


Currently at London Town, other than the Magnolia and Camellia blooms, the ground cover ephemerals are also waking up. Two unique Tulips are, the Tubergens gems- Tulipa clusiana and Red Riding hood Tulip also called the 'Botanical Tulip' referring to the original, first variety of tulips before breeders hybridized and transformed the delicate flowers into a robust sturdy flower.

Plant breeding has its pros and cons. In ornamental flower breeding, especially in Magnolias and Camellias it is very crucial and interesting how finer and cold hardy varieties of Camellias very formed and are available to many in the trade. In Magnolias, hybridizing helped in forming newer color combinations, shape and size of flower, etc.

Amongst Tulips, the most special are the delicate small wild tulips which are the ancestors of the tall almost faux flower shaped tulips. Tulips have been cultivated since the 10th century, but it wasn't till the 15th or 16th century that they became more popular in the west. Wild Tulips naturalize faster and are true perennials.

Plant common names taken after a breeder for e.g., Elizabeth, Tubergen, Eric Savil might be easy to remember, but doesn't 'Snakes Head' seem to be the one that would be most intriguing to any age group? Snakes head- Fritilarias are delicate ephemerals with squared shaped dropping flowers, sometimes also called checkered Lily. But Snakes head is probably easiest and fun to remember.

Fun and intriguing plant common names are ample, but nothing beats a 'Galaxy' Magnolia. The flower shape, color, size and fragrance are the best! Galaxy Magnolia was a Hybrid from U.S. National Arboretum (1963). Planted on grounds back in late 1970's, the 'Galaxy' of London Town is sure to draw anyone towards its spatial beauty!


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