…A Rose, By Any Other Name…

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…”
– Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet

Not knowing the botanical names of many plants, I’ve never thought that it lessened my enjoyment of them, and still don’t. A rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet. Or, to use another cliché, a rose is a rose is a rose. By that, Gertrude Stein meant that things are what they appear to be. It is what it is.

On the flip side, from Anne of Green Gables:

Well, I don’t know.” Anne looked thoughtful. “I read a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”

I leave it to you to decide. :) In the meantime, I discovered a site that has been very useful and thought I would share the link for those who may also struggle with botanical names. This site will translate Latin plant names into their common names, and vice versa. I’m making an effort to learn as much as I can about the plants I love, but until I master those terms, I’ve found this site to be most helpful.

photo © Nancy Bond


Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

13 thoughts on “…A Rose, By Any Other Name…”

  1. Nancy, what a gorgeous photo! I also love the green background (see having access to high speed really allows me to see all these things I never used to be able to see :)


  2. thank goodness for bloggers to do some research one person can’t possibly do all by themselves. i have added the plant dictionary link to my favorites. thanks.

  3. Hi nancy .. what a beautiful picture .. soft and dewy .. I love roses. Thank you for that wonderful site too !

  4. I just love roses, and hope to work on my rose bed this weekend. What a handy website,thanks for the info!

  5. I think Ann may be right :)
    I like what you’ve done with that photo.
    Thanks for the link to that handy website.

  6. I actually think they could have come up with a different more exotic name for a rose.

    Beautiful, the way the photo is done, Nancy.

  7. Thanks for sharing the link to the site. It will be very handy!

    I have a rose garden. Roses are my favorite flower. I don’t know the names of any of the roses I own. It doesn’t make them smell any less sweet or look any less beautiful.

  8. I love this rose imagine – it looks part photo, part painting. The colours are wonderful. I’ve grown up with mostly common names, so often I have no idea what a Latin name means. This sounds like a great resource.

  9. Nancy, I just bought a book at my local bookstore which you might love. It’s called Pull Up Your Agapanthus, Your Aster Is Showing by Elizabeth S. Creamer. It has the Latin names, how to pronounce them, and the more common name. There are funny illustrations with little word jokes, and a guide to the meaning of Latin words. At a little under 100 pages, it is an easy and delightful reference. I expect mine will be used a lot.

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