Jainaba Jobarteh: Decoding the Names of Plants in Your Garden

Having a lot of experience with gardening, Jainaba Jobarteh knows that gardening interests may take a variety of forms. You may be interested in growing vegetables, flowers, or fruits. No matter what you choose, you probably care about plants and nature.

Keeping your future plants alive and well requires some preparation. Gardening is a combination of botany and horticulture. Botany is a scientific study of plants, and horticulture is the practice of garden cultivation and management. These names may sound confusing, but what you care about is a simple practical reality that doesn’t have to be complex.

First and foremost, you want to know what to call a plant so that you can communicate with other gardeners and seed sellers. Plants usually have two names. One is a scientific botanical name and the second one is a common name.

The botanical name of a plant usually has two parts. They are the genus name and the species name. The species name is similar to the first name of a person and the genus name is similar to a last name. For example, Hosta undulata is a full botanical name in which hosta describes a genus of plants and undulata specifies the type of hosta. Hosta undulata is a hosta with a leaf that has a wavy form.

Some botanical names have a third word in them, which is something that Jainaba Jobarteh doesn’t see very often. This third word usually refers to the variety of a plant.

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