Flowers with funny names

Flowers with funny names

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What’s in a name? It turns out quite a lot! We often think that flower names can be the least interesting thing about a plant but it turns out that there are some crazy, evil, and hilarious plant names out there.

More than this, many of these weird and wonderful names tell us a lot about a plant’s history – its uses, its appearance, and the myths surrounding it as it spread through civilizations.

Here’s ten of our favorite funny names for some common – and some rare – plants around the world.

Clever plant names

Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

This is perhaps one of the cleverest (if you count tongue-in-cheek humor) plant names out there. Mother-in-law’s tongue was so named after its long, sword-like leaves which were thought to be a very fitting and accurate representation of the sharp and cutting tongue of a stereotypical mother-in-law.

Of course, what makes this plant name clever is that it is in fact a double-edged sword (pun intended). Another reason given for this plant’s name is that it symbolizes the elegant beauty of a mother-in-law with its sensationally patterned leaves and marbled design.

You can decide which reason sounds more believable!

Cool sounding plant names

Darth Vader begonia (Begonia darthvaderiana)

A plant for all Star Wars fans. Discovered in only 2014 on the island of Borneo, this incredibly rare plant was named after the Sith Lord due to the deep greenness of its leaves whose coloring is so intense as to appear almost black. Coupled with deep red flowers, it’s not difficult to imagine why this almost black-leaved plant was named after Darth Vader.  

However, if you think this is the only begonia species to inherit the name of a Star Wars character, you would be mistaken! Let’s not forget a larger begonia species with green and silver leaves that was christened Begonia amidalae after Queen Amidala.

Crazy flower names

Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare)

This doesn’t sound like it could be a real flower’s name but it is! A beautiful, blue-flowered plant, Viper’s Bugloss takes its common name from the fact it was used to cure snape or viper bites. Bugloss refers to the shape of its leaves, which resemble ox tongues. The word is derived from Greek.

Are there evil plant names?

Yes, in the plant world there aren’t just funny, weird, and crazy names for some shrubs, there’s even some evil-sounding titles as well. Check out these spooky plant names.

Hooded Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata)

Could a plant sound more ominous? Despite the evil and scary connotations of its name, the Hooded Skullcap is not, as we might assume, poisonous or a harbinger of death. On the contrary, it is often used in traditional medicines with extracts of the flowering parts being used for nerve tonics by Native Americans as a sedative and diuretic.

In fact, the only creatures that need to be wary of this plant are pests as Scutellaria galericulata has naturally repellent properties that enable it to be used as an environmentally friendly pest-control agent.

Mad-dog Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Hooded skullcap’s relative, mad-dog weed is another evil sounding plant that again bears no relation to its ominous title. It too is currently being analyzed for its use as a natural and mild sleep sedative. Interestingly, this plant got its name from its healing properties in medieval times, when it was used as a remedy for rabid-dog bites.

Flowers with funny names

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

This white and yellow wildflower takes its name from the appearance of its flowers, which are bi-colored and yellow and whose central part strongly resembles a yolk. Much like other funny-sounding plants, butter and eggs has been used as an insecticide and used in traditional folk medicine.

Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana)

This puzzling name arises from the Victorian era. When it first arrived in England in 1850, noted barrister Charles Austin looked at the tree and wondered how a monkey could possibly climb it due to its stiff, spiky leaves. The matter puzzled the Victorians, who then believed that monkeys would have difficulty climbing it.

The name still persists today.

Are any scientific names for flowers funny?

Sometimes, it is a flower’s scientific name in which the humor lies. Take, for example, the humble milk thistle. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly funny about this plant’s name, does there?

Well, what if I told you that milk thistle’s scientific name was Silybum marianum? That is not a fake plant name, it is actually called Silybum – something that all English speakers cannot help but find amusing.

Its meaning couldn’t be more innocent, however. The genus name comes from the Greek word ‘silybos’, meaning ‘tuft’ or ‘tassel’. However, despite this logical explanation, I doubt this will stop being a funny plant name anytime soon.

Plants with weird names

There are so many plants with the weirdest names! Here’s a brief selection!

Cheeseweed Mallow (Malva parviflora)

Also known as Little Mallow, cheesewood mallow gets its name from the fact its fruit resembles mini cheese rounds. However, don’t be fooled, they may look like a wheel of cheese but they certainly don’t taste like it!

Bastard Toadflax (Comandra umbellata)

Well this one is just fun to say! While there is no real story behind this weird plant name, this plant’s properties have an interesting place in traditional remedies as they were used in Native American medicine to treat everything from eye irritation to colds, and canker sores.

As you can see, there is every kind of plant name - from the weird and wonderful to the funny and downright bizarre! If this has given you an itch to add some whacky-titled greenery into your life, head to for an incredible selection of plants, succulents, and flowering shrubs sure to delight and entertain you!

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