Scientific names of plants and birds whose common name begins with C

Campion -Red; Silene dioica

The common name Campion may derive from one or may be two possible explanations. Campion was a 14th century word a doublet of Champion. Flowers of the family were seen as champion flowers -fit for a Garland. 2' a name used in England in the 16th century was champaign,meaning a level and open country,and alludes to habitat,many belive that campion is a corruption of this word.

Silene the genus name, again has more than one possible explanation.1' It was dedicated to the Merry drunken god of the woodland-Silenus. 2' it derived from the Greek sialon,meaning saliva,which alludes to the gummy substance on the stems which it designed to repel insects.3'-From the Greek word for the moon which alludes to the night time flowering of some species.

dioica { pronounced dee oh eek a }means of two houses or dwellings which alludes to the fact that only one type of flower grows on each plant,either the flowers are all male or all female,thus two plants,a male and a female are required for pollination. 


 at's ear; Hypochoeris  radicata.

Cat's ear the common name alludes to the tiny black bracts that occur on the stem which are said to have the shape of a cat's ears.

Hypochoeris, the genus name two Greek words Hypo meaning under {below} + choeris indicating a pig. Pigs are  supposed to relish the plant's root as food.

radicata-- the specific name refers to the foliage that arise from the root,botanists refer to these as being radical.


Celandine-lesser,Ranunculus ficaria. {also referred to as the Pilewort}

Celandine, is merely a corruption of the Greek word chelidon indicating a Swallow, the flowers of some species flower in spring when the Swallow arrives. It is called the Lesser Celandine to distinguish it from the Greater Celandine. This species is not a true celandine.

Ranunuclus { buttercup family} derives from the Latin Rana meaning a frog  this family is said to share the same damp habitat as the animal.

ficaria. the specific name derives from ficus meaning fig-like and alludes to the tubers on the roots 

Pilewort was used medicinally to cure the affliction referred to in common parlance as the Piles.The nodules on the roots were said to resemble the affliction. 

ranberry Vaccinium oxycoccos.

Cranberry the common name--two possible explanations.1' From its unopened flower  on a long stalk,which together resembles a crane's head and neck. 2' The bogs and fens where cranberries grow are favourite feeding grounds for cranes.

Vaccinium The genus name-perhaps a corruption of the Latin bacca,meaning berry.

oxycoccos- the specific name indicates acrid berries.


Calamint; Calamintha officinalis.

Calamint-the common name derives from two Greek words Kalos,indicating excellent,because of the ancient belief in its powers to drive away serpents and the dreaded Balsilisk, the fabled king of serpents,whose very glance was fatal,+ mintha,the Greek name for mint. Alternatively from the Greek kallos,meaning beautiful + mintha -A beautiful mint.

officinalis--the specific name indicates it was sold as a drug at the Apothecary.


Cornflower; Centaurea  cyanus;

Cornflower, the common name and Hurt sickle the country name.Derive from the fact it was a common  and unwelcome weed of the corn field. In former times in the days of hand reaping the tough stems use to  blunt the sickle.

Centaurea the genus named after the Centaur,Chiron,who was famouse in Greek mythology for his skill in medicinal herbs and supposedly cured himself with it from a wound he had accidentally received from an arrow poisoned with the blood of Hydra.

cyanthus-the specific name there are two schools of thought. 1' from cyanus meaning dark blue referring to the flowers. 2' After a youthful devotee of the goddess Flora,named Cyanthus,whose favourite flower it was. 


Corn flower courtesy of H Zell. CC BY SA 3.0 unported license

Centaurea cyanus 0002.JPG

hiffchaff; Phylloscopus collybita

The Common name Chiffchaff is after its monotonous two note call.

Phylloscopsus the Genus name derives from Phullion-a leaf + shopos-a watcher.

Collybita the scientific name derives from kollubistes indicating a money-changer,again alluding to its two note call which sounds like a money changer counting his money.

Cormorant;  Phalacrocorax carbo

Cormorant-derives from the old French cormereng,from corp meaning a raven or crow ,probably related to the black colour +mareng,meaning of the sea,from Latin mare meaning sea,hence a sea raven or sea crow.

Phalacrocorax, the genus name derives from the Greek phalakros indicating bald+korax-a raven.

The species name of Carbo, from Latin meaning charcoal and again alluding to colour.


Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis.

Bulbulcus-The genus name derives from Medieval Latin and indicates Cow-herd.

ibis the species name an Ibis {bird}


Corncrake , Crex crex

Crex--derives from the Greek krex a long legged bird mentioned by Aristotle and others 

 Corncrake courtesy of Richard Wesley {Flickr} CC BY-SA 2.0 License.

oot, Fulica atra.

Genus name Fulica derives from the Latin name for the Coot.

Specific name atra,derives from latin ater=black  


Curlew, Numenius arquata.

Curlew the common name derives from a French word corlieu,perhaps of a sound made by its call.

Numenius, the genus name derives from Greek neos,meaning new +mene =moon.

arcuatus the specific name means bow-shaped. Both the genus and specific names allude to the shape of the bill.


Chaffinch. Fringilla coelebs.

Fringilla, is Latin from the Greek phrugilos a sparrow described by  Aristophanes.

coelebs, the specific name caelebs, meaning unmarried,alludes to the flocks during the winter being formed of single sexes.

Chaffinch courtesy of charlesjSharp {Sharp Photography} CC BY-SA 3.0 License.


Other Latin names you may come across in bird and plant books beginning with C

candicans  candidum= white.         Chloros -green   chysos=  golden  chryson-golden

cruentud -blood stained.                 citrina -lemon yellow        carnicolor = flesh coloured

Cyanum=blue                               caerkium =deep blue        cataria -of cats

calamus=field                               capitatus-dense head of flowers.

capreolata-bearing tendrils             canpana--bell                   campestre -of the fields

caelum=sky                                 chelidon=a swallow          chelone-turtle

chen-a goose                               concinnum-elegant          concinna- elegant

chamai = low growing.                   chamai--on the ground.    cheilos-lip

clypeolata-shield shape                 consolida-to make whole   convolla- to twine round.    

chroma=colour                             chrysanthus-golden flowered

coccinea - scarlet                         cupreata- coppery            cuprea-copper

cyanus=dark blue                         concolor- similarly coloured ie,petals and sepals.

cruenta-blood red                          canescens-ash grey         caucalis- burning {taste}

carnosa-fleshy                             caulescens {with} a stem   caudatus-- without a tail    

carpos=fruit                                 codon-- bell                       cathayensis--of China.

cennus=nodding                          cernuus=nodding.              chiastos-arranged cross wise.

cheima -relates to winter.              chion =snow                     chlide-luxury 

chorda  =cord                              chloe-grass                       cirrhosa  - with tendrils

communtata=changeable              convallis =a valley            contorta = twisted.

congestus=congested                  conferta-crowded               collina -growing on hills.

coryne-a club                               crassus=thick                   cristata =crested

cucullaria= hooded or hood-like     catarractae-of waterfalls     capillare- hair-like

citriodora-lemon scented               corniculatus-with small horns.

comos =tufted                             crenata-shallow rounded teeth

callianthus-beautiful flowers.         calma =reed.                      cerasifera=cherry bearing

communis=common                    clino=prostrate {to lean}       cono=cone

cliestus=closed                           cleisto=closed                    crossos-fringed {crossus}

cion-column                                cardia=heart                       capsula=a box

crepis=a boot                              cephale - a head                 carona=a crown

cyphos-curved                            cymbe - a boat                   caltha-a cup or goblet

cimex-a bug                                copros-dung                       cleros-a chance

colpane-to cut {coppice}               cordata-heart shaped         coriacea=leathery

crassifolia-thick leaved.                crispum-finely waved or wavy

cupsidata -with a stiff point           chaino- to gape {flowers}     cauticoloum-growing on cliffs

caperata-wrinkled.                        cercifera-wax bearing {waxy}

coronaria -used in garlands           crispula-wavy margins         catharticus -purging.

consifolia-leaves narrownto base.  cochleata-shell like. also cochleatum.

Cochlearis-spoon-shaped              caper-a goat                      cladus=a branch

cosmos-beautiful                          cyrtos=arched                    catharos-pure

ccytos=bladder                            crambe=dry {habitat}           callis -beauty

cleose-glory                                 calluno- sweep                   circe=Greek enchantress

cochlos=snail                               cypris-Venus                     clema-shoot or tendril

cratos=strength                            crithe=barley                      cissus=ivy

choeris= a pig                              caepa -onion                      caryon=a nut

celeos-burning {taste}                   cewinis-Of Kew {gardens}

comme--hair                                 cleis-a key                        cortula -a small cup

cymbalon=cymbal                        conferta=crowded              cucullaria -hood-like

chiastos-arranged cross like         cilicium- Of Cilicia { southern Turkey}

collina-growing on hills.                coriacea=leathery                chionanthe -snow white

campylo-curved                           caeus -blind                        chilensis Of Chile

cola=dweller                                coronatus-crowned              crytes {krupto} to hide

collus-neck collaris =neck            crescere -to grow                 chiton=a cloak

codion=wool                                coccos=berry                      centron=a spur

clethra-alder                                cyon =dry {habitat}               cuclos-a ring

cancellatus-latticed                     ciliata -fringed with hairs        cirrhoza-with tendrils.

crinon-lily                                   commutatum-changeable       cernum=nodding

colorata-coloured                        catophytum -beautiful plant,   creticum=Of Crete

canus -grey haired or pale grey                                               caulis- stem/stalk

columbaria-dove-like                   ceps-head                            cestus-girdle or belt

cneme -shin/leg                         corax- raven or crow              costalus - ribbed

cyanos-blue-green                      calcaria-spur{s}                     clava,clava- a club




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