introduction-scientific names explained

Here we look at a selection of plants and birds whose common name begins with the letter D. It will conclude with other Latin words which you may come across in the scientific names in bird and plant books

The letter D Public domain uploaded to Commons courtesy of Fae  this includes all the images of the letter D that occur on this page.

aisy-Bellis perennis.

The common name of daisy is a corruption of 'days eye' alluding to the flowers opening during the daylight hours and closing during the hours of darkness.

Bellis-there are two schools of thought as to how the genus name is derived.1' Derives from Latin meaning beautiful. 2' May derive from the Dryad Bellidis.

perennis the specific name indicates perennial.


Daffodil-wild Narcissus psuedonarecissus.

Daffodil the common name is a very old name .According to Greek legend Ahave been given the name asphodelus was a name originally given to the plant which grew in the meadows of the underworld.Today that name is reserved for the plant Bog Asphodel. meanwhile alternative spellings of the word such as asphdilus,affodillus,and affadyl have evolved into the common name of daffodil. To confuse the situation even further  the wild daffodil has been referred to as Primrose peerless and Easter lily even though it is in a completely different family.

Narcissus the genus name, there are two schools of thought 1' After Narcissus in Greek mythology who is said to have turned into this plant after killing himself,because he could not reach the person he saw reflecting in the pool.2' some writers believe it derives from the word narkao,meaning to numb on account of its narcotic property in the bulb.

psuedonarcissusnpsuedo indicates sweet smelling {narcissus}


Dill; Anethum gravolens.

Dill, the common name is said to come from the Anglo-Saxon dylle or the Norse  dilla meaning to soothe or lull. It is also  known as dillwood and dillseed.

Anthum anethum, the genus name derives from the old Greek genus name of anethone,

graveloens  indicates strong smelling.

ead Nettle-white.Lamium alba.

Dead Nettle White, the common name reflects the plants inability to sting {also called blind nettle} +white coloured flowers.

Lamium--the genus name derives from the Greek word Laimos,meaning the throat,alluding to the shape of the blossom.

alba-Latin for white.

Alternative name of White archangel, is an old country name probably because it came into flower about the day that is dedicated to the Archangel  Michael, May 8th on the old calendar which was 11 days earlier than our May 8th.


Dock,curled; Rumex crispus.

The common name Curled dock alludes to the curly leaves.

Rumex,the genus name from Latin rumo indicating to suck, refers to the related Sorrel.

crispus is from Latin and means finely waved or wavy.


Danewort; Dwarf elder. Sambucus ebulus.

The common name Danewort. According to Sir J.E.Smith the name derives thus--" Our ancestors evinced a just hatred of their brutal enemies the Danes, in supposing the nauseous,fetid and noxious plant,have sprung from their blood"

Dwarf elder, From the appearance of the flowers leaves and berries to the related elder tree { the stem of this plant is not woody.

Sambucus, the genus name derives from the Greek Sambusca, the name of an ancient Roman musical instrument made from the wood of an elder tree.

ebulus indicates edible.


Dyer's Greenweed, Genista tinctoria.

Dyer's Greenweed the common name, alludes to the plant was employed to make a good yellow dye. 

Genista Is a Latanised Celtic word,Gen,indicating a small bush,or almost leafless shrub,l;ike the related broom.

tinctoria-the specific name signifies its use as a dye { used for dying.}


Danewort flowers,Sambucus ebulus; courtesy of Willow CC BY 2.5 Generic license.


Birds whose common name begins with D

otteral;[Charadius morinellus.

Dotterel the common name derives from the word dolt,so called fro its alleged stupidity whereas it was indeed the stupidity of humans that believed it to be so.

Charadrius- the genus name derives from the Greek Kharadra a ravine.

morinellus- the specific name also alludes to the birds alleged stupidity from the Greek morus meaning silly.


Dunlin; Calidris alpina. 

The common name Dunlin derives from dun meaning a tan colour+ lin  indicates small

Calidris-the genus name derives from the Greek kalidris a grey water side bird described by Aristotle 

alpina the specific name from Latin alpinus indicating alpine 


Dove,Turtle;Streptopelia turtur

Streptopelia the genus name derives from the Greek streptos -a collar peleia meaning a dove.

turtur the specific name derives from the Latin turtur=Turtle Dove. 


Public domain-wiki-commons

artford warbler; Slyvia undata.

Dartford alludes to habitat it occurs in Dartford England.

Sylvia the genus name from Latin silva=a wood.

undata the specific name  derives from Latin undatus=a wavy from unda=a wave.


Dipper; Cinclus cinclus

Dipper alludes to its habitat and the way it dips {bobs} up and down when  anxious.

Cinclus the genus and specific name derives from the Greek Kinklos a small water bird mentioned by Aristotle and others.



Dabchick {Little grebe}; Tachybaptus ruficollis

The common name dabchick probably derives from the old English Dop meaning to dive +chick probably alluding to its small size.

Tachybaptus the genus name derives from the Greek takhos indicating fast +bapto indicating to sink under.

The specific name of ruficollis derives from the Latin rufus=reddish + collus=neck. 



Dabchick with chick; Courtesy of Derek Keats  CC BY-SA 2.0 License

Other Latinn names you may come across while reading 

dina;deino-indicates terrible             demos-chain                       dealbata=whitened

dentata-tooth                                 digitata-finger-like                derma =skin

di;dis=2 or twice                             diadema-crown                   distans=widely spread.   divaricatus =spreading {branches}    dorus=a bag                       dulse dulsa-sweet

drakeina =dragon                           draconitum- Dragon like        drupaceae-fleshy fruit

dioica-of two house {indicates flowers of one species only one a single plant thus two plants one of each sex is needed for pollination  to occur.

difusum=spreading.                        decurrens=base of leave merges with stem.

diphylla =two leaved.                      demiuta =small                    diplos=double

dis=twice                                       daphne=a nymph                  dais to burn {taste}

drimys-acrid {taste}                        daphne is also Greek for Laurel

dicolour-two coloured                     dasyphyllum=hairy leaves       dorsum=black

demurum -grows under water          delphis=dolphin                      dactylos-finger

dacydion-a small tear                     dipsa =thirst                          dierma-funnel shaped

dissectum=finely cut.                     dodeka=12                            decimus-10

dory=a spear                                 drosera = dewy                      dorea=a gift

dracula =little dragon                      drannunculus-small dragon      dolobrata-hatchet shaped

deltoides greek letter delta Shape   decorata-decorative                difforme-of unusual shape

distichium in 2 ranks                      densum -compact                  drabe=pungent

dios -divine                                   dendron= a tree                      dicha =bifid

dryad=a nymph                             dryas-a wood nymph              denuata=naked

decipiens=deceptive                      denticulata-slightly toothed      dactylos- finger or toe





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Specific names-A

Scientific names -B

Scientific names-C.

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