Scientific names explained a selection of plants and birds whose common name begins with T. The illustration of the letter T that occurs on this page are Public domain and uploaded to Creative Commons via Fae

easel.  Dipsacus fullonum

The common name of Teasel derives from the Anglo-Saxon word taesan ,signifying to tease cloth and refers to the use of the flower heads by cloth workers. The plant was used for' teasing' wool 

The genus name of Dipsacus deri,meaning 'that which is to sacrifice',orves from the Greek indicating 'I thirst' and alludes to the way rain water collects in the cup-like structures around the stem and leaves.

The specific name of fullonum alludes to the Fullers people that worked with wool.


Thyme,wild. Praecox sssp,articus.

Thymus /time derive from the Egyptian word tham,meaning an aromatic plant. Or from the Greek thumon meaning 'That which is to sacrifice'. Or thumus indicating courage, the plant being held in high esteem as a source of invigoration,its cordial properties inspiring courage

The genus name of Praecox indicates early flowering.

ssp,indicates a sub-species.

The specific name of articus indicates jointed. 


Tutsan. Hypericum androsaemum.

The namderives from the Greek andros e Tutsan derives from the Anglo-Saxon 'tutsaine' indicating wholesome or all healthy,referring to the plants proven antiseptic properties.

The genus name of Hypericum derives from the Greek hyper indicating above +eikon meaning a picture, it was hung over pictures to ward off evil spirits.

androsaemum the specific name derives from the Greek andros meaning man+haima =blood a name given to plants that have a red sap. 

Teasel the heads when the flowers have finished were used in teasing wool. Courtesy of Steve Daniels CC BY-SA 2.0 License.

Teasel seed heads near Didcot Power Station - geograph.org.uk - 1348984.jpg

histle,Carline. Carlina vulgaris.

The common name and genus name of Carline derives from legend. When the army of the eighth century Frankish king Charlemagne was stricken by the plague,it was said that he prayed for help. An angel carrying a bow and arrow appeared and told the monarch to shoot an arrow.The arrow came to rest on the Carline thistle.. The arrow came to rest on the Carline thistle. From then the plant was known as the Carolina or Carline thistle  which is a corruption of  his name Charlemagne.

The specific name of vulgaris  indicates common. 


Thistle, Milk. Silybum marianum.

The common name derives from the fact that it was used medicinally for increasing milk flow of nursing mothers. Folklore connects  the white veins of the plant's leaves to milk spilt on them by the Virgin Mary giving rise ,also, to country names  such as Our Lady'd Thistle or Marian thistle. Indeed the Specific name of marianum indicates the Virgin Mary.

The genus name of Silybum derives from the Greek silybon the name of a similar plant.


Twin Flower. Linnaea borealis.

The common name alludes to the fact that only two flowers grow at the top of each stem opposite to each other.

The genus name of Linnaea is after Linnaeus who popularised the bionominal system of naming plants. One name for the genus and one name for the species.

The specific name of borealis indicates a plant of the northern hemisphere. 



Twin Flower. Courtesy of Jacob W Frank originally posted to Flickr uploaded by   AlbertHerring CC BY 2.0 generic license.

urnstone. Arenaria interpres.

The common name of Turnstone alludes to the birds habit of seeking out its food under stones and seaweed etc.

Arenaria the genus name derives from Latin arenarius indicating of the sand alluding to the birds habitat.

The specific name of interpres is Latin and means messenger. 


Terek Sandpiper. Xenus cinereus.

The genus name of Xenus derives from the Greek xenos indicating a stranger.

the specific name of cinereus indicates ash coloured from cinis ashes.


Tufted Puffin. Fratercula cirrhata.

It is thought that the name of Puffin may be of Cornish { South west England} origin.Tufted alludes to the long feathers on the head see image below.

The genus name of Fratercula is from the Medieval Latin and indicates a Friar.

The specific name of cirrhata is also from Latin and indicates curly headed. 

ern,Common.  Sterna hirundo


The common name of tern derives from the old Norse therna,related to Swedish tarna 

The genus name of Sterna is also from the link.

hirundo,means Swallow and alludes to the birds tail streamers. It is sometimes referred to as the sea swallow.


Turtle Dove , Streptopelia turtur.

The common name and the specific name derive from derive from the Old English turtla and the Latin turtur, probably of imitative origin.

The genus name of Streptopelia derives from the Greek streptos =a collar + pelia = a dove


Treecreeper .Cethia familiaris

The common name alludes to the birds habitat and the way it creeps up the trunk of the tree. 

The genus name of Certhia derives from the Greek  Kerthios a small tree-dwelling bird described by Aristotle and others.

The  specific name of familiaris=familiar.

Treecreeper. Courtesy of princetonnature CC BY-SA 3.0 unported license.  Crossley's ID Guide to Britain and Ireland. Richard Crossley.

Other Latin words you may come across when reading plant/bird books -with their meanings.

Tardivia=late flowering.           tardiflora=late flowering                tarda=late  

tabuliformis-flat topped           taraxos-disorder                          tendere=to stretch

tenure/tenex=to hold              tegere=to cover                          temifolia=leaves in three's.

teres-cylindrical                    tenella -dainty/tender/delicate       teleios=perfect

tephros=ash coloured           telpos=seen from afar/showy         tetra=four      

tetragonum -four angled stem                                                  tenace=tough

tenuior slender leaved          tenuiflora=finely divided flowers       terra=earth

testudo=tortoise                  thallos=young shoot                     thallassa=the sea

tetranda=four stamens         theros =summer                           tigris=tiger

tiara=small crown                thele=nipple                                 thios=god

theka=fruit                          thermos-indicates Lupin                theca=a case   

thrautos=fragile                  tinctoria/tingre -used in dyes           thumon =thyme

thallien-to bloom                 tuphos=fen                                    tinea=worm 

talus=ankle                       tinnire to ring {bell}                         trichos=hair

tristis =sad                        tropaion=trophy                             triton=weather cock

tri=3                                  tragos=goat                                  trachys=rough 

trachelos=neck                  typos=type                                   tunicata=coated

trifida=three lobed               tunerosa=tuberous/rhizome           trionum=3 coloured

tremula=trembling             tromentosa/tormentum = hairy        turba peat/turf

trifolium =3 leaflets            trachos-a wheel                             turgere/turnere =to swell

trioecia 3 houses              tridentum=3 toothed                       tribein=to rub

txicum-indicates poison                                                         tardus/tardi=slow or late

trifurcate having three branches                                            trigonus=triangular stems.

triperous=of fruits and seeds having a 3 wing like parts

tristichous=arranged in three rows especially having three vertical rows of leaves.

truncate-having a blunt end as though cut off at the tip from Latin truncare meaning to lop {off}

triqutrus-triangular three cornered.                                      torquis= a collar

trivialis=common             takhos/tachy= fast                        tatus ornamented with or coloured

tres/tris/tri-indicates three                                                  trollius=meaning a bowl {alludes to shape of the flowers}.                                                        .terricolus=living in soil              

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