A selection of plants and birds whose common name begins with G..   Latin names explained.

arlic mustard. Alliaria petiolta

Garlic mustard the leaves smell and taste like garlic.

Alliaria-the genus name derives from the Greek name meaning garlic.

The species name petiolata means the leaf having a prominent stalk. 

Jack-by-the-Hedge, the country name for the plant alludes to its habitat.


Groundsel.   Senecio vulgaris

The common name of Groundsel derives from the Anglo-Saxon groundeswyle, meaning a ground glutton.

The genus name of Senecio. The head of white hairs that appear when the plant is in seed give the species its genus name Senecio means old man.

vulgaris-means common.


Guelder rose  Viburnum opulus.

The common name  alludes to the Dutch province of Guelderland, where many believe it originated.

The genus name of Viburnum is the Latin name for the genus which includes the Wayfaring Tree.

The specific name of opulus , means a kind of Maple referring to the leaves of the Guelder rose which look like those of some maples.

ypsywort.  Lycopus europaeus.

The common name of Gypsywort alludes to the way rogues mascarading as Gypsies,fortune tellers,and Magicians in archiac times used to daub their faces and bodies with a strong black dye produced by the plant to give appearance of being appearance Gypsies or Egyptian.Hence its alternative common name of Egyptian herb.

The genus name of Lycopsus derives from the Greek Lykos meaning a wolf, refers to a related species.

eurpaeus, the specific name means of Europe found throughout Europe.


Golden Rod. Solidago virgaurea.

The common  name refers to the spikes of golden flowers.

The genus name of Solidago derives from the Latin Solido meaning to make whole or to strengthen refers to medicinal uses.

The specific name of virgaurea derives from the Latin name for rod.


Good King Henry. Chenopodium bonus-henricus.

Good King Henry. Despite it s very English sounding common name.  it is in fact a translation of the German Guter heinrich, meaning a good Henry.Henry was not a figure in German history, but probably an elf figure,similar to the 'robin' that appears in English plant names.

Chenopodium  the genus name derives from the Greek Chen meaning a goose + pous indicating a foot and alludes to the shape of the leaf.

The specific name of bonus-henricus means Good henry see above. 

reylag Goose .  Anser anser

Grey because of its colouring.

Anser is both the specific and genus name for this species   derives from Latin Anser meaning a goose.


Gadwall   Anas streperus.

Gadwall, is from an unknown or obscure origin. 

Anas- derives from Latin and means duck.

The specific name of streperus derives from Latin and indicates noisy


Gargarney.   Anas querquedula 

Gargarney According to K von Gesner who introduced the term from the Italian garganello a name for various Teal-like ducks . thought to be from Latin gargallo =Throat. { gargel}

Anas the genus name fro Latin anas meaning duck

the species name of querquedula derives from Latin indicating a type of duck 

rey Heron. Ardea cineria

The common name Heron is thought to derive from the Middle English heiro related to the French heiron. Grey aludes to the colour of the bird.

Ardea the genus name derives from ardea the Latin name for the heron.

cineria, the specific name derives from the Latin cinerius ash coloured from cinis=ashes again alluding to the birds colouring.


Great crested grebe.  Podiceps cristatus 

Grebe- from French Gre^be. Great crested alludes to the birds prominent crest.

The genus name of Podiceps derives from the Latin podex=anus+pes=foot the feet are placed well back on the body.

The specific name of cristatus derives from the Latin crista=crest. 


Goshawk---Accipiter gentilis

Goshawk is thought to derive from the Middle English goshauk, and the Old English goshafoc

Accipiter the Genus name is derived from The Latin accipere meaning  a hawk {from accipere meaning to grasp} .

The specific name gentillis derives from the Latin gentilis meaning noble. 

Goshawk. Public domain courtesy of USFWS, Phil Detrich.

Other words you may come across when reading plant and bird books. G


gratum- pleasing.                   gnaphis--bush                  grandiflora -large flowered.

guttatum-spotted {by glands}   geron-old man                 glykis -sweet.

globosa spherical or globed shaped.                              glans-acorn or  nut

gracilis-graceful                     glacialis-grows in icy places.  glandis-acorn.

glypto-to carve                      gastro=belly                     glaucus-blue or grey,green.

graveolens-strong smelling     gaptors indicates written upon.

glutinicaule=sticky stems.     gula- throat.                     griseus-grey ashes.

geena=cheek                       grandiceps=large headed   graminifolius-grass-like leaves 

glarea=gravel.                      granatum= many seeded.   gyne=female {stigma}

gramineus=grass-like.           geranos=crane.                gypsycola= lime loving.

gymos=naked or bear.           gaid=earth                       glutinos =sticky

gibbifolia=flowers swollen on one side.                          glossum/glottis=tongue.

gono=knee {joints}                galii=of France                 gracilipes=slender-stalked.

glabra=smooth.                   glechan=a kind of mint.      geno=to impart. 

geo=earth                           gyrinos=tadpole.                galerus-a skull cap. 




Associated pages. Click on the relevant content banner at the top  of this page.

Specific names=A

Scientific name-B

Scientific name=C

Scientific name-D

Scientific name-E

Scientific name-F

Most of the subjects on this page have a page on this site dedicated to them or via the Links banner.

Thank you for  visiting.