Scientific names explained . A selection of birds and plants whose common name begins with I

vory Gull. Pagophila  eburnea.

The common name Ivory {gull} relates to plumage

The species name Pagophila  derives from the Greek pagos meaning ice-philos=lover.

eburnea- is meaning ivory coloured,from ebur ivory.


Iceland Gull. Larus glaucoides.

Larus the genus name was derived from the Greek Laros a seabird resembling the  Glaucous gull

Glaucoides -resembling  glaucous. a pale grey-blue or whitish blue colour,alludes to plumage.


Isabelline Shrike .Lanius isabellinus

The common name Isabelline and the specific name derives from Latin isabellinus meaning greyish yellow.

The genus name of Lanius derives from Latin and means Butcher. Shrikes are often called Butcher birds. 

Iceland gull. Courtesy of Mike Pennington. CC BY- SA 2.0 Generic license geograph.org.uk

berian  Chiffchaff.   Phylloscopus ibericus.

Iberian the common name and ibericus refers to Iberia.

Chiffchaff,  is after its two monotonous notes which sounds like the name chiff-chaff.

The genus name Phylloscopus derives from the Greek Phullion meaning a leaf +skopos meaning a watcher alluding to the time the bird spends in the tree's canopy.


Icterine warbler. Hippoclais icertina

The common name and  the specific name derive from Latin icterus yellow

The genus name Hiipoclais derives from from the Greek Hupolais indicating a ground nesting bird.


Indigo bunting. Passerina cyanea

The common name and the genus name of cyanea  alluse to the birds colouring cyanea fromGreek Kuanos meaning dark blue.

Passerina the genus name from Latin passerinus meaning Sparrow-like. 

Public Domain. |Indigo Bunting,courtesy of Dave Menke  USFWS.

vy ,  Hedera helix,

The common name of Ivy derives from old English Ifig related to Germanic ebah,perhaps from Greek Iphuon,meaning a climbing plant.

hedera is a latin genus name for evergreen climbers ,especially ivy.

helix,the specific name derives from Latin and means to wind around alluding to the plants climbing habit.


Ivy-leaved Toadflax Cymbalria muralis.

The common name alludes to it having leaves that have a fanciful resemblance to those of ivy.

Toadflax. The word Toadflax has a double derivation ,as in common Toadflax, the narrow leaves are arranged spirally up the stem like flax,or the plant is only fit for toads.{not fit to eat}. Or some say it could refer to the shape of the toad-like corolla of the common Toadflax.

Others say that the mouth of the closed flower resembles the wide mouth of a toad. Coles says it is called toadflax because Toads will often shelter themselves among the branches of it.

Cymbalaria-the genus name derives from the Greek kymbalon meaning a cymbal, it refers to the numerous leaves which are often depressed resembling a cymbal.

The specific name muralis indicates that it grows on walls. 


Iris,Stinking Iris foetdissma.

The common  name of Iris is Greek for Rainbow ,or after the Greek goddess of the Rainbow. 

The specific name of foetissima indicates very fetid {bad smell}. alludes to the smell of the dagger-like leaves when they are crushed or bruised. 

Stinking Iris. courtesy of Calimo    CC BY -SA 3.0 unported license.

Words you may come across when reading the Latin names of plants and birds. Starting with i

 Iris - Greek -rainbow                     ignea- glowing.                   imperialis =showy

incarnata=Pink                             intybus= January               ips=worm

integrafolia=entire leaved.             indica-indicus=of India.       inodorus-unscented,

incana=grey                                invollens=rolled up.             illicio-=to attract-fragrant.

indivisa= undivided                      inomitata=nameless           imbricata-overlapping

ion=violet                                   isophylla=equal sized leaves

incisa=deeply cut.                       ixia-bird lime {sticky sap}

ignis=fire                                    imbricate- overlapping {leaves or scales}

Introse =turned inward.               indumentum=hairy. 

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

Scientific names -A

Scientific names -B

Scientific names -C

Scientific names -D

Scientific names-E 

Scientific names -F

Scientific names -G

Scientific names -H

All the above contain a selection of plants and birds whose common name begins with the appropriate letter.

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