Scientific names of plants and birds whose common name begins with Q or R. The illustrated letters on this page are public domain courtesy of Fae Creative Commons.

uince. Pyrus cydonia.Now Cydonia vulgaris oblonga

The common name of Quince derives from Qwince a plural of quynquince from the old French coin,from Latin cotoneum,from Greek cydonion apple. In old English it was referred to as coyne,in Middle English coinquin the plural quins was then corrupted to quince.

The former genus name Pyrus=pear.

The current genus name Cydonia  alludes to Cydon in Crete.

The specific name of oblonga  =oblong and alludes to the leaves.


Quacking grass. Briza media

The common name refers to the trembling spikelets.

The genus name of Briza derives from the Greek britho,indicating -I balance,because of the delicate suspended spikelets.

The specific name of media means intermediate. Size of the species. 


Quince. Courtesy of Nk  CC BY-SA 3.0 unported license.



Quail. Cortunix cortunix.

The common name is thought to derive from the Old French quaille,from Medieval Latin quaccula,probably of imitative origin

The scientific name is from Latin Cortunix =the quail

Courtesy of Guerin Nicolas.  CC BY-SA 3.0 unported license

Coturnix coturnix (Warsaw zoo)-1.JPG


agged robin. Lychnis flos-cuculia

the common name of Ragged robin alludes to the raggy-petals that are of a pink-red colour.

The genus name of Lychnis is the Greek name for the Rose campion a related species.

flos-cuculi,derives from Latin and means literally cuckoo flower,a name it shares with many other spring flowering species. 


Ragwort,common . Senecio jacobaea 

The common name of ragwort alludes to the raggy leaves 

The genus name of Senecio derives from the Latin senex,meaning old man,and refers to the white seed plumes.

The specific name of jacobaea,is named after the Patron saint of horses due to the erroneous belief that the plant cured staggers in horses,hence its old name of staggerwort.In fact the plant is very poisonous to horses.


Raspberry. Rubus idaeus.

The common name of raspberry. Until the 16th century  the wild raspberry was known as the Hindberry,presumably because it was eaten by deer. But with the introduction of more heavily fruited varieties probably imported from the Continent there arose a new name of raspberry and nobody knows for sure why.! The most likely explanation is that berries were used for making wine,which in appearance resembled the well known vinrape or 'rasped' wine,shipped from France. The ingredients of the wine made at home,therefore may have been known as 'raspis' or raspberries.

The genus name of rubus is the Latin name for the Bramble. 

The specific name of idaeus is named after Mount Ida. 

owan. Sorbus acuparia.

The common name of Roan derives from the Old Norse runa,meaning a charm. The tree was often planted outside houses and in church yards to ward off witches and evil spirits.

It is sometimes wrongly named mountain ash which reflects the fact that species grows higher up on mountain sides than any other native tree,sometimes clinging to a rock face after germinating in a crevice from seeds dropped by birds. The leaves are also similar to those of the unrelated common ash tree.

The genus name of Sorbus derives from the Latin sorb-the service tree.

The specific name of acuparia derives from two Latin words avis=a bird+ capere to catch. refers to the red/orange berries that attract  'catch' wild birds.


Ramsons.  Allium ursinium. { Wild garlic}

The common name of Ramson is very similar to that used in Germany and some Scandinavian countries. rams is probably derived from an even older word indicating 'rank',referring to the odour and strong flavour the plant imparts to the milk of any cow that eats it.

Wild garlic-because the leaves  and bulbs taste and smell like garlic.

The genus name of Allium is the Latin word for the onion and the Greek name for garlic.

The specific name of ursinium derives from the Latin urus meaning a bear.Some say it is because the leaf resembles a bear's ear in shape. However,it is more likely that it signifies inferiority to cultivated garlic-a garlic only fit for bears. 


Radish,Wild. Raphanus raphanistrum 

The common name of radish derives by way of its colour,being from the Saxon rude,ruda,or reod {ruddy}. Or from the Sanskrit rudhira,meaning blood. Or some believe it derives from the Latin radix,indicating a root.

The Genus name of Raphanus is the Latin name for raddish

The specific name of raphanistrum derives from raphanus q.v.+ struma indicating tuberculous again alluding to the roots. 

Ramsons or Wild garlic. from geograph.org.uk Courtesy of Philip Halling CC BY SA 2.0 Generic license

uff.  Calidris pugnax.

The common name of Ruff alludes to the ruff of feathers carried by the male during the breeding season.

The genus name of Calidris is the Latin word for the genus.deives from the Greek kalidris a grey waterside bird described by Aristotle.

The specific name of pugnax derives from the Greek philomachus=pugnacious + Latin pugnare meaning to fight.


Red necked Stint. Calidris ruficollis

The common name of Stint derives from Middle German stinz and Swedish dialect stinta.

Calidris the genus name see Ruff above.

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


Red necked phalarope . Phalaropus lobatus

The common and genus name  Phalaropus from the Greek Phalaris=coot+pous=foot.

The specific name of lobatus=lobe and again refers to the lobed feet. 




Ruff. Courtesy of J.M.Garg {India} CC BY-SA 3.0 unported license.

edshank. Tringa totanus

The common name of Redshank means red legs ,shank being an old world for legs.

The genus name of tringa derives from the Greek trungas a waterside bird described by Aristotle.

The specific name  totanus derives from the Italian totano =redshank.


Razorbill. Alca torda.

The common name of Razorbill alludes to the birds sharp beak.

The genus name of Alca derives from the Old Norse word for the bird alka.

The specific name torda  derives from the swedish name for the bird tormule.


Roseate tern. Sterna dougallii.

The common name of Stern derives from the old English stearn.

The specific name of dougallii alludes to Peter Dougall {1777-1814 } a Scottish Physician .


Rook. Corvus frugilegus.

The common name of Rook derives from the old English hroc related to high old  German hruoh and Old Norse hrokr.

The genus name of Corvus derives from the Latin name for the related Raven.

The specific name of frugilegus derives from the Latin frugis=fruit + legare=to lift.

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

Other Latin names you may come across when reading plant and bird books.

rana/ranunculus=frog/little frog.        radicans=rooting stems     raphanos =raddish

resedo=to heal.                              renes=kidney.                  ramosum=branched

ramoasissima=much branched.      religiosa=sacred.               regailis/regia=royal

rectifoilia=erect leaves.                   reniformis=kidney shaped.

reducta=dwarf                               refracta=broken                 repens =creeping

rhiz/rhis=snout                              rhops=bush                      rhapis=needle

rheon=rhubarb                              rhodon=rose                      rado=red {rose red} 

rhynchos=a beak                          rhynos =a nose                 rhiza=root {rhizome}

rhips= willow work                        rigida=rigid.                        roffida=red brown

rhomboideum= diamond shaped                                            rosa=rose

ricinus=tick {seed shape}             rufus-reddish brown             rufescens=reddish.

rhytida=wrinkled                         rubus=bramble                    rupestris -growing on rocks

rubiginosa =rusty.                       rutilans=reddish                 rhyti/rhytis=wrinkled /folded

repandus=turned up/curved upwards.                                    rostralis =with a beak.

rosulata= leaves in a rosette        rivalis=growing by streams.

rima=split/cracked                      rufescent=tinged with red or becoming red

runcinate-having a saw toothed margin with teeth or lobes pointing backwards.

runcinare=meaning to plane off,from runcina=indicating a carpenters plane. 

rapa=turnip                               rhodon=a tree                     ramiform=branch-like shape.

ramose =having branches          reticulate=network{of veins}

ringent=consisting of two distinct lips. from ringi indicating to open mouth wide.

ribes=a plant with acidic juice 

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