A selection of Plants and birds whose common name begins with W. The letter W image that occurs on this page is in the Public Domain. Courtesy of Fae Creative Commons.

atercress.  Nasturtium officinalis.

The genus name of nasturtium derives from the Latin nasi-tortum,indicating nose-twisting,alludes to the pungent smell.

The specific name of officinalis indicates it was sold as a drug at the Apothecary.


Willow,Crack.  Salix fragilis

Willow derives from the old English welig related to wilige indicating a wicker basket. The Greek word for willow is helike,from helix-meaning twisted, The old name for willow is withe

The genus name of Salix is the Latin name for the Willow.

The specific name and Crack derive from the fact that the twigs can be snapped off very easily a characteristic of the tree


Wormwood. Artemisia  absinthium.

The name of Wormwood is thought to be derived from wermuth,indicating preserver of mind. Alludes to medicinal value as a nervine. 2,others believe it derives from its use as vermifuge {ridding the body of intestinal worms.}

The genus name of Artemisia is dedicated to the Greek goddess of Chastity Artemis.

The specific name of absinthium indicating to desist from ,refers to the godess of chastity Artemis. 

Wormwood. Courtesy of H.Zell CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Artemisia absinthium 0002.JPG


ater Violet. Hottonia palustris.

The origin of the common name is unknown  for the plant is not a member of the Violet family.

The genus name of Hottonia commemorates Dr.William Houston,1695-1733,a British Botanist. "-others believe it is named after Petrus Hotton an 18th century Dutch professor of Botany.

The specific name of palustris -means of marshes.

Other common names for the plant include Feather foil, Water milfoil,and water yarrow,all refer to the delicate whorls of finely divided pale green leaves that grow beneath the water'surface.


Weld. Reseda luteola

Weld derives from a Germanic name walde. 

The genus name -Reseda derives from Latin resedare,meaning to allay from supposed medicinal properties. 

The specific name of luteola Derives from the Latin lutea meaning yellow.The plant has long been used for dyes and it was one of the ancient trio Woad for blue,Madder for red and Weld for yellow.

{Not to be mistaken for Reseda lutea Wild Migonette.}


Wood Sorrel Oxalis acetosella

The name sorrel derives from a French word meaning sour and alludes to the taste.Despite its name the Wood sorrel is not a true Sorrel and belongs to an unrelated family.

The genus name of Oxalis refers to the oxalic acid content in the leaves giving the plant its sour taste.

The specific name of acetosella derives from the Latin acetum meaning vinegar again alluding to the sour taste 



Water Violet. Courtesy of Christian Fischer.   CC BY-SA 3.0 license.


igeon. Anas penelope

The common name sometimes spelt widgeon is of uncertain origin.

Anas the genus name is the Latin name for a duck.

The specific name of penelope  is from Greek-penelops= for a type of duck.


Wilson's petrel. Oceanites oceanicus.

The genus name of Oceanites derives from the Greek  Okeanites the three thousand sea nymphs daughters of Okeanus.

The specific  name of oceanicus from Latin oceanus-the ocean.


White tailed eagle. Haliaeetus albicilla.

The genus name of Haliaeetus derives from Greek halos =the sea+ aetos=an eagle.

The specific name  albicilla derivesalbus=white +cilla indicating a tail.


White tailed eagle. Courtesy of Jacob Spinks.CC BY-SA 2.0 license


ater rail. Rallus aquaticus.

The genus name of Rallusis the Latin word for the Rail.

The specific name of aquaticus  is latin for water-living,from aqua =water.Alludes to habitat.


Whimbrel. Numenius phaeopus.

The common name of Whimbrel derives from a dialect word meaning to whimper-alludes to the birds  cry. 

the genus  name of Numenius derives from Greek neos meaning new+mene=moon alludes to the birds crescent shaped beak.

The specific name of phaeopus derives from Greek phaios meaning dusky+pous=foot.


Woodcock. Scolopax rusticola 

The genus name of Scolopax derives from  the Greek name for the Bird skolopax.

The specific name of rusticola derives from the Latin rusticus= rural+ colere =to dwell

Woodcock. Courtesy of princetonnature CC BY-SA 3.0 License. Crossley's ID Guide to Britain and Ireland. Richard Crossley.

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

This series is an an A-Z format. For example Scientific names A scientific names B etc.

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

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