Scientific names explained a selection of plants and birds whose common name starts with H. Images of the letter H are courtesy of Fae wikicommons.

Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus.

The common name alludes to the ducks colours.

The genus and specific names derive from Latin and means theatrical.


Hooded Merganzer. Lophodytes cucullatus.

Common name-the birds seems to have a hood.

Merganser  from the Latin mergus -indicating a waterfowl from mergere meaning to plunge + anser =goose.

Lophodytes--Derives from the  Greek lophos meaning a crest+ dutes=a diver.

The specific name of  cucullatus derives from the Latin cucullus -a hood or cowl


Heron,Green; Butorides virescens.

The common name alludes to  colouring and the word heron derives from the French Hairon.

The genus name of Butorides  derives from Middle English botor meaning Bittern+ Greek ides meaning resembling.

The specific name  of virescens  derives from Latin and indicates greenish from virescere indicating to become green


Harlequin Duck.Courtesy of Peter Massas CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic license at Wiki-Commons.


Hen harrier ; Circus cyaneus.

The common name of harrier in this context is in association with Hare. 

The genus name of  Circus derives from the Greek Kirkos=a type of hawk.

The specific name of cyaneus is from Latin cyaneus meaning dark blue,from Greek Kuanos.


Herring Gull. Larus argentatus.

Herring gull, it was supposed to tell fishermen when shoals of herring were present. { But this also true of other gulls and seas birds.}

Larus derives from the Greek laros  a sea bird.

The specific name of argentatus derives from Latin argentum meaning silver +tatus-indicating ornamented with.


Hawk owl.  Surnia ulula.

The genus name of Surnia derives from the Greek surnion an owl.

the specific name of ulula derives from the Latin ululare to Howl 

Courtesy of Nummer 12. CC BY -SA 3.0 unported license. Taken in the Netherlands.

Hornbeam. Carpinus betulus

The common name Hornbeam refers to the tough wood,horn meaning meaning hard and beam meaning a tree in old English

The genus name  of Carpinus derives from the Greek karpos meaning fruit and refers to the many seeds.

betulus the specific name alludes to it having similar foliage to that of the Birch tree Betula


Hounds tongue; Cynoglossum officinale

The common name and the genus name which indicated Hounds tongue both allude to the shape of the rough leaves.

officinale -sold as a drug at the Apothercary.


Harebell; Campanula rotundifola.

Harebell  Alludes to the rough habitat of rough pastures and heath land that they share with the Hare.

The specific name of Campanula is Latin and means little bell. Alludes to flowers.

rotundifolia from two words than mean round leaved.refers to the basal leaves that are round and apear before the flowering stems which carry narrow leaves. 


Harebell,courtesy of Natalie-S.    CC BY -SA 4.0 international license 

Hedge woundwort. Stachys sylvatica.

The common name alludes to habitat and its use in medicine in cleaning and healing wounds.

Stachys-derives from Greek and means spike alludes to flower formation.

sylavatca -of the woods, Again alluded to one of its habitats.


Heliotrope.Heliotropium peruviana.

The common name of Heliotrope and genus name alludes to the flowers which follow the sun.After opening it gradually turns from east to west,and during the night turns east once more to meet the rising sun. From Greek helios meaning the sun +trope meaning to turn.

The specific name of peruuviana means of Peru 


Hellebore,Black.  Helleborus niger.

The common and genus name derives from two Greek words ,elein,meaning to kill or injure + bora meaning food and refers to it being poisonous.

The specific name of niger is Latin for black and alludes to the rootstock. 



Other Latin words you may come across in the names, when reading bird and plant books.

hadros-stout.                        hamulata -hooked             hedys- sweet

hemera-a day                       hemi-half.                        heteros-different.

hagnos-pune                        hedraios-sitting                 heterophylla-variably leaved

hippos -horse                       homalos-flat                     hymen-membrane

hypoleuca-white beneath       hydor/hudor-water            hylo/hyle=woody wood 

heterrantha= different or varied flowers.                        hellien -to injure or kill {poisonous}

harundo/arundo-a reed.        haplo-simple/single           hali/halio-- of the sea  -salt

homo-human/man               hydro-water                       hypo-hyp-below/beneath

hiatus-a cleft                      haema-blood                     hastata-spear-shaped

helix-  spiral {wind around}                                          hespera -evening

helodes/elodes-of marshy places.                               hyper-above

heptalobium-seven-lobed                                            humilis-low growing     

hirsutum-hairy                    hygross-moist                  hierax-a hawk

holos-entire or whole          hus-pig                             hirundo-swallow

hispida -bristly                  hirsutus-hairy                      hyper-above. Hypo below

hedra -seat/facet              hortensis -of the garden      helveticum-of Switzerland  


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Scientific names-A

Scientific names-B

Scientific name-C

Scientific name-D

Scientific name -E

Scientific name-F

scientific name-G

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