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Botanical Latin (Fourth Edition)

By William T. Stearn

Mr. Stearn delivers the history, grammar, syntax, terminology and vocabulary of botanical Latin with such lively erudition I often find myself foraging through this linguistic hortus botanicus for the pure word-empowering romance of it.

Wall Street Journal

Botanical Latin is accepted by horticulturists and botanists everywhere as the medium for naming new plants, and botanical research is almost impossible without reference to the vast number of first descriptions in Latin — much information is available in no other language. For gardeners, too, a working knowledge of botanical Latin is essential for the accurate identification of plants in the garden. Now available in paperback, the fourth edition of this internationally renowned handbook summarizes the grammar and syntax of botanical Latin, and covers the origins of Latin and latinized geographical names, color terms, symbols and abbreviations, diagnoses and descriptions, the formation of names and epithets, and much more.

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Media reviews

"Mr. Stearn delivers the History, Grammar, Syntax, Terminology and Vocabulary of botanical Latin with such lively erudition I often find myself foraging through this linguistic hortus botanicus for the pure word-empowering romance of it."

—Patti Hagan, Wall Street Journal

"This internationally renowned masterpiece is indispensible."

—Cindy Roché, Kalmiopsis

"This book is useful to anyone who enjoys plants."

—Steven Foster, HerbalGram

"Botanical Latin is surely required reading for scholars of all things botanical, and it will continue to deserve its well-earned shelf space."

Boox Review

"First published in 1966, this book is now a standard reference."

American Herb Association Quarterly Newsletter

"The reference on every botanist's desk."

—Beth Botts, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"The interesting array of words ... will pique the curiosity of even the most casual of readers leafing through the book to slow down, pause, and browse awhile."

—Carole T. Gee, SpringerWienNewYork

"A handy reference tool as well as a fascinating window onto the development of this language used to speak of plants."

—Charlotte Tancin, Huntia

"A handy reference and detailed research too."

World of Wood

"A wonderful book ... just fascinating ... completely updated."

—Marlene A. Condon, Charlottesville Daily Progress

"If you're looking for the foremost authority on Latin plant names — including all the when's and where's and why's of how this universal plant language was developed — then this is your manual."

—Melissa London, Northwest Garden News

About the author

William T. Stearn

William T. Stearn (1911–2001) was one of Britain's most eminent botanists. During a career based first at the Royal Horticultural Society, then at the Natural History Museum, Stearn wrote some 470 books, articles, and monographs, ranging from detailed studies of plant genera, through histories and biographies, to books on botanical taxonomy, many of which have become standard works of reference.

Read more about William T. Stearn

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