What’s In A Name? How Flowers Get Their Unique And Strange Names

A name is a funny thing: Something so seemingly arbitrary becomes the way you’re known to the world. And just how humans don’t really get to choose their own names when they’re born, the same happens to flowers. When new plant varieties are discovered, it’s usually up to the creator or breeder to give it a name (sound familiar?). The best part about this is the fact that so many plants have been given funky and downright hilarious names.

planting rozanne in the fallHow did Geranium Rozanne get her name? Her beloved breeders, of course—just like many humans who are named after their kin. You can read her life story here, but the gist is this: In 1989, Donald and Rozanne Waterer had a garden named Crooked Acre in Somerset, UK. Donald had been gardening his whole life (he took on the family business), but upon retirement, the pair still continued with their passion for plants. That’s when Rozanne, particularly fond of hardy geraniums, planted 25 to 30 different varieties in the garden.

There was one particular variety that was stronger and yielded larger leaves and flowers… Can you take a guess what it was named? Yep, Rozanne—after her dear creator. Thanks to the human Rozanne, we all have the Geranium Rozanne you know and love today.

Check out these other flowers that were given cool and surprising names, and promise not to giggle.

Flowers with Strange or Unique Names

flower names hooker's lipsHooker’s Lips

How it got its name: Well, if you take one look at this bright red flower, you might get the hint. The provocative moniker comes from the bracts that resemble big, red lips, but they go away within a few days when the petals bloom. Due to its obvious ability to grab attention as an almost-novelty, the plant is now on the endangered list, so let’s hope we don’t have to kiss this beauty goodbye!

Swaddled Babies

How it got its name: Regain some of your innocence with this adorable tulip orchid variety that really does look like a group of little, swaddled newborns. “Wrapped” in white petals, a little “baby’s face” peeks through the blanket, making this bloom compete for one of the cutest things we’ve ever seen, right up there with baby raccoons.

flower names iglooDendranthema Igloo Series

How it got its name: All the varieties in this perennial  mum series bear the name “Igloo,” which might spark some visions of eskimos… and you’re not too far off! These flowers have “igloo” in their names because they are fabulous winter growers and are extremely hardy. We recently talked more about this gorgeous group of plants because it’s a very popular friend of Rozanne’s, so check it out here Dendranthema Igloo Series if you’re curious. We also have a great guide on all things mums.

flower names naked man orchidNaked Man Orchid

How it got its name: Are you blushing yet? No, this flower will not flash you. Much like other flowers, though, this rare orchid got its name because of what it looks like. Native to the Mediterranean, the Naked Man Orchid looks like it has a bunch of teeny men branching off of it—with their dotted eyes, arms and legs, “right down to their you-know-what’s” as this article so gently states it.

flower names creme bruleeCoreopsis (Tickseed) ‘Creme Brulee’

How it got its name: Lots to unpack here. First, the obvious head-cocking name: Tickseed. As we mentioned in this blog post, newbie gardeners may run for the hills when they first hear this name, but it actually has nothing to do with real ticks (phew!). People call these varieties tickseeds because the plant can latch on to you or your clothing when you brush up against it. As far as this variety’s name, ‘Creme Brulee,’ goes, that doesn’t mean you should eat the plant. It simply refers to the flower’s buttery yellow petals which resemble the tasty torched dessert.

flower names star Star Flower

How it got its name: A popular plant for collectors and avid gardeners, the unique Star Flower features large, hairy starfish-shaped flowers that form around it. Although it’s absolutely alluring and eye-catching, you might not want to get too close to this plant—its scent is that of rotting flesh to attract flies for pollination. Yikes!

flower names dancing girlsDancing Girls Impatiens

How it got its name: Another fun flower that looks exactly like what it’s named after, the Dancing Girls Impatiens variety is a very rare plant from the rainforests of East Africa, but it’s so dainty and cute, you’ll want to have it at home. The petals look like two girls side-by-side in dresses, with their arms up, doing a little dance.

flower names Mardi GrasHelenium (Helen’s Flower) ‘Mardi Gras’

How it got its name: Much like dear Rozanne, this flower’s name was adapted from its genus name, Helenium. But that’s not all—the variety name ‘Mardi Gras’ is a party you won’t want to miss out on. Because of the large bloom’s bold and cheerful colour display, this flower is begging for a celebration. Just don’t throw a pair of beads on it, or things might get weird.

flower names Bat FlowerBat Flower

How it got its name: This spooky flower has black bracts that look like wings, letting this dark variety take its perch among one of the creepier varieties. But don’t let it fool you—this unique flower is a welcome friend, and it blooms right around Halloween, serving as the best holiday decoration we’ve seen in awhile.

flower names Butter and Eggs (1)Butter and Eggs

How it got its name: Breakfast, anyone? This flower was awarded its cheeky name because its flowers look like egg yolks. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, ancient myths have the story going a bit differently. These old stories claim that the flower originally began its life as a yellow dragon but then transformed and choked on a fried egg yolk. If you’re anything like us, the ancient myth sounds a lot more believable! 😉

Which funny flower name is your favourite? Be sure to join Rozanne’s Inner Circle for more fun flower posts!