In the UK, Viscum album is normally referred to by its common name, Mistletoe. Mistletoe grows up in the branches of trees where it forms spherical ball-shaped plants comprised of many stems holding pairs of lovely fresh-green coloured, leathery leaves. This evergreen shrub produces tiny white flowers followed by shiny white berries. The oval leaves are borne in pairs and are very attractive and are naturally enhanced by the edition of gleaming Mistletoe berries, which appear in September and take many months to ripen.
Dipsacus fullonum is a biennial or perennial plant that’s found growing in the wild in a widespread area across Europe and even as far as regions approaching North West Africa. In the UK, Dipsacus fullonum is usually known as the Teasel, but due to how far reaching this plant’s range is – I am certain that there must be countless different common names for Dipsacus fullonum.
Vanda nana is an epiphytic subshrub, a monopodial epiphyte that grows primarily in the wet tropical biome and can be found growing as a wild flower of Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. This is a miniature orchid; my Vanda nana plant that you see pictured above measures around 10-12cm tall. Plants are also known by the synonym, Ascocentrum pusillum.
This miniature epiphytic orchid species can be grown mounted or planted in a small pot, but I prefer to grow my Vanda nana on a mount.
In the wild, Heptapleurum arboricola can be found growing in Hainan, Taiwan. In the UK, Heptapleurum arboricola is grown indoors as a popular houseplant; here Heptapleurum arboricola is commonly known as the Umbrella Plant or by the synonym, Schefflera arboricola.
This is a hardier and more resilient houseplant than most. When my heating didn’t work for a week during a period of very cold weather in January 2023, my Heptapleurum arboricola was entirely unaffected and lived to tell the tale, unlike many of my other houseplants!
Platycerium bifurcatum is also know as the Staghorn Fern; this is a stunning evergreen fern that naturally grows as an epiphyte – establishing itself on the trunks and branches of trees in its native environment in the treetops and rainforests of Java, Polynesia, Australia, and Asia. This is a slow-growing, long-lived fern that will enhance your home when grown as a houseplant.
Alocasia ‘Ninja’ plants thrive in a very humid environment making these plants ideally suited to growing inside a terrarium, vivarium, or bottle garden. However, terrariums and bottle gardens are not universally the same, different enclosures will provide contrasting growing conditions. When choosing a terrarium and deciding on a location to cultivate Alocasia ‘Ninja’, remember that these plants won’t be happy in a shaded environment – Alocasia ‘Ninja’ require bright but indirect light to be able to thrive.
Pilea cadierei ‘Ellen’s Silver’ is an attractive plant with silvery foliage. The leaf colour on these plants is amazing; the foliage almost looks as if it has been painted with liquid silver! This is such an eye-catching and stunning little plant with a naturally bushy habit.
Pilea cadierei ‘Ellen’s Silver’ thrives in areas that enjoy bright but indirect sunlight. When deciding on where to place your plant, look for an area with soft lighting.
Cutting Celery is also known by the botanical name, Apium graveolens. Cutting Celery is closely related to celery and celeriac, but these particular seeds have been selected and reselected especially for the flavour of their leaves. The leaves taste like celery – it’s a strong flavour – so a little goes a long way, but it’s not too overpowering. I really enjoy the taste of Cutting Celery leaves.
‘Parcel’ or ‘Par-Cel’ is also known by the botanical name, Apium graveolens. This is a hardy biennial plant that produces edible leaves with a strong flavour of celery; Parcel’s stems are edible too, but it is the pungent leaves that this plant is usually grown for. The name of ‘Parcel’ was given because this edible plant has foliage that resembles parsley but when eaten it has the flavour of celery; so the plant’s common name is an amalgamation of the two names – ‘Parcel’.
Primula veris is also known as the Cowslip. Primula veris is very pretty perennial that holds a special place in many people’s hearts, reminding us of country walks and the beauty of nature. Primula veris is a commonly seen wildflower throughout Europe – being known and loved by so many – I am certain this lovely plant has many more common names.
The Florist’s Cyclamen (also know by their botanical name, Cyclamen persicum) are tender Cyclamen plants that are often given as gifts. I find these particular Cyclamen are notoriously difficult to keep. It’s a miracle if I can keep a Cyclamen persicum specimen alive for as long as a couple of weeks, as these plants thrive in cool temperatures of around 10-15C (50-59F) with a maximum temperature of 15C (59F) and they also require bright, indirect light.
Juniper is also known by its botanical name, Juniperus communis. Juniperus communis is an evergreen conifer with spiky needles. Plants are very hardy and they flourish in exposed and sheltered locations. These plants need a bright and sunny position; Juniperus communis is happy growing in almost any moist but well-drained soil, including stony ground and chalk. When choosing where to plant Juniperus communis, avoid shaded areas and soils that are prone to water-logging.
In the UK, Pinus sylvestris is often known as the Scot’s Pine. However, Pinus sylvestris trees’ native range is extensive, this tree’s majestic kingdom stretches across Northern Europe and further afield, so goodness only knows how many common names this handsome tree has attracted – thank goodness for botanical names, which remain the same – wherever in the world you are.
In the UK, Sambucus nigra is known as Elder. These small trees and shrubs must have many common names, as they’re a wild plant that frequents many countries across Europe, as well as places as far afield as Western Asia and North Africa. Sambucus nigra is a deciduous plant with green pinnate foliage. In late spring and early summertime, Sambucus nigra produces huge flat circles of cream coloured, scented flowers that are popular with insects.
The Silver Birch (Betula pendula) is one of our most recognisable UK native trees with its glorious silvery-white bark and dainty green leaves. We’re not the only ones to have an affinity with Betula pendula, this stunning tree is a native plant of many countries in Europe and Northern Asia. Betula pendula is a deciduous tree, its leaves turn from green to a buttery yellow before falling in autumn.
In the UK, Prunus spinosa is usually known by its common name – Blackthorn. I am sure that Prunus spinosa has many common names, as this is a widespread plant that can be found growing in the wild across Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Prunus spinosa can be grown as a shrub, a hedge, or a tree. These plants are very spiny and they often form thickets.
Hylotelephium spectabile are hardy herbaceous perennials that bloom in late summer and early autumn; their flowers are very attractive to bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects. Many gardeners know this plant by its common name – Sedum – but Hylotelephium spectabile is this plant’s up-to-date, botanical name.
These plants will positively thrive in sandy, silty and naturally well-drained soils; Hylotelephium spectabile love to grow in bright and sunny areas.
Myosotis scorpioides alba is also known as the Water Forget-Me-Not. This pretty plant requires continually wet conditions; Myosotis scorpioides alba grows in reliably wet bog gardens, as well as in streams, and ponds. If you have a patio garden and don’t have room for a pond you can still grow Myosotis scorpioides alba by creating a container pond or bog garden .
Ranunculus flammula is an aquatic plant with beautiful shining-yellow, bowl-shaped flowers. This plant’s common name is Lesser Spearwort, but it’s very much like a lovely buttercup to grow in a pond! Ranunculus flammula can be grown in streams, ponds, lakes, or continually wet bog gardens; if you don’t have a pond, you could grow Ranunculus flammula in a container filled with rainwater.
Inula hookeri is a clump forming, herbaceous perennial from China. I love daisies and I adore these sunny yellow flowers and I’m very fond of Inula hookeri’s super soft leaves. Next time you see this plant, reach out and stroke a leaf, it’s soft and furry. I appreciate this plant because its flowers attract bees and butterflies to my garden.