plant names aren't always straightforward

22nd October 2021

plant names aren't always straightforward

Echinacea purpurea is the purple coneflower, Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea is the berberis with dark (very) purple leaves, and Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla has purple leaves - but from the Greek for purple, not Latin! If porphyrophylla is harder to associate with purple than purpurea, think of the purple-flecked stone porphyry, used in sculpture, or the Madness of King George, possibly suffering from the disease porphyria (one symptom is purple urine).

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