Symphyotrichum… three guesses what old flower that new designation labels. Give up? Asters. Just plain old new world asters like the “aster novae-angliae”. Profiled here, properly, I’m afraid I used the old name when I wrote about asters in September. While researching for writing I also discovered that the autumn clematis had another name change, as well. It is C. ternifolia, now.
To trace it through some of its mutations:
Sometimes that is just plain confusing. What might be even more confusing is that we have a native plant that looks the same and is commonly called the same name of “autumn sweet clematis”. It is Clematis virginiana.
I highlighted sweet autumn clematis as a favorite plant, and I believe mine is the Japanese plant C. ternifolia. People seem to have a love or hate relationship with this vine. Personally, I love it.
Getting back to official plant names… I really find it annoying when they change perfectly fine names like aster to symphyotrichum. Maybe we will get lucky and the powers that be will change it to something that rolls off the tongue more easily, Yes, yes, I know. There are good reasons to change the labels.
Horticulture uses a method called binomial nomenclature. Botanical names have three parts: genus,a descriptive word, which create the two-name binomial, and the cultivar. Cultivars are the named varieties we like so well when plant shopping. I guess I shouldn’t complain about asters, it seems that the Chrysanthemum genus was split into eight different genera.
Here are a few more names that scientists have fiddled with: Changes to the Scientific Nomenclature in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide
I liked what Karan Davis Cutler had to say about the aster’s name change
Their new taxonomic assignment, Symphyotrichum, is a result of molecular research that left “Old World” asters as asters. but moved all but one North American asters into other genera.
The consensus is that the new genus name is pronounced sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum, an appellation that doesn’t exactly roll off the lips. Poems aren’t the same when “sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum” is substituted for “aster.” The change comes from the same experts who changed Chrysanthemum to Dendranthema and then back to Chrysanthemum, and turned Coleus blumei, good old painted nettle, to Solenostemon scutellarioides. Try saying that three times fast. Or slow.
Fortunately, these taxonomists meet only every five years.
LOL! My feeling exactly.