Like other names, a plant name is nothing more than a label, a way to refer to something or somebody, and to distinguish them from others.
Normally the name also gives you some extra information, but it is often unclear whether this is helpful or not. Let’s look at a few examples of this.
When you know that the Latin word pumilus means dwarf and you see that word as part of a plant name, you will expect that plant to be small, right? Well, yes …usually. There is a small plant in the Mesemb family called Antimima pumila. This is indeed a small plant, but so are most other Antimimas. The name only makes sense when you know that the plant used to belong in the genus Ruschia, where most plants are a lot bigger.
There are worse cases however. While on the topic of small members of a group…
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