Book: Dictionary of Botanical Names by Don Perrin (2018)

By enewsletter Editor

Dictionary of Botanical Names by the late Don Perrin is an updated edition of Don’s earlier book on the derivations of Australian plant names, now with 4,500 entries.

As an early member of the Society for Growing Australian Plants (now Australian Plants Society), Don was involved in setting up the Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve in the Blue Mountains and was a founder of the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens in Queensland.

Cover of Dictionary of Botanical Names

The following review appeared in the APS South Australia journal, February 2019.

This is a book which explains the meanings of botanical names at the genus and species levels. The complex Latin and Greek names that are often used to name plants are more likely to be remembered when you can use this book to learn about their derivation or who they were named after. For example, Acacia penninervis has leaves with feather-like veins. Pinna is “feather” and nervis is “vein” in Latin. The author has also drawn excellent illustrations of many of the terms used in his explanations.

This book would be particularly useful to guides at botanic gardens or to park rangers who are often asked by the public to identify plants. The temptation to use a common name would be less if the guide or ranger could tell a story about the botanical naming.

Knowing the derivation of botanical names would also be useful to plant enthusiasts who were in the final stages of identifying a plant. This book is a must for those interested in identifying plants and for the libraries of APS groups and educational institutions.

The following is an extract from the journal Native Plants Queensland, March 2019, by Jan Sked who wrote the foreword in the book.

This updated edition is now produced in A5 size and consists of 222 pages of fascinating information about the meaning and derivation of our Australian plant names. The introductory chapters, written in Don’s inimitable style, are a joy to read. Then there are 197 pages of definitions, which include about 1,000 new ones, making a total of about 4,500. Don’s excellent line drawings have been retained and they are supplemented with some sheets of colour illustrations as well.

Enquiries and sales

RRP $29.95 plus postage and handling. Email Tracey Perrin at greendataprojects@gmail.com. Ph 0421 465 464. Facebook: Dictionary of Botanical Names