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Browse the Botanical Definitions

In addition to searching through the individual botanical definitions you may now benefit also from browsing the extensive information gleaned through our research. This list has been compiled in alphabetic order according to the genus or species..

To browse the definitions please click on one of the buttons below to see the section under that letter. In some cases there may be no words under a particular letter.

 

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Definitions
Bupleurum [genus name] is made up of Greek bou- (cow, ox) and pleuro- (rib, side) components meaning 'ox-rib', which authorities note was a name applied to a plant of another genus. [See Bupleurum.]

Burchellia [genus name] commemorates an English explorer, naturalist, artist and writer, William John Burchell (1781-1863). In 1810 he travelled to Cape Town (having previously spent several years on St. Helena as a schoolmaster and eventually official naturalist) and began preparations for a journey into the interior which included acquiring a custom-made wagon. In June 1811 he set off, in the company of six Hottentots, and returned to Cape Town in April 1815 with a remarkable number (some authorities suggest around 63,000) seeds, bulbs and plant specimens, insects, preserved fish, skins and skeletons, in addition to copious accurate notes and sketches (the latter included landscapes, portraits, costumes, plants and animals). Returning to England he spent the next decade sorting out his collection and writing an account of his South African safari before, in 1825, leaving for Brazil. His collection this time included over 20,000 insects. On his return to England in 1830 his financial resources and health were stretched and he appears to have become disillusioned and reclusive, ultimately committing suicide in 1863. After his death his sister, Miss Anna Burchell, donated his botanical collection to Kew Botanical Gardens and his entomological collection to the Hope Department of the University Museum at Oxford. Burchell became a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1803 and he had one major work published Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa. [See Burchellia.]

burmanica means 'of or from Burma (now called Myanmar)'. [See Pentace burmanica.]

bursa-pastoris means 'shepherd's-purse' with reference to the shape of the fruit and the purses or pouches that used to be worn hanging from the belt by cord or string. [See Capsella bursa-pastoris.]

Bursera [genus name] commemorates a German physician and botanist Joachim Burser (1583-1649), who became professor of medicine and botany at Soro in Denmark. He travelled widely in central and southern Europe collecting plants which were included in his Hortus Siccus (herbarium in book form in 25 volumes together with a supplementary one on Denmark). This herbarium (now in Uppsala University Botanical Museum, minus Volumes II and V which were destroyed in the disastrous Uppsala fire of 1702) was examined in the century following Burser's death by his peer Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) the Swedish naturalist and physician who founded the system of nomenclature widely used today for animals and plants. [See Bursera.]

Butia [genus name] is a local Brazilian name for the jelly palm (Butia capitata). [See Butia.]

Butomus [genus name] is made up of Greek bou- (cow, ox) and tomo- (cut, piece, slice) components with reference to the leaves that are sharp enough to cut the mouths of cattle. [See Butomus.]

buxifolium is made up of the genus name Buxus and Latin -folia (leaved) components meaning 'with leaves like those of that (box) genus'. [See ... .]

Buxus [genus name] is derived from Greek puknos (close, dense) and is a classical Latin name for the box tree (Buxus sempervirens). [See Buxus.]

Byrsonima [genus name] is of obscure derivation. [See Byrsonima.]


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