L-R: Hieracium albiflorum (White-flowered hawkweed), Clarkia xantiana (Gunsight fairyfan), Grindelia camporum var. bracteosum (Bracted gumplant), Verbena lasiostachys var. lasiostachys (Western vervain), Datura wrightii (Western jimsonweeed).

     N


       In the following names, the stressed vowel is the one preceding the stress mark. It is not always easy to ascertain where such stress should be placed, especially in the case of epithets derived from personal names. I have tried to follow the principle of maintaining the stress of the original name as outlined in the Jepson Manual, and have abandoned it only when it was just too awkward. In the case of some names, I have listed them twice, reflecting either some disagreement or conflict in the rules of pronunciation, some uncertainty on my part as to the correct pronunciation, or that simply sometimes there is no single correct pronunciation. In other instances, the way I record it is just that which sounds right to my ear.
  • Na'jas: from the Greek Naias, a water nymph (ref. genus Najas)
  • Na'ma: from the Greek nama, "a spring or stream" (ref. genus Nama)
  • na'na/na'num/na'nus: "little," from the Greek nannos, "dwarf" (ref. Abronia nana ssp. covillei, Castilleja nana, Crepis nana, Ericameria nana, Hulsea nana, Monardella nana, Blennosperma nanum, Hedeoma nanum, Lupinus nanus)
  • nanteuil'ii: for Baron Edmond Jules Marie Roger de Nanteuil (1857-1951?), who studied it and made many collections of it at Cannes and Agay for the author Burnat, demonstrating that it did not intergrade with related species. An article in Boissiera says he stayed at Cannes from 1880 to 1888 and studied orchids with Paul Bergom (ref. Petrorhagia nanteuilii)
  • napen'sis: of or from the Napa Valley region (ref. Amorpha californica var. napensis, Poa napensis)
  • na'pus: with a little turnip-like root (ref. Brassica napus)
  • Narcis'sus: named after the handsome son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope, who was so entranced by his own beauty that he spurned all others. He was condemned to fell in love with himself in such a way that he could not have what he desired, and seeing his reflection in a pool, that which was only shadow and unreachable, he was so overcome that he wasted away. The gods then turned him into the Narcissus flower (ref. genus Narcissus)
  • Nardos'mia: from the Greek nardos, "spikenard," which is a fragrant ointment derived from the East Indian plant Nardostachys jatamansi, and osme, "smell, odor" (ref. genus Nardosmia and Cacaliopsis nardosmia)
  • Narthe'cium: Umberto Quattrocchi's World Dictionary of Plant Names says: "[from] Latin narthecium, 'an ointment-box, a medicine-chest,' Greek narthex, narthekos, 'rod, giant fennel, casket,' used by Theophrastus and Plinius for Ferula communis, narthekion 'small splint, small rod'" Ferula communis is commonly called the giant fennel, and the Romans called the hollow light rod made from this plant, used for walking sticks, splints, for stirring boiling liquids, and for corporal punishment, a ferula. Some say Ferula communis was also called Narthex, but there appears to be a separate species named Ferula narthex so I'm not sure about that (ref. genus Narthecium)
  • nashia'na/nashia'nus: after Charlotte Eden Nash (Mrs. Hugo Smith) (1899-1982), who collected extensively in the southern Sierra Nevada and the Mojave Desert in the 1930's for Willis Linn Jepson, and throughout Kern County for several decades thereafter, and whose collections are noteworthy for the precise and complete ecological notes that accompanied her specimens (ref. Phacelia nashiana, Linanthus nashianus)
  • Nassel'la: diminutive of the Latin nassa, "a basket with a narrow neck, a fish basket" (ref. genus Nassella)
  • Nastur'tium: JM2 says "nose distortion, in reference to plant pungency" (ref. genus Nasturtium)
  • nastur'tium-aqua'ticum: nasturtium from the Latin nasus tortus, "a twisted nose," due to the plant's pungent taste, and aquaticum pertaining to water
  • nasu'tus: large-nosed (ref. Mimulus nasutus)
  • natans: floating (ref. Potamogeton natans, Sparganium natans)
  • nauseo'sa/nauseo'sus: nauseating, supposedly from the odor (ref. Ericameria nauseosa var. bernardinus, Ericameria nauseosa var. ceruminosa, Ericameria nauseosa var. oreophila, Ericameria nauseosa var. hololeucus, Ericameria nauseosa var. mohavensis)
  • Navarret'ia: named after Francisco Fernandez de Navarrete (d.1742), an 18th century Spanish philospher, anatomist, naturalist and physician to Felipe V of Spain (ref. genus Navarretia)
  • neal'leyi: after Texas botanist Greenleaf Cilley Nealley (1846-1896), specialist on spermatophytes (ref. Aristida purpurea var. nealleyi, Sporobolus nealleyi)
  • neapolita'num: of or from Naples (Italy), Neopolitan (ref. Allium neapolitanum)
  • nebrascen'sis: of or from Nebraska (ref. Carex nebrascensis)
  • nees'ii: after the German botanist, physician, zoologist, and natural philosopher Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck (1776-1858). The following is quoted from Wikipedia: "He was a contemporary of Goethe and was born within the lifetime of Linnaeus. He described approximately 7,000 plant species (almost as many as Linnaeus himself). His last official act as president of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina was to admit Charles Darwin as a member. He was the author of numerous monographs on botany and zoology. His best-known works deal with fungi. Nees von Esenbeck was born in a small village in what is now Odenwaldkreis, Germany. He showed an early interest in science and after receiving his first education at Darmstadt he went on to Jena, obtaining his degree in medicine in 1800. He practiced as a physician for a time, but he had developed a great interest in botany during his university studies, and eventually he returned to academia. In 1816 he joined the Leopoldina Academy, which was one of the most prestigious institutions in Europe. In 1817 he was appointed professor of botany in Erlangen. Three years later he became professor of natural history in Bonn, and in 1831 he was appointed to the chair of botany in the university of Breslau.In 1818 he was elected president of the Leopoldina Academy. He continued as president of the academy for the rest of his life. In 1848 he became politically active, and due to conflicts with the government he eventually, in 1851 he was deprived of his professorship and pension at the university of Breslau. Nees von Esenbeck died essentially penniless in Breslau" (ref. Amphibromus neesii)
  • neglec'ta: neglected or overlooked (ref. Frasera neglecta, Gilia brecciarum spp. neglecta, Malva neglecta, Phacelia neglecta)
  • negun'do: from the native Sanskrit and Bengali nirgundi, the specific name of the plant Vitex negundo and given to Acer negundo because of a supposed similarity of leaf (ref. Acer negundo)
  • nelsonia'num: after self-taught botanist and collector James Carlton Nelson (1867-1944). He received his B.A. in 1890 and M.S. in 1893 both from Hanover College, Indiana, taught at Carthage College in Missouri and Salem High Scool in Oregon, colleague of Morton Eaton Peck (ref. Lomatium nelsonianum [now L. hallii])
  • nel'sonii/nelson'ii: after Aven Nelson (1859-1952), teacher, author, botanical collector and plant taxonomist. He was born in Iowa to Norwegian immigrants and his given name until he entered primary school was Even. He became a teacher at the age of 16 and was appointed assistant professor of natural sciences and instructor in English at Drury College at 24. He was one of the first faculty members of the University of Wyoming and became the school's first librarian in 1887. Four years later he became a botanist at the Agricultural Experiment Station and a year later received an M.A. degree from Harvard. He made his first botanical collecting trip in 1894, collecting some 1,200 species, and followed that up with another the next year, both trips in Wyoming. In 1899 his collection was officially designated the Rocky Mountain Herbarium by the Board of Trustees of the University of Wyoming, and he botanized extensively in Yellowstone National Park. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Denver in 1904. In 1909 he published "New Manual of the Botany of the Central Rocky Mountains (Vascular Plants)" with John Coulter as senior author but completely rewritten by Nelson and in 1912 he published "Spring Flora of the Intermountain States." In 1918 he was appointed President of the University of Wyoming. When he was 77 years old he spent three months i Arizona with his wife collecting 1,000 specimens and then was elected president of the Botanical Society of America. The following he year he became the first president of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. At the age of 80 he and his wife botanized Mt. McKinley National Park. He died at the age of 93. (Information from a website of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium) (ref. Achnatherum nelsonii)
  • nelsonio'rum: after Thomas William Nelson (1928-2006) and Jane P. Nelson (1939- ) of the Humboldt State U. herbarium (ref. Eriogonum umbellatum var. nelsoniorum)
  • Nelum'bo: from nelumbu, a Sinhalese (Sri Lankan) name for the lotus plant (ref. genus Nelumbo)
  • Nemacau'lis: from the Greek nema, "a thread," and caulis, "stem," for the slender stems and branches (ref. genus Nemacaulis)
  • nema'clada/Nema'cladus: from the Greek nemos, "thread," and clados, "branch," thus meaning having "thread-like branches" (ref. Cryptantha nemaclada, Lessingia nemaclada and genus Nemacladus)
  • Nemoph'ila: from the Greek nemos, "a glade," and phileo, "to love," meaning that it has "an affinity for groves" (ref. genus Nemophila)
  • nemora'lis: growing in groves or woods (ref. Phacelia nemoralis, Poa nemoralis)
  • nemoro'sa: same as nemoralis above (ref. Draba nemorosa, Nothochelone nemorosa)
  • neoglandulo'sum: apparently the name Rhododendron glandulosum was already in existence, so when Ledum glandulosum was made part of genus Rhododendron, it had to be named something other than that so 'neo' was added (ref. Rhododendron neoglandulosum)
  • Neoholmgrenia: for Arthur Herman Holmgren (1912-1992), his son Noel Herman Holmgren (1937- ), a professor at Oregon State University and Lehman College, and Curator of the New York Botanical Garden, and daughter-in-law Patricia Kern Holmgren (1940- ), Director of the Herbarium of the N.Y. Botanical Garden, for their contribution to the botanical knowledge of the western United States. According to his obituary, he was "a recognized mentor, educator, researcher, authority, on western U.S. flora, plant explorer, environmentalist, conservationist, gardener, and music aficionado." He was Professor of Botany and Curator of the Intermountain Herbarium, Utah State University, 1943-1978, and a teacher at the Teton Science School in the 1980's.(ref. genus Neoholmgrenia)
  • neomexica'na/neomexica'num: of or from New Mexico (ref. Bahia neomexicana, Ditaxis neomexicana, Forestiera neomexicana, Rafinesquia neomexicana, Robinia neomexicana, Sidalcea neomexicana, Cirsium neomexicanum)
  • neopolita'num: of or from Naples (ref. Allium neopolitan)
  • Neostap'fia: after the Austrian-born botanist Otto Stapf (1857-1933). He was trained in Vienna and moved to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1890. He was keeper of the Herbarium from 1909 to 1920. He was awarded the Linnean Medal in 1927 (ref. genus Neostapfia)
  • neoter'icus: new, modern (ref. Penstemon neotericus)
  • Nepe'ta: the ancient Latin name of the aromatic plant catnip (ref. genus Nepeta)
  • nephrophyl'la: from the Greek nephros, "kidney," and phyllon, "leaf," thus, with kidney-shaped leaves (ref. Verbena nephrophylla)
  • Ner'ium: a classical Greek name (ref. genus Nerium)
  • nervi'na: probably the same as the following entry (ref. Carex nervina)
  • nervo'sa: having distinct veins or nerves, usually the leaves (ref. Berberis nervosa)
  • nervulo'sa/nervulo'sum: same approximate meaning as previous entry (ref. Eriogonum nervulosum)
  • nesiot'ica/nesiot'icus: from the Greek nesos, "island," and the -ica suffix indicating "possession or belonging to," thus belonging to an island (ref. Artemisia nesiotica, Dudleya nesiotica, Malacothamus fasciculatus var. nesioticus)
  • Nesto'tus: anagram of generic name Stenotus (ref. genus Nestotus)
  • neuropet'ala: with veined or nerved petals (ref. Cuscuta indecora var. neuropetala)
  • neurophor'a: bearing veins or nerves (ref. Carex neurophora)
  • nevaden'se/nevaden'sis: of or from Nevada or the Sierra Nevadas (ref. Allium nevadense, Chenopodium nevadense, Lomatium nevadense, Ribes nevadense, Arnica nevadensis, Cryptantha nevadensis, Cuscuta nevadensis, Ephedra nevadensis, Helianthella californica var. nevadensis, Iva nevadensis, Lewisia nevadensis, Lotus nevadensis, Lupinus nevadensis, Podistera nevadensis)
  • nevadinco'la: from Nevada and the Latin incola meaning "an inhabitant", hence an inhabitant of Nevada (ref. Erigeron eatonii var. nevadincola)
  • nev'inii/nevin'ii: named after the Reverand Joseph Cook Nevin (1835-1913), of Los Angeles, a brilliant linguist and botanical collector, one of the first to collect on Catalina Island (ref. Astragalus nevinii, Berberis nevinii, Brickellia nevinii, Constancea nevinii, Cordylanthus nevinii, Gilia nevinii)
  • Nevius'ia: after the Reverend Reuben Denton Nevius (1827-1913), a preacher who felt called to the West in the days of its settlement and development and helped establish churches in Eastern Oregon, in Washington and in Idaho. He also was an avid botanist who passed on that knowledge to anyone who would listen, a dedicated builder of churches, and a gifted teacher (ref, genus Neviusia)
  • new'berryi/newber'ryi: named after John Strong Newberry (1822-1892), an American physician, geologist, paleontologist and botanist who collected in California on the Williamson Railroad Survey (ref. Astragalus newberryi var. newberryi, Cheilanthes newberryi, Gentiana newberryi, Horsfordia newberryi, Notholaena newberryi, Penstemon newberryi)
  • nicaeen'sis: of or from Nice (formerly Nicaea Maritima), southern France, or Iznik (formerly Nicaea), Turkey (ref. Malva nicaeensis)
  • Nican'dra: after Nicander, poet of Colophon, Asia Minor, who wrote on the subject of plants around 100 BC (ref. genus Nicandra)
  • Nicollet'ia: named after Joseph Nicholas Nicollet (1786-1843), the French geologist, physical geographer, astronomer and explorer, and John C. Fremont's first teacher in scientific studies. Nicollet pioneered in the use of fossils to correlate strata and the barometer as a means of determining elevation (ref. genus Nicolletia)
  • Nicotia'na: named for Jean Nicot (1530-1600), French ambassador to Portugal and the person supposedly responsible for introducing tobacco into France about 1560, also author of one of the first French language dictionaries (ref. genus Nicotiana)
  • nidif'ica: from the Latin nidus, "nest" (ref. Saxifraga nidifica)
  • nidular'ium/nidular'ius: derived from and diminutive of the Latin nidus, "nest" (ref. Eriogonum nidularium, Cordylanthus nidularius)
  • nid'ulum: meaning "a little nest" (ref. Cirsium nidulum)
  • Nigel'la: from the Latin name nigellus, "somewhat black, dark," diminutive of niger or nigrum, "black," referring to the seed color (ref. genus Nigella)
  • nigellifor'mis: having the form of or resembling Nigella (ref. Navarretia nigelliformis)
  • ni'ger: see nigra below (ref. Cyperus niger, Streptanthus niger)
  • ni'gra/ni'grum: black, referring to the color of the seeds (ref. Brassica nigra, Suaeda nigra, Solanum nigrum)
  • nigrical'ycis: with black calyces (ref. Astragalus lentiginosus var. nigricalycis)
  • nig'ricans: blackish (ref. Carex nigricans, Schoenus nigricans)
  • nil: possibly referring to the Nile?  I have also read that it is an Arabic name for a species of morning glory (ref. Ipomoea nil)
  • nipomen'sis: after the Nipomo Dunes in sw San Luis Obispo County, California (ref. Lupinus nipomensis)
  • nissenan'a: after the Southern Nissenan tribe of Native Americans who lived approximately where Sacramento is now (ref. Arctostaphylos nissenana)
  • ni'tens: shining (ref. Mentzelia nitens, Stellaria nitens)
  • nit'ida/nit'idum/nit'idus: derived from the Latin meaning "shining, lustrous, whitish" referring to the pods (ref. Lepidium nitidum, Petalonyx nitidus)
  • nitidibacca'tum: from the Latin nitidus, "shining, glittering," and bacca, "a small round fruit, berry" (ref. Solanum physalifolium var. nitidibaccatum)
  • Nitro'phila: from the Greek nitron, "carbonate of soda," and philos, "fond of," i.e. "alkali- or soda-loving" (ref. genus Nitrophila, also Sphaeromeria potentilloides var. nitrophila)
  • niva'le/niva'lis: snow-white, growing near snow (ref. Eriogonum ovalifolium var. nivale, Rubus nivalis)
  • niv'ea/niv'eum/niv'eus: snow-white  (ref. Boehmeria nivea, Sedum niveum, Helianthus niveus)
  • niv'ium: from the roots nix or nivis for "snow," this is an alternate spelling of niveum, apparently grammatically different from niveum, but conveying the same meaning, that is, "snow, snowy, of snow or belonging to snow." David Hollombe dug up the fact that the type locality for this taxon was Snow Mountain in Lake County east of Mendocino (ref. Epilobium nivium)
  • nivo'sa: snow-white
  • no'bile: notable (ref. Anthemis nobile)
  • Noccae'a: after Italian botanist Domenico Nocca (1758-1841), Italian clergyman and professor of botany at the University of Pavia, also Director of the Botanic Garden there (ref. genus Noccaea)
  • noctiflor'a: night-flowering (ref. Silene noctiflora)
  • nodiflor'a/nodiflor'um: with flowers borne from the nodes (ref. Phyla nodiflora, Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum, Solanum nodiflorum)
  • nodo'sa/nodo'sum/nodo'sus: with conspicuous nodes (ref. Torilis nodosa, Eriogonum wrightii var. nodosum, Potamogeton nodosus)
  • Noli'na: named after Abbé Pierre Charles Nolin (1717- ?), French arboriculturist, director of the royal nurseries, and agricultural writer who co-authored a treatise on farming around 1755 (ref. genus Nolina)
  • no'li-tang'ere: from the Latin tango, "to touch," and noli, "do not," thus meaning "touch-me-not" which is a general common name for the Impatiens (ref. Impatiens noli-tangere)
  • nootkaten'sis: of or from the area of Nootka Sound or Nootka Island in Alaska (ref. Callitropsis [formerly Cupressus] nootkatensis)
  • nor'risii/norris'ii: after Larry L. Norris (1949- ). The following is from "Notes on Contributors," (January, 1984, Fremontia): "Larry L. Norris is a research botanist with the National Park Service in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. He was formerly a naturalist in Death Valley National Monument, and compiled a plant checklist for the area. He also compiled a plant list for Sequoia/Kings Canyon, and bird checklists for both areas. He is still with the National Park Service and is currently Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Research Coordinator, based at the University of Arizona in Tucson." (ref. Mimulus norrisii)
  • norten'sis: of or from del Norte County (ref. Arctostaphylos nortensis)
  • nor'tonii/norton'ii: after Andrea Massena Norton (1853-1930), a California plant collector who found a number of plants that were named by E.L. Greene. He taught school at Gonzales from 1880 to about 1892. Later he was a steamship company agent at Monterey. He learned botany from his friend John Bale Hickman (ref. Eriogonum nortonii)
  • norveg'ica: of or from Norway (ref. Artemisia norvegica, Carex norvegica, Potentilla norvegica)
  • nota'tior: may be a variant of notatus, "marked, spotted, distinguished," and the -ior ending may connote some extension of an adjectival characteristic, like brevior, "shorter" or latior, "broader," which might give this the meaning of "more marked" (ref. Atriplex coronata var. notatior)
  • nota'tum/nota'tus: marked, spotted (ref. Paspalum notatum)
  • Nothocala'is: from the Greek nothos, "false or spurious," and Calais, a figure of Greek mythology who had scales on his back (ref. genus Nothocalais)
  • Nothochelo'ne: false Chelone (ref. genus Nothochelone)
  • nothoful'vus: from the Greek notho, a word used to indicate close but not complete agreement, with an aspect of uncertainty or falseness, and fulvus, "tawny," so perhaps meaning something like "almost tawny(?)" (ref. Plagiobothrys nothofulvus)
  • Notholae'na: from the Greek nothos, "false," and chlaina, "a cloak," an allusion to the incomplete indusium (ref. genus Notholaena)
  • Notholithocarpus: from the Greek nothos, "false," and the genus name Lithocarpus (ref. genus Notholithocarpus)
  • Nothoscor'dum: from the Greek nothos, "false," and scordum, "garlic," the common name being false garlic (ref. genus Nothoscordum)
  • notit'ius: well-known (ref. Lotus argyraeus var. notitius)
  • no'va: new (ref. Artemisia nova)
  • nov'ae-zeland'iae: from New Zealand (ref. Acaena novae-zelandiae)
  • novenmillen'sis: named after Nine Mile Canyon on the east slope of the southern Sierra Nevada, Inyo County, California (ref. Phacelia novenmillensis)
  • nubig'ena/nubig'enum/nubig'enus: born among the clouds (ref. Cryptantha nubigena, Eriophyllum nubigenum)
  • nucif'era: nut-bearing
  • nu'da: naked, bare (ref. Silene nuda)
  • nuda'ta/nuda'tus: see nuda above (ref. Carex nudata, Linanthus nudatus, Mimulus nudatus)
  • nudicau'le/nudicau'lis: with a bare stem (ref. Delphinium nudicaule, Enceliopsis nudicaulis)
  • nudiflor'us: flowering before the leaves emerge
  • nudius'cula: somewhat bare or naked (ref. Pogogyne nudiuscula)
  • nu'dum: bare, naked (ref. Eriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum, Eriogonum nudum var. westonii)
  • nummular'e: same as next entry (ref. Eriogonum nummulare)
  • nummular'ia: resembling a coin, nummus, often applied to plants with small, almost circular leaves (ref. Arctostaphylos nummularia, Atriplex nummularia, Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Nu'phar: ultimately from the Persian word nufar which is a geographic location and a name for a water lily (ref. genus Nuphar)
  • nu'tans: nodding or drooping, usually the flowers (ref. Astragalus nutans, Carduus nutans, Chamaesyce nutans, Madia nutans)
  • nutkaen'sis: see following entry (ref. Calamagrostis nutkaensis, Puccinellia nutkaensis)
  • nutka'na: of Nootka Sound, British Columbia (ref. Rosa nutkana)
  • Nuttallan'thus: see following entry (ref. genus Nuttallanthus)
  • nut'tallii/nuttallia'na/nuttallia'num/nuttallia'nus: named for the Englishman Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), a botanist, ornithologist, curator of the Harvard Botanic Gardens, and author in 1816 of Genera of North American Plants.  In 1834 he ventured overland to Oregon with his friend Nathaniel Wyeth (see Wyethia), sailed twice to Hawaii, then visited California where he was recognized by a Harvard student who had taken up a sea-faring life, Richard Henry Dana, and who described Nuttall in Two Years Before the Mast.  Although not well known in his native country, he was highly praised by the famed American botanist Asa Gray (ref. Calochortus nuttallii, Cornus nuttallii, Galium nuttallii ssp. insulare, Galium nuttallii ssp. nuttallii, Helianthus nuttallii, Linanthus nuttallii, Minuartia nuttallii var. gracilis, Tiquilia [formerly Coldenia] nuttallii, Monolepis nuttalliana, Puccinellia nuttaliana, Antirrhinum nuttallianum, Astragalus nuttalianus, Lotus nuutallianus)
  • Nyctagina'ceae: from the Greek nyx or nyktos, "night," and New Latin -ago, a suffix that implies resemblance to the word that precedes it, this family name is based on the generic epithet Nyctago
  • nyctagin'ea: night-blooming (ref. Mirabilis nyctaginea)
  • nyctaginifo'lia: with leaves like those of the four-o'clock family, Nyctaginaceae (ref. Asclepias nyctaginifolia)
  • Nymphae'a: from the Greek nymphaia, referring to a water nymph (ref. genus Nymphaea)
  • Nympho'ides: like genus Nymphaea (ref. genus Nymphoides)

Sunset over the White Mountains
Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern County.

Home Page