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4.5 out of 5 stars81
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2012
Whilst this is informative and does give some interesting historical notes on featured plants it was not quite as I expected, which was a break down or root (no pun intended) of the plant names ie Sempervivum - latin semper meaning always and vivus meaning alive = to live forever. On some 'featured' plants it does this, but generally it doesn't, which I found disappointing, but then I do have a particular fascination with word origins.
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on 22 March 2013
Gussied up for the gift shop market, Edwardian Lady style, this will no doubt sell well. But anyone who actually bought it because they are curious about the origins of plant names will be consistently frustrated. Here's a few I just tried to look up and found not included: potentilla, clivia, ranunculus. A great deal of space is taken up listing rather obvious terms such as Clarkei, or indeed ranunculoides, while rather common plants are ignored. There is some interesting information contained in this book but as a work of reference it will disappoint.
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VINE VOICEon 6 December 2012
Like many other RHS publications, this is a beautifully produced book, with a lovely cloth binding, decorative endpapers, and oodles of coloured engravings and paintings. The RHS has cornered the market in this type of book, a combination of serious reference work and coffee-table browser.

By the way, I'm a huge fan of the RHS and all the work they do in promoting horticulture in the UK. I'm constantly visiting their online Plant Selector. And the two-volume A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants should be on every gardener's bookshelf.

My quibble is with the content of this particular volume, which is quite limited. It claims to explain over 3,000 plant names. However it is restricted to extremely brief explanations of the second part of the Latin binomial (the double name given to every species). I was hoping for a comprehesive reference work fully describing both elements of a plant's latin name. For instance, I was researching ''Hacquetia epipactis'', and wondering about the source of the name. Sure enough, the book comes up with an explanation of ''epipactis'' (plants thought to curdle milk). But unfortunately there is nothing about ''Hacquetia'' and I'm still in the dark about the derivation of this intriguing name.

It looks as if I will have to invest in something weightier, drier and duller, to satisfy my quest.
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on 8 November 2012
Very interesting - explains how plants got their names and links plant families to other ones with the same roots. Excellent for people who like flowers called by their proper names!
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on 2 April 2014
This book is absolutely stunning to look at and a joy to dip in and out of. It's hardcover and features lush, heavyweight quality full colour pages. I was seriously shocked to see the one star review here for this product claim that the pictures are "rubbish". They are lovely proper botanical illustrations! You can't ask for much better! I was pleasantly surprised to find the book was illustrated in this manner.

The book does not go into a huge amount of detail about the root of words, but the meaning is given and helpfully masculine, feminine and neuter forms are fully listed for you. As a note, Botanical Latin is quite different to Classical Latin as some of us were taught in school - so there are a lot of words that are not Latin at all. Botanical Latin is very recent and has had to adapt to describe plant parts that the Romans never described and therefore did not have words for, so there will be some big differences. Please consider this before complaining it's not Latin - it IS Botanical Latin, and that's a different beast altogether!

The names of some notable plants are explored more fully throughout the book for interest as well, making it a very nice book to hop about in as you are looking names up.

Overall this has been a very useful purchase for me. I consider it to be excellent value for money given how much I will be referring to it and the quality of the book itself. It's a perfect gift or lightweight reference book for the interested gardener.
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on 25 November 2012
was a christmas present for my gardener wife.
however, I did Latin, so can positively review the book.
I will still have to be the purist and correct her onnpronunciation.
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on 10 October 2012
Beautifully illustrated and superbly bound, this book is a sheer delight both to hold and to behold - even a ribbon attached to the binding dispenses with the need for a potentially damaging bookmark. Used with care, this book would become a beloved heirloom!
The typeface and design is well-chosen for comfortable reading, and the layout of the content is clearly illustrated and explained.
The author's style is clear, precise and very engaging, and demonstrates a thorough knowledge of her subject.
The content is exactly as described above. This delightful book is both a door that opens onto a beautiful garden, and a guide that gently and easily leads us through the now fascinating, but hitherto labyrinthine, subject of plant nomenclature.
Thank you to all involved in its production!
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on 28 November 2012
This book is beautifully presented in that it is hardback, the print is clear and the illustrations most attractive. The contents are very informative and interesting, and it is also a great pleasure to read. It is therefore fantastic value for money. I gave this book as a present to a friend (a gardening fan) and she loved it equally. It is such an excellent book that I want to get another copy for myself!
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on 13 November 2012
Excellent book - full of detail and extra snippets of information on why plants are named the way they are, The RHS can always be trusted to give reliable information with a wealth of experience and resources behind them to back up all their publications. It is the sort of book you may move on to from other more user friendly books of similar ilk as it is written in a more field specific way, a very good source of reference material.
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on 11 February 2013
This was bought as a present for my daughter in law but it is something I would have enjoyed browsing through as I did Latin at school and so know some latin plant names.
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