If you need to understand latin as it pertains to botany, or simply want a reference to the vocabulary used in the naming of plants (and to some extent animals), then this book will fit the bill.
Stearn, W. T. 2004. Botanical Latin. David and Charles, Newton Abbot, Devon. ISBN 0 7153 1643 5.
Softback. 17.0x23.5cm. 546 pages.
The 2004 edition of this classic book is the first paperback edition since its original publication back in 1966, since when it has become recognised as the definitive work on the subject of botanical Latin
it has become recognised as the definitive work on the subject of botanical Latin. The book is comprehensive in scope covering not simply the names, but also the Latin descriptions of botanical specimens. Much of its content probably goes beyond the requirements of most gardeners and amateur naturalists, but nevertheless there is a wealth of information to interest anyone who has ever wondered about the Latin naming conventions of plants and animals.
The book is split into four sections: introduction; grammar; syntax and vocabulary. Anyone who regularly deals with Latin names will find the introduction useful covering, as it does, not only the development of Latin terminology but also the pronunciation - an often tricky subject for many of us. The sections on grammar and syntax are perhaps of more use to the serious student of botany, but even here there are a number of chapters of interest to the casual amateur (for example the lists of colour terms and Greek words used in botanical Latin). For me the large section on vocabulary is perhaps the most useful part of this reference
For me the large section on vocabulary is perhaps the most useful part of this reference: covering around 170 pages of the book, the vocabulary is both an English-to-Latin and Latin-to-English reference. I find this particularly useful for establishing the meaning of the second part (the specific part) of a plant's Latin name. Once you understand that sylvaticus
means 'pertaining to woods', the names of plants like Luzula sylvatica
(great wood-rush) become more meaningful and therefore easier to remember.