It's the Plants, Darling

A woodruff by any other name would smell as sweet

I like to mix my sweet woodruff with lamiums, ivy, and, of course, weeds.

Huh? Wha?

Here I am innocently perusing my Bluestone catalog, getting all excited about spending twice as money with them by ordering perennials in the fall AND spring, when I see that what I have been calling gallium odorata for years is NOW called … asperula odorata. And that the gallium verum is nowhere to be found. I don’t know what they’re calling that now.

No explanation. I’m almost afraid that if I were to call and ask, there’d be this 1984ish scenario where I would be told that the plant has ALWAYS been called asperula. (Yes, I know, I’m going too far. I am sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation.)

But still. I love the name sweet woodruff. It makes me think of sachets, May wine, and one of the easiest-growing groundcover a Northeastern gardener could ever want. I also liked the name gallium, though not as much. Omnia Gallia est and all that. Asperula isn’t quite as pleasant in its Latin meaning or in its sound.

Oh, well. Whatever the nomenclature experts do, it’ll always be sweet woodruff.

And by the way, does anyone know the reasonable explanation?

Posted by on August 29, 2007 at 9:00 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling.
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3 responses to “A woodruff by any other name would smell as sweet”

  1. Gloria says:

    Reclassification of plant life has always happened as we learn more about plants.
    Advances in Molecular Biology
    [cell biology :structure, and components of the cell], allow differences at the cellular level to be evaluated.

  2. John says:

    Don’t know why, but apparently the plant was reclassified as a different genus in the same family. Galium and Asperulum are existing genera in the family Rubiaceae.

  3. John says:

    Oops, let me correct myself: Galium and *Asperula* are the genera.