Plants are a bit like paint colors or ice cream flavors: Sometimes I'm tempted to buy them for the name alone. That certainly explains the Mr. Stripey tomato growing in my vegetable patch, and the Claire de Lune clematis climbing the side of the garage. Both are admirable plants, but it was their charming names that landed them in my cart.


Some names give you a clear picture of the plant, from the giant floppy ripples of elephant's ears to the quaint curl of mouse ears hosta. Others are evocative of their look -- love lies bleeding and bleeding hearts, for instance. Some just bring to mind a feeling, like johnny jump ups, forget-me-nots or kiss me over the garden gate.

My personal favorite in the name category: chartreuse wiggles, above. Nearly neon bright, this tiny wavy-leafed hosta squiggles low to the ground, and I have to smile when ever I look at it.

On the flip side, there are pretty plants with less than attractive names, like spiderwort. And mother-in-law's tongue is a striking plant, although it does have a bit of a sharp edge to it.

What's your favorite plant name? And how great would it be to have a job naming plants?