I read recently that a collection of pine trees and other evergreens is called a pinetum. A new term to me. I already knew that an arboretum is a collection of trees and a herbarium is a collection of dried plant material.
I did some online searching to find out if there were any other -tums or -ums for different types of plant collections and couldn’t find any. Then I remembered rosariums which are gardens of roses. And terrariums, which are gardens in glass containers, not to be confused with orchidariums which are specialized terrariums for orchids. And fusarium, which isn’t a collection of plants but a genus name for a group of fungi that you don’t want anywhere near your tomatoes.
But I digress. I did not find any lists of names for specific types of plant collections. And I found nothing related to collections of violets.
So, obviously, I took action to fill this void, this chasm of neglect, this enormous oversight which appears to have gone on for centuries.
I asked myself if a collection of plants in the genus Viola should be called a violetum or a violatum. I favor violatum, thought I don’t like the Latin root words I find when I do an online search to see if someone else has possibly puzzled over the question, “What is a collection of plants in the genus Viola called?’
The problem with violetum is that the violet as a common name only refers to some of the plants in this genus. And while viola is also a common name for just some of the other plants in this genus, it is at least the genus name and so would be more inclusive of violets, pansies, and violas.
So, ignoring the Latin root words which have meanings I don’t like, and disregarding the question of whether or not a collection of plants in the genus Viola needs its own name, and having a preference, I’m going with Violatum.
Violatum (noun) (vī-ˈō-lə-tum) – A collection of plants in the genus Viola, generally planted in one garden.
It’s official now. I just need a dictionary or two to pick it up and accept it as a new word.
Progress on my violatum
I’ve added quite a few plants to my violatum this spring, including one purchased yesterday that yes, was just like the six I purchased earlier in the spring as quite small plants. But this one had been potted up at the greenhouse and looked quite fetching and in bloom so I bought it as an insurance policy of sorts.
The other violas are growing quite well. This cold, slow spring has been just the right weather for them (and has caused the peppers and tomatoes to sulk and pout.)
In other news, some of the Viola seeds, primarily for varieties of Viola cornuta, the tufted violets, that I sowed earlier in the spring haven’t germinated and likely won’t at this point. But I’ll soon pot up the seedlings from the seeds that did germinate and grow them on this summer for fall planting. I may try again mid-summer to get some of the leftover seeds to germinate. Plus, I’m looking at some other Viola species to grow from seed, particularly those that are often called just violets.
And as always, as I visit various garden centers and greenhouses, I’m keeping a sharp eye out for any other plants in the genus Viola that I must have for my violatum, which is all of them.
Oh, and I need to decide if my violatum should be distinguished from other violatums by calling it something like the Michel Violatum or the May Dreams Gardens Violatum. I’m undecided on that and will keep thinking about it while I continue to indulge in this latest obsession for the genus Viola. (Yes, I do think it is the world’s first violatum.)
What about names for other plant collections?
At this point, you have either concluded that I’ve gone off the deep-end, mentally, or your own brain cells are churning out names for your own plant collections.
Perhaps you have a particularly wonderful collection of hostas? Many people do, but how many of them consider their collection a hostatum. Be the first!
Or maybe you are taken with pelargoniums? Now this is going to be tricky because “pelargonium” already ends with -um, as does geranium. I guess a collection of pelargoniums is just going to have to be called a pelargoniumtum, which may seem awkward at first, but say it outloud enough times, and I think you’ll like it.
One more example, and then I think most people will be able to come up with their own plant collection names. What about clematis? So many people are starting to grow lots of different clematis. May I suggest you call your clematis collection a clematistum?
Okay, one more, but then that’s it. If you collect succulents, you can call your collection a succulentum. Catchy, isn’t it?
And now, this post must really end. I have much to do in and around the violatum before it gets too much further into the growing season!
Heh heh, being a lover of words in general, this post gave me a good chuckle. Go Carol!
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening says
Have you checked out the violas at Logee’s?