Edward Lear (1812-1888) had his own take on the Linnean system of binomial nomenclature, using it to create crazy nonsense plant names to label crazy nonsense plant illustrations. All of which are enduring, humorous triumphs.
Today, we have well defined botanical rules when naming plant species, the foundations of which were laid by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th Century. You are required to use a genus name (eg Rosa) combined with a species epithet name (eg canina), to create a species name – Rosa canina (a.k.a Dog Rose). You have to write them both in Latin, with the genus name written with an initial capital letter, the species epithet all lower case, and both italicised. Lear didn’t follow exactly these conventions, most likely because they were not enforced consistently until the 1950s. Before that it was quite common to capitalise the first initial of the species epithet, especially if that word was a noun. When the Latin is translated, species names use words that often describe a unique or distinctive morphological feature of the plant, distribution details or a name of a person. Lear follows this pattern, by using fake Latin to tell you all about the oddities he has drawn.
Lear was a natural history illustrator by trade, drawing birds, exotic animals as well as plants. When he started his nonsense series he used a pseudonym, thinking it would damage his credibility to be so silly, but as it turned out, it became his most celebrated work.
The following are taken from his book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets published in 1872 in London. It is now in the Public Domain and these images arrive care of Project Gutenberg.