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Plant Names

When the name of a plant has an “x” in it, what does the it mean and how does one say the “x”? I would like to sound like I know what I’m talking about with more knowledgeable gardening friends. Thank you. Love your program!!!!!

The “x” in a plant name signifies that it is a hybrid, or cross, between two plants of one genus. For instance, lavender is a member of the genus Lavandula. Two species of Lavandula are L. angustifolia (commonly known as English lavender) and L. latifolia (commonly known as spike lavender). Plant breeders crossed these two species to create Lavandula x intermedia, which contains characteristics of both parents.

When you are discussing a hybrid plant you can either drop the “x” from the name or substitute the word species. For example I would say Lavandula intermedia or Lavandula species intermedia.