'Eponyms' (EP-oh-nims) are names for things based on the names of people. A sandwich, for example, is named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is said to have first eaten one. Many flowers have been named after people, too. See if you can guess the "eponymous" flowers based on the true stories below.
1. Michel B. was born in the reign of Louis XIII. He was ordered to go to the island of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean to be a colonial official there. Historians say he carried his namesake flower back to France and introduced it to the botanists of Europe. This tropical plant now is widely grown. Its leaves may be brightly colored or veined, and it has waxy, colorful flowers. Grateful Europeans named the plant for him: b - - - - - -.
2. The founder of the system by which plants are named was Karl von Linn. He was an 18th-century Swedish botanist better known by his Latinized name of Carolus Linnaeus. He named many plants, including one for his student Anders Dahl. The plant is native to Mexico and Central America. It has tuberous roots and showy, colorful flowers. It's a d - - - - -.
3. William Forsythe was superintendent of the royal gardens at St. James and Kensington in England in the 1700s. For his contribution to the British Empire, he was applauded by both Houses of Parliament. A shrub native to China and widely cultivated for its early spring yellow flowers was also named after him: f - - - - - - - -.
4. Alexander Garden discovered many fishes and eels that he sent to Linnaeus for classification. He lived in South Carolina in the 1700s and corresponded with many of the leading botanists of his day. But his name is immortalized by a flower he may have had nothing to do with. Linnaeus named a flowering Chinese shrub after his friend. It has shiny leaves and large, fragrant white flowers: the g - - - - - - -.
5. James L. taught school in Missouri in the 1850s and then went west. On reaching California, he became a lawyer, district attorney, and superior court judge. He was also a horticulturist who liked to experiment. He planted blackberries and raspberries side by side. They cross-pollinated, and a new plant grew. This one had a unique flavor and is now grown for its acidic but edible fruit. Who is he? The berry is the l - - - - - - - - -.
6. Pierre M. lived in Montpelier, France, in the 1600s. His work categorizing local plant life attracted botanists the world over. The tree named in his honor has handsome leaves and showy, fragrant white, pink, purple, or yellow flowers that appear in early spring: the m - - - - - - -.
7. Maryland's Timothy Hanson has been called the Johnny Appleseed of hay (Johnny Hayseed?). He was the first to cultivate a grass native to Eurasia. He brought it to America in the early 18th century. Soon he was cultivating it in Maryland, New York, and the Carolinas. What is the name of the hay? (Hint: It's not Hanson.) It's t - - - - - -.
8. Joel Roberts P. was America's representative in Latin America in the early 1800s. A fervent liberal, he ignored his country's policy of neutrality. He spent so much time fostering insurrection and embroiling himself in local politics in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina that he was labeled 'a suspicious character' by the British and the 'scourge of the American continent.' Today his name is a household word, for it was from Mexico that he brought back the Christmas flower that bears his name, the p - - - - - - - - -.
(1) begonia; Michel Bgon; (2) dahlia; (3) forsythia; (4) gardenia; (5) James Logan; loganberry; (6) magnolia; Pierre Magnol; (7) timothy; (8) poinsettia; Joel Roberts Poinsett.