Introducing “The Plant Game”

Last fall, I invented a silly game to play at a staff gathering.  People seemed to enjoy it, so I’ve decided to test it out as a periodic feature here on the blog.

Plants, like all organisms, have both a common name and a Latin name.  Latin names (e.g., Dalea purpurea) are most useful to scientists, but common names (e.g., purple prairie clover) are easier for most of us to remember.  However, common names can also be really goofy.  In fact, some of them are almost unbelievable, and that is the basis for this game.

The point of the game is to look at four alleged plant names and guess which one of them I made up.  Three of the names are listed in The Flora of Nebraska as official plant names, but one is completely fake.  See if you can guess.  I’m hoping that even trained botanists will struggle with some of these because they tend to use Latin names more than common names.

Let’s see how this goes.  I’ll provide the correct answers in a blog post later this week.  (Don’t cheat – just guess.  It’s more fun that way.)

 

Oh, and it seems like we should have a better name for this than “The Plant Game”, so if you have suggestions, please let me know in the comments section below.  Puns are welcome.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
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11 Responses to Introducing “The Plant Game”

  1. dmrankin3031 . says:

    I love this! Would work well for Master Gardener groups or garden clubs.

    Diana M. Rankin UMN Extension Master Gardener, Kanabec County

    On Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 8:40 AM, The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: “Last fall, I invented a silly game to play at a > staff gathering. People seemed to enjoy it, so I’ve decided to test it out > as a periodic feature here on the blog. Plants, like all organisms, have > both a common name and a Latin name. Latin names (e.g.” >

  2. Rob Fleming says:

    Linnealapalooza

  3. Kim Sosin says:

    Fun. If it weren’t too political, call it the “alternative plant name game” or “fake news name” for short. Lol

    Kim

    On Feb 20, 2017 6:40 AM, “The Prairie Ecologist” wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: “Last fall, I invented a silly game to play at a > staff gathering. People seemed to enjoy it, so I’ve decided to test it out > as a periodic feature here on the blog. Plants, like all organisms, have > both a common name and a Latin name. Latin names (e.g.” >

  4. Dale Steichen says:

    How about the Nebr Prairies Plant Game

  5. Chris Helzer says:

    Thanks for the comments so far. Interestingly, a majority are guessing right on the first question (I made it easy on purpose) but most people have been wrong on the second.

  6. At this weekend’s Wild Things Conference in Chicago, during the Plenary Session a game was played – Freshwater Mussel or Dick Tracy Villain?

  7. Fun! Odd Plant Out. Plant Plant Ploop. Bamboozled! (that would be a good one if it were only about bamboos). One Plant, Two Plant, Red Plant, New Plant. Duplicity.

  8. The Battle of the Bogus Bloom

  9. Danelle H says:

    Fact or Fertilizer…

  10. Luddene Perry says:

    The Plant Game is now on the agenda for my garden class this Thursday in Central City!

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