Swine's Snout, Nosebleed, and other Weird Plant Names

Jul 26, 2017
Yarrow

Nosebleed (also known as Yarrow).

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Have you ever heard of these weird plant names? Learn how the plants below got such unique names, then pick up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids to find out more!

Swine’s Snout

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This name is unusual because it refers to not one, but TWO plants. Swine’s Snout is a wildflower, and after the flower has matured and is ready to develop seeds, the flower closes up and resembles that most prominent part of a pig’s face. It’s also another nickname for a dandelion! 

Speaking of which, the name “dandelion” itself is rather strange; it stems from the French dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth” (a reference to the plant’s toothed leaves)!

Nosebleed

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Also called yarrow, this ferny-leafed plant looks nothing like a nose! However, its leaves have been used for centuries to both stop and start nosebleeds.

Bird’s Nest

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This wildflower gets its name from the lacy clusters of tiny white flowers that often have one reddish-brown flower in the center. Once the flower has been pollinated, the entire cluster forms a cup that resembles a bird’s nest. Bird’s nest is also known as Queen Anne’s Lace and wild carrot.

Bugbane

Bugbane. Photo by H. Zell/Wikimedia Commons
Bugbane. Photo by H. Zell/Wikimedia Commons.

Talk about ominous! This plant gets its name from its long spikes of flowers, which put off a strong fragrance that is said to repel some insects, but attract others. It’s also known by an equally displeasing name: Snakeroot!

For more bizarre plant names, pick up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids Volume 7—available now!

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Weird Common Plant Names

My favorite weird plant name is for Phlya nodiflora, commonly known as Turkey Tangle Frog Fruit. It appears to be an insignificant ground cover, but it is more important than it looks. It is the larval host for several species of butterfly including Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon), White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) and Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). It is a vine that can run for several yards along the ground and I have observed several species of birds, including bald eagles, collecting it, presumably for nesting material.

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