latin for the accidental gardener

Cornus canadensis photo l.fowler

Not often do gardeners have the opportunity to bring something back to life.

Latin is now considered a dead language, meaning it’s still used in specific contexts, but does not have any native speakers

How do you say soil in Latin? Well, there are 6 ways to refer to soil: soli, terra, humus, telis, and ager.

soli The word soil is derived from Latin word solum meaning the substratum in which the plant grows. It is the loose superficial layer of the earth’s crust.

humus Used to describe ground, earth, land, region, or country

telis  Appears in Pliny’s “Natural History” to describe agriculture, flora, fauna, land, equipment, rural 

ager field, territory, country, land, countryside

word of the day

abortivus a-bor-TEE-vus

Incomplete; with parts missing, as in Oncidium aborvitum

Oncidium abortivum epiphytic orchid from the genus Oncidium

Plants blooms in the winter with several wide flowers, but the inflorescence may have sterile flowers and a few viable ones.


  1. Latin for Gardeners, Lorraine Harrison, University of Chicago Press

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: