The Names Page


Why that name?


by Brad Thompson

Some people have inquired about where my begonia names come from and the stories behind them. This article will hopefully be amusing to some of you as I recount how the names came to be.

Now some are fairly simple to figure out without an explanation such as those named after friends and those with names like B. 'Lady Mary'. I'll concentrate on the ones that have a story.

B. 'Afternoon Delight': This one of course was named one afternoon. One of my test growers and I were looking at the plant and she said wasn't this one delightful and it needed a name. You can figure out the rest.

B. 'Airy Fairy', 'Airy Elf' and 'Airy Fairy Godmother': The first one I named was Airy Fairy because it had this light delicate growth with small dots like it was covered with fairy dust. Besides Airy and Fairy rhymed. The other two were offshoots of that name.

B. 'All Tingley' is a mallet type cane and the name is a play off of B.'Tingley Mallet'

B. 'Sands of Arabia' and the others of that same cross that have Arabian names. Sands was first because it has a very dark leaf with a covering of small dots which reminded me of sand. Then I thought of where the deserts were and thought of Arabia. The rest of the series is a play off the first name. Arabian Nights is black.

The "Snake" series: These got their name because the first one I named had a pattern that reminded me of a rattlesnake so I named that one B. 'Rattlesnake' (this one was lost before it ever got released) and then the other ones got snake names too just to make them a series. Some people are so afraid of snakes that they won't grow the plants. (Wait till I do a bug or spider series)

B. 'Aztec': I was reading the book "Aztec" at the time.

B. 'Baby Talk': just because it was small and cute. It had to be baby something.

B. 'Big Bad Brad': My nickname at times is Bad Brad and this is a play off a restaurant chain called "Bob's Big Boy". Besides it does get large leaves and flowers.

B. 'Black Gold': No it doesn't have yellow flowers. It's named black gold because the leaves are oil colored as in Black Gold/Texas Tea.

B. 'Bloody Mary': One of several I named after Mary, this one has red flowers and in strong light the leaves also have red splashes.

B.'Blushing Ivory': Named after its white flowers which get a rosy edge. (also I stole the name from an African Violet)

B. 'Bolero': I was in a classical music faze and had been listening to Bolero that day.

B. 'Captain Hook': part of a series of names from the book Treasure Island, it's name that because the leaf tips have a tendency to curl and it also has odd little hook growths on top of the leaf occasionally.

The Comedy series: This got its name from the first one named which was B. 'Clown Around' which has a round semi spiralled leaf with dark spots. I needed a "round" name and it looked kind of comical so that started the series all having names that have something to do with laughing.

B. 'Castawy' was the first of the Treasure Island names. It got its name because I told one of the test growers to dump it because I didn't think it was going to be anything. She ignored me and kept the plant and it actually turned into a great little plant. Since it almost got thrown away Castaway became its name.

The Egyptian series: This one is simple to explain, their mother was B. 'Cleopatra'.

B. 'Committee Meeting': was named after an event because it was named during a Convention Committee meeting. B. 'Culture Class' was named during a culture class, B. 'Study Group' was named during a study group and B. 'Unconventional' was named at another Convention Committee meeting.

B. 'Cowardly' was named that because it had a dark brown leaf with a yellow stripe down the middle.

B. 'Dancing Birds' just reminded me of a flock of birds getting ready to take off.

B. 'De Cups': This is not what people think and doesn't refer to a bra size. It is slang talk as in "Answer de door", "Walk de cat", you get the idea, B. 'De Udder Cups' is a play off that. I used this name because all the other good cup names had been used and these had cupped leaves.

B. 'Edna Redenbacher': This name is a joke. One of my test growers is Elda Regimbal and I wanted to name a plant after her but Irene Nuss had just named one B.'Elda Regimbal' so I couldn't use that name. Elda had told me a story about how she had gotten mail with the name Edna Redenbacher on it. She had told John Ingles about it and so every time he sent her something he would address it that way so it became an old joke. I kept the joke going.

B. 'Frodo, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Sneagol, Hobbit, etc.': These are names of characters in JRR Tolkien's, The Lord of the Rings.

A group of plants that includes B. 'Queen of Hearts', B. 'Good Intentions', B. 'Merry Memories' and B. 'Peppermint Promises' are all named after a friend who died who had grown these plants from seedlings for me. I selected the best of the group and gave them names that would remind me of her since I'd already named one B.'Shirley Nemecek'

B. 'Hanna's Child' is a hybrid of B. 'Hanna Serr'

B. 'Humperdink': It's mother is Laura Englebert. If that wasn't enough for you to get the connection. It's as in Englebert Humperdink.

B. 'Ice Castle' has silver leaves.

B. 'Kecemen' (Nemecek backwards)

B. 'Little Miss Mummey': No this isn't part of the Egyptian series. It's named after a friend who's maiden name was Mummey. It had a different name before, it's named after Elda Regimabal, who's maiden name was Mummey, but at first I named it after her by using her name backwards. She didn't like B.'Adle Labmiger' though.

B. 'Long Hearst' got it's name two ways, I have a friend whose maiden name was Longhearst and 'Long Hearst' has extremely long female flowers. ( long females=long hers)

B. 'Low Hangers': Some think this is an obsene name but it refers to the flowers which hang down very low on extra long peduncles. The plant was very low growing and in a basket the flowers hung way down below the bottom of the basket like a skirt.

B. 'Maria's Revenge': This is named after Maria Holmes. She was getting cuttings one day when I said I was going to have to name one after her. I picked the plant and then proceded to come up with less than flattering names playing off her name. She said if I used one of those names she would get her revenge so I named the plant Maria's Revenge. For awhile we were not speaking to each other and that plant grew faster than any plant in my yard so it lives up to its name.

B. 'Mary's Surprise': This was another plant that didn't do that much for me but I had given cuttings to Mary Sakamoto to test grow. One night she brought it to a meeting, not only had it grown into a neat plant, it was also blooming. The flowers turned out to be strongly fragrant, which was the surprise.

B. 'Miss Kitty': this was originally going to be part of a series using Gunsmoke names. Festus and Marshall Dillon never made the cut so I was left with only Miss Kitty

B. 'Miss Motormouth': This plant is named after Elaine Baxter. When I was telling her on the phone that I had just named one after her, Lady Baxter, she immediately told her husband that was sitting there. He said if I was going to name one after her I should have called it Miss Motormouth. The next time I named plants I used that name as a joke.

B. 'Naugahyde' has leathery leaves that feel almost like vinyl but vinyl didn't seem like a good name.

B. 'Night Crossing': Got it's name from a movie. It has huge black leaves that look like parachutes or umbrellas. Night Crossing is about people escaping in hot air balloons.

B. Otomakas': (Sakamoto backwards)

B. 'Patriot Games' was named around the fourth of july and I was trying to think of a patriotic name to give it. Patriot Games is the name of a movie.

B. 'Pintura' is spanish for painted.

B. 'Queen Irene' is named after Irene Nuss since I used a hybrid of hers to create it and also hadn't named one after her yet.

B. 'Raspberries for Ronnie' is a two fold name. It refers to the raspberrie spots and flowers and also giving a friendly raspberrie to Ronnie Nevins.

B. 'Saki Sipper' has cupped leaves and was named at a time when I was using Japanese type names.

B. 'Shalimar' has scented flowers and is named after a perfume.

B. 'Shatoyant' is a purposeful mispelling of shatoiant, which means a glossy sheen. I spelled it the way it sounded and would be the easiest to remember how to spell.

B. 'Sophie's Choice' is named for its mother 'Sophie Cecile' and for the movie Sophie's Choice.

B. 'Stormy Night' has a black leaf and was named on a very stormy night.

B. 'Tea Set' has cupped leaves.

B. 'S. Thompson' is a play off my own name. My middle initial is S. so when you put the b in front for Begonia you get B. S. Thompson.

B. 'Vegas Nights' is covered with large white spots.

B. 'Wonderful' got its name because when we were looking at it for the first time someone said they liked that one wasn't it wonderful. So 'Wonderful' it is. A story about it. I put together a display for a show and this women points to that plant and said what's the name of that plant it's wonderful. I said yes it is.


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