Introduction (Common names)

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This set of pages presents the names of crops grown in Europe in the different European languages. A "crop" can be a species or a cultivar-group within a species.

The order of presentation of languages is a tricky issue. A solution would be to put languages in alphabetic order. We prefer putting them in blocks according to language families, namely Germanic languages, Roman languages, Slavic languages and others.

The names of languages is another difficult issue. Wikipedia uses the names in the language itself, which makes sense as far as one is looking for a particular linguistic version. Within an English version of this wiki, we think it is easier to use the English names of languages.

Not all languages and dialects are included. We limit ourselves to the standard and regional names in languages which are used in trade and publications, and in the official languages of the European Union. Due to lack of sources, Macedonian, Ukrainian and Belarus have been ommitted, but can be added under Slavic languages by anybody having access to good sources.

Within diversified species, names usually apply to cultivar groups or subgroups. There is no consensus about cultivar groups, but they are very useful to sort popular names. When in several languages or several countries, two names are regularly opposed as designating two different crops (grown and used for different purposes), it is useful to distinguish them as cultivar groups. In some cases (such as in Phaseolus vulgaris), names apply to types which cannot be given cultivar group recognition, because they designate products and not taxa.

Common names

The standard names come first. After a ";", regional names are added, with mention of the area concerned, namely Austria (Au), Belgium (B), Switzerland (CH). For languages used in countries outside Europe, we thought it useful to add the names used in those countries, when they differ.

Names in languages using a non-Roman script are given first in that script and, after a "-", in a standardised translitteration or transcription. In addition, pronounciation is sometimes indicated within square brackets.

For technical details, see : Popular names of plants and How to collect and cite popular names?. Be careful that in languages with postponed article, titles usually give names with the definite article.

To see all the pages of "Common names", click on "Category:Common names" at the bottom of any such page (including this one).


This section is intended to give any detail or additional information, be it generic or language-specific. Classification of crops may differ from one language to the other, or one country to the other. So, names are not always strict equivalents in all languages, what multilingual dictionaries often ignore. In some languages and for some crops, names are not stabilised, and the best is to quote published sources. Names can also evolve through time, although these pages are not history oriented.

In general terms, multilingual dictionaries are not reliable, as they compile names in languages they ignore.

Ideally, gathering sources should come first, as they form the basis for chosing a standard or accepted name. In practice, many names are already in current use, and sources will be useful when several names are conflicting. To speed up the work, I used names:

  • already checked for my encyclopedia of food plants (to be published);
  • present in a quite reliable multilingual dictionary: Balashev L.L., 1970. Dictionary of useful plants in twenty European languages. Moscow, Nauka. 368 p. / Балашев Л.Л., 1970. Словарь полезных растений на двадсати европейских языках. Москва, Наука. 368 с.
  • found in Wikipedia pages in the relevant language, as I assume that such pages are written by native speakers having no bias, except that many names are scholarly names and not popular names. Most scholarly names can be recognized as being mere translations of Latin names of taxa.

For particular languages, I used also:

  • Borza A., 1968. Dicţionar etnobotanic cuprinzînd denumirile populare româneşti şi în alte limbi ale plantelor din România. Bucureşti, Ed. Academiei Republicii Socialiste România. 320 p. Excellent for Romanian names, also for Hungarian and German (Transylvanian Saxon) names.
  • Gennadios P.G., 1959. Lexikon Fitologikon [Botanical Lexicon]. 2nd. ed. Athens, Moskos Giourdhas. 2 vol. 1042 p. / Γεννάδιου Π.Γ., 1959. Λέξικον Φυτολόγικον. Β' ἔκδοσις. Ἀθῆναι, Μόσχου Γκιούρδα. (1st ed.: 1914). Excellent for Greek names, although the first names are scholarly or katharevoussa names, and demotic forms of names appear in a semi-learned graphical form.
  • Podbielkowski Z., 1989. Słownik roślin użytkowych. Wydanie VI. Warszawa, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Rolnice i Leśne. 529 p. Excellent for Polish and Russian names, although the first names are scholarly names.
  • Zhukovsky: Жуковский, П. М., 1971. Культурные растения и их сородичи. Издание третье. Ленинград, Колос. 751 с. [Cultivated plants and ther ancestors. 3rd ed. Leningrad, Kolos. 751 p.]
Michel Chauvet