What’s a “Drake” elm anyway?

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

We see all these elms in bonsai that have “wonderfully” descriptive names like “Catlin” or “Yatsabusa” or “Seiju” or, in this case, “Drake”. What do the names mean?

Let’s start with the binomial name: Ulmus parvifloria or the common name “Chinese elm”. That’s our baseline.

Chinese elms are, as you might guess, native to China (also Korea, Japan, Vietnam and much of Eastern Asia). Ulmus just means “elm” in Latin (for those interested, Latin is used in science when describing species because it is a dead language, meaning it’s no longer evolving due to everyday usage, i.e. the same word “cool” can mean “hot” in the vernacular, or “stoopid” meaning “cool”. You get the idea. The pronunciation of Latin is also fixed (or it should be, but not always, some examples could be, say “ficus” or “pinus”. Ficus should be pronounced “fick-us” and you’ll hear the English say it that…

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