At first glance, it might seem that “Knock Out” is the name of a racehorse, however as any gardening aficionado is sure to know that it’s a popular, hardy family of roses. Other than their beauty, it seems that roses and horses have little, if anything in common. However, they both tend to sport unusual, even outlandish monikers (ARRRRR the racehorse, anyone?)
Roses, along with all types of flowers, are bequeathed two types of names upon discovery/creation -- a Latin name and a common name. The Latin name might seem like gibberish to many people; however, the terms selected often describe specific traits of the given flower. While the Latin name is universal, the common name can vary by region, so a rose that’s named one thing in the U.S. might be totally different elsewhere. Roses are often, but not always, named after people of influence or royalty. The club isn’t as exclusive as you might think, however. In fact, new breeds of rose are being cultivated and hybridized all the time, so it’s entirely possible to track one down and commission a rose to be named after a special someone, or even yourself!
Naming a racehorse requires the owner to jump through some different types of hurdles. The Jockey Club manages the approval process for all names, and tries to make the process as seamless as possible by providing an online searchable directory of currently used names, as well as a list of names that have been recently released for use. There are a bunch of guidelines to choosing a horse name, so sometimes a “the weirder the better” philosophy is actually beneficial. Some of the rules are that you can’t name a horse after a living person without permission (First Lady Barbara Bush famously granted hers), or after a deceased person without approval of a written explanation. The name also can’t sound too much like another horse’s name, or be composed entirely of numbers, among other specifications.
Think you know your roses from your horses? Take this quiz and find out!