I read a post over at Gardening While Intoxicated about the use of Latin names in gardening. I couldn't agree more to what EAL said.
The advice we get from nursery trade magazines these days is to keep it simple for the gardener. We are told that using botanical names for plants will make the customer feel intimidated and talked down to. Use common names to make the customer feel comfortable, we are told.You don't need to know the Latin names of plants to enjoy gardening, but it is nice to learn something about Latin names for the reasons you stressed. We don't over use Latin names here when talking to the customer, but we don't hide from them. Our plant signs have the common and Latin names on them. When I write an article for the paper, I always try to use the common names with the Latin names.
The trend to use only common names is an attempt to appeal to the mass audience, which apparently needs to have things made simple for them. We are a smaller garden center appealing to a smaller, more gardening astute crowd. They, and we, want the Latin names to help prevent confusion.Is it creeping zinnia or Sanvitalia procumbens. Want a tulip tree? Magnolia soulangiana or Liriodendron? Want a Redwood tree? Sequoia sempervirens or Sequoia gigantea?Latin is necessary in our trade, and besides its kind of fun.