Roystonea, the royal palms, are the most striking palms in the Caribbean, and arguably, in the world (though, granted, a talipot palm in flower comes a close second). The name of the genus was coined by Orator F. Cook, an American botanist, in 1900, in honour of Roy Stone, an American general involved in the capture of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American war.
I’ve wondered for years why Cook replaced what seemed to be a perfectly good generic name, Oreodoxa, with Roystonea…turns out that there were problems with Oreodoxa that were not easily addressed. Over the course of trying to figure that out, I started reading some of Cook’s writing. The article in which he first proposed the name1 gives fascinating insight into the state of botanical nomenclature a century ago (now there’s a subject I can imagine throngs of people being fascinated by), so I did a search on Web of Science to see what else of his I could easily find.