The letter “S” starts off the names of many delicious herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables. It also heads a few beautiful flowers, some mighty trees, and the occasional shrub.
Read on to find out a bit more about some botanical favorites beginning with “S”. Then make sure to check out our list of beautiful flowers that start with S for more inspiration.
Plants Starting with S – Quick Look
- Spider Plant
- Sweet Potato
- Satin Pothos
- Sea Grape
- Scarlet Pimpernel
- Smoke Tree
- Shooting Star
- Solomon’s Seal
- St. John’s Wort
- Skunk Cabbage
- Sycamore Tree
- Sweet Pea
- Common Name(s): Sunflower
- Scientific Name: Helianthus
- Native to: The Americas
Named after the sun not just for their appearance, these flowers exhibit a trait called heliotropism, meaning their faces track the sun throughout the day.
The seeds of the sunflower make a great snack that’s full of nutrients. Most sunflowers are grown to make oil that is used in cooking the world over.
- Common Name(s): Sumac
- Scientific Name: Rhus
- Native to: Subtropical and temperate regions worldwide
The dried and ground ‘red drupe’ fruit of sumac makes a delicious spice with a unique lemon taste that is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes.
3. Spider Plant
- Common Name(s): Spider plant, Spider ivy, Ribbon Plant, Hen and Chickens
- Scientific Name: Chlorophytum comosum
- Native to: Tropical southern Africa
You’ve almost certainly seen one of these before, as they have become immensely popular as a potted houseplant. This is because they are easy to grow and thrive in a range of climates.
- Common Name(s): Strawberry
- Scientific Name: Fragaria × ananassa
- Native to: France
The first half of the strawberry’s name comes from the fact that it needed so much mulch that it was often surrounded by straw.
As for the second half, it’s untrue. Technically, they aren’t berries at all, as berries should have seeds inside rather than on the surface.
5. Sweet Potato
- Common Name(s): Sweet potato
- Scientific Name: Ipomoea batatas
- Native to: Tropical regions of the Americas
Though associated with both, sweet potatoes are only distantly related to potatoes and are in an entirely different order to yams.
They are popular in cuisine across Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States and New Zealand.
- Common Name(s): Spicebush, Common spicebush, Northern spicebush, Wild allspice, Benjamin bush
- Scientific Name: Lindera benzoin
- Native to: Eastern North America
These bushes love to grow in rich woodland, so the sight of them is often taken as a sign of good agricultural land.
- Common Name(s): Self-heal, Heal-all, Woundwort, Heart-of-the-earth, Carpenter's herb, Brownwort, Blue curls
- Scientific Name: Prunella vulgaris
- Native to: Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America
Although many plants are grown and used for their healing properties, this particular one earned itself a name for it. It’s been used in remedies worldwide, especially for sore throats.
- Common Name(s): Senna
- Scientific Name: Senna
- Native to: The tropics
These shrubs can become rather tall and are often grown ornamentally. Cassia gum is also extracted from the plant and used as a thickening agent in the food industry.
9. Satin Pothos
- Common Name(s): Satin pothos, Silver vine
- Scientific Name: Scindapsus pictus
- Native to: South-East Asia
With their large matte green leaves and silvery splotches, these climbers make an excellent potted houseplant.
- Common Name(s): Squash
- Scientific Name: Cucurbita
- Native to: The Andes and Mesoamerica
Before food storage, squash was an excellent choice as a crop as the winter variety can last months on the shelf and is packed full of vitamin A.
- Common Name(s): Snowdrop
- Scientific Name: Galanthus
- Native to: Europe and the Middle East
These beautiful little white flowers appear towards the end of long winters and are regarded as the symbol of spring arriving.
12. Sea Grape
- Common Name(s): Sea grape, Baygrape
- Scientific Name: Coccoloba uvifera
- Native to: Coastal Americas and the Caribbean
This fun plant has many uses. The tree is planted ornamentally, but its presence can also help stabilize coastal areas. When it bears fruit, it can be made into a tasty jam or eaten directly from the tree.
13. Scarlet Pimpernel
- Common Name(s): Scarlet pimpernel, Red pimpernel, Red chickweed, Poor man's barometer, Poor man's weather-glass, Shepherd's weather glass, Shepherd's clock,
- Scientific Name: Anagallis arvensis
- Native to: Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa
These flowers come in a wide array of colors. As you might guess from its many alternative names, it reacts to the weather. If the sun shines, it is fully open and will sometimes close up completely in overcast weather.
14. Smoke Tree
- Common Name(s): Smoke tree, Smokebush
- Scientific Name: Cotinus
- Native to: Temperate northern hemisphere
These bushes are so named for the fluffy gray growth over them that makes it appear as though they are surrounded by smoke.
15. Shooting Star
- Common Name(s): Shooting Star, Eastern shooting star
- Scientific Name: Primula meadia
- Native to: Eastern North America
These flowering plants are part of the primrose family. Their beautiful pink flowers are often cultivated in rock gardens.
16. Solomon’s Seal
- Common Name(s): Solomon’s seal, King Solomon’s seal
- Scientific Name: Polygonatum
- Native to: The temperate Northern Hemisphere
The Latin scientific name of the plant means “many knees.” The name “Solomon’s seal” may be because the roots have small indents that look like royal seals, or because the cut roots might resemble Hebrew characters.
- Common Name(s): Spinach
- Scientific Name: Spinacia oleracea
- Native to: Iran
Spinach is best eaten or frozen straight away, as it begins to quickly use its nutrients from day 1 once it’s harvested.
18. St. John’s Wort
- Common Name(s): St. John’s wort
- Scientific Name: Hypericum perforatum
- Native to: Europe, western Asia, and North Africa
St. John’s Wort can be found in any health food shop as a herbal remedy for low mood or anxiety.
19. Skunk Cabbage
- Common Name(s): Skunk cabbage, Western skunk cabbage, Yellow skunk cabbage, American skunk cabbage, Swamp lantern
- Scientific Name: Lysichiton americanus
- Native to: North America
As you may have already guessed, this plant emits an unpleasant ‘“skunky” odor when in bloom. It can be found in swamps and wet woods across the Pacific Northwest.
- Common Name(s): Snow-in-Summer
- Scientific Name: Cerastium tomentosum
- Native to: Alpine Europe
This flowering plant can cover areas in felt-like silver foliage and is happy in poor soils, making it a popular choice for rock gardens.
- Common Name(s): Shallot
- Scientific Name: Allium cepa
- Native to: Asia
A cultivar of the more common onion, shallots are less pungent than their counterpart and their aromatic flavor is a welcome addition to many dishes.
22. Sycamore Tree
- Common Name(s): Sycamore Tree, American sycamore, American planetree, Western plane, Occidental plane, Buttonwood, Water beech
- Scientific Name: Platanus occidentalis
- Native to: North and Central America
These are some of the fastest-growing shade trees, with some recorded to have gained an extra 6 feet of height in under a year. The trees themselves can easily stand for hundreds of years.
23. Sweet Pea
- Common Name(s): Sweet pea
- Scientific Name: Lathyrus odoratus
- Native to: Sicily, southern Italy, and the Aegean Islands
This isn’t a plant for eating, despite the name as the peas it produces are toxic in larger quantities. Instead, sweet peas are cultivated for the pleasing pastel-colored flowers they produce.
- Common Name(s): Sassafras
- Scientific Name: Sassafras
- Native to: Eastern North America and eastern Asia
This tree’s claim to fame is as the traditional root beer flavor. The ground-up leaves were part of the root beer recipe until it was found to be harmful to health.
Root beer now usually contains a blend of vanilla, molasses, licorice, and anise.
- Common Name(s): Sage, Common sage
- Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis
- Native to: The Mediterranean region
Like many delicious herbs, sage’s origin can be traced back to the Mediterranean region and is hugely important in Italian, Balkan, and Middle Eastern cuisine.