The scientific names for plants were developed by the botanist Carl von Linné (1707-1778) to ensure a uniform assignment worldwide. He classified plants into a system based on their characteristics. Today, the binding and unambiguous names for all known plants are specified in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). As a result, plant lovers, gardeners and botanists use the same plant names! Learn everything about naming your favorite houseplants here.
What is the so-called binary nomenclature?
Botanical plant names consist of a combination of scientific terms: Latin or Greek. The process of naming plants is called plant nomenclature. Binary, because a plant name always consists of two parts - first and last name, so to speak. This is different from the German names.
Naming of plants: This is how the botanical name is composed
At least two names are assigned to each plant: The first part of the name is the genus name, which indicates the name of the genus to which the plant belongs. It is always capitalized. For example , Monstera is the generic name for Monstera.
The second part of the name refers to the species in question and is usually lowercase. Plant names provide information about various characteristics of the plant, refer to their discoverer, their location or other characteristic properties. For example Monstera deliciosa , which is due to its delicious fruit.
The different variety names, which are created, for example, by breeding, are noted with single quotation marks after them. For example Monstera deliciosa 'Thai constellation' .
Varieties, forms, subspecies, and crosses of different genera are appended to the name and denoted by various abbreviations in the name. The entire name is italicized to distinguish it from other names. A hybrid, i.e. a crossing, is marked with an x, for example. This is not written in italics!
In botany, other taxonomic categories such as family, order, class, and division are above the botanical name. They also have Latin-based names that are internationally valid. This hierarchy makes it possible to embed plants in a larger system and determine their relationship to other species.
Read botanical plant names and determine the color of the plant
Many plants already give information about the color of the leaves or flowers with their name. Pay attention to the following words at the end of the name to learn more about your houseplant:
- variegate = variegated
- album = white
- argenteum = silvery
- aureum = golden
- rubra = red
- rosea = pink
Why is the botanical name so important?
Botanical nomenclature is a common language used by scientists and plant lovers around the world to uniquely identify and share information about plants.
Plant names are subject to change
Because the evolution of plant species is an ongoing process, and new species are also continually being discovered, changes may also be made to existing names to allow for more accurate classification.
Did you know: Plants were originally classified based on their external characteristics. But modern genetic analyzes revealed that some putatively related plants belong to different genera, while others are actually more closely related than previously thought. Therefore, plants are reclassified and given new botanical names. The old ones become invalid and are considered synonyms. You can recognize it because the name has the abbreviation syn . contains.
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