While some schoolchildren daydream about crushes during class, delicately inscribing their names in paper margins, others instead yearn to one day discover and name their own species for the cute boy at the corner desk. But they know little about the excess work involved in plant discovery. Even after discovering and confirming a new species of plant, which is trying enough itself, botanists have to submit a description in Latin -- even if they had never studied the language before -- and ensure that said description is published in a journal printed on real paper. Additionally, the group released their concerns about the impermanence of electronic publication, and will now allow official descriptions to be set in online-only journals. The botanists' abandonment of Latin is yet another opportunity for this amateur Classicist to bemoan the passing of Classical study -- but when I spoke with Jim, he really did have me convinced that it was time. Arbor ad 8 alta, raminculis sparse pilosis, trichomatis
While this scientific classification of plants may be confusing, it can also be demystified with a little explanation. We often refer to plants by their Common Name , whereas botanists and the more serious gardener will refer to them by their Botanical Name , sometimes also called their Scientific Name or Latin Name. However, this is not snobbery, or intellectual elitism. Understanding the scientific naming and classification system of plants not only removes any ambiguity when referring to a plant, but the scientific name of a plant can also give you some tremendous clues as to the nature of the plant and is cultivation requirements. Many scientific plant names are often derived from a Greek description of the nature or look of the plant, or after the person that discovered them. They are also often named after their place of origin.
What’s In A Name? Understanding Botanical or Latin Names
Botanical Latin is a technical language based on New Latin , used for descriptions of botanical taxa. Until , International Code of Botanical Nomenclature mandated Botanical Latin to be used for the descriptions of most new taxa. The names of organisms governed by the Code also have forms based on Latin.
The format for writing scientific names of animals and plants is standardized and internationally accepted. This article is the first in a series on scientific nomenclature within specific kingdoms. These codes are universal and are periodically updated by consensus. The protocol for naming species was invented in the s by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.