Plant botanical names
Plants receive their botanical names in order to be officially classified and organised in terms of family, genus and species.
Latin is most commonly used when designating a plant’s botanical name. Historically, this was due to the fact that Latin was an internationally recognised language and was even taught in schools. There are also a number of plants with Greek botanical names as this culture also established a classification system for naming plants.
The botanical name of a plant may be defined by the family group it belongs to, by individual physical features, or sometimes named after its discoverer.
Did you know?
- Plants can also be named after someone other than its discoverer, such as the Nepenthes attenboroughii, which is a giant pitcher plant that was discovered by three men in the Philippines and named after the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
- The very first ‘plants’ on Earth were cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, that was discovered to have lived around 3.5 billion years ago.
- There are 298,900 accepted species of plant in the world today, with 263,925 ‘unresolved’, which means they have yet to be classified.