Interflora flowers

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.