Glossary of Plant- related words

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December 10th 2021
Published: January 17th 2022
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■phytotherapy : herbal medicine

■Officinal plants : plants that are used in medicinal preparations

■specific binomial : Two scientific names for a plant, based on Latin or Greek words. The first uses the genus name and the second uses the specific epithet. The two names together define the species. These are usually written in italics or underlined

■genus: a group of closely related species or plants within a family that have more characteristics in common with one another than other plants of the same family,

■genus name: the first part of the scientific name for a specific plant. This name is usually capitalised, eg Achillea

■specific epithet : the second part of the scientific name. This may describe a plant characteristic, the location where it was found or the person who discovered it. This name is always written in lowercase, even if the name is a proper noun eg millefolium, which describes the characteristic of the plant being a thousand leaves

■plant species : individuals which do not successfully interbreed with individuals of other groups. They are comprised of the Genus + Specific Epithet, eg Achillea millefolium.

■the author of the species : This is the 'Authority' or a person who is credited with the first formal use of the name. It is written after the full version of the scientific name

■common name : these are not capitalised unless a word is a proper noun, eg Florida pondweed

■the distribution area/ range: the geographical area within which the species can be found

■taxonomy : the science of identifying, classifying and naming organisms

■Species Plantarum : a book published in 1753, by Carl Linnaeus, which lists every species of plant known at the time. It established a 'binomial' system for naming plants, what we now know as 'scientific' naming

■Carl Linnaeus : A Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist and physician

■Zoologist : an expert in, or a student of the behaviour, physiology, classification and distribution of animals

■Taxonomist : a biologist that groups organisms into categories

■Botanist : an expert in, or a student of the scientific study of plants

■Pharmacopoeia : an official publication containing a list of medical drugs with their effects and their directions for use


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