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Botanical Names
 

Edited by: Joe Hing kwok Chu

 

According to "International Code of Botanical Nomenclature",  the scientific name of each plant species is composed of the two Latin words. This is the double naming method. This consists of a generic name and species name. The genus names are written in capital letter and the species names are written not in capital letters. The names are followed by the names of the botanists who name them. The plant names are in italics (or underlined).

 

International generic scientific name is based on the double naming method of the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus.

 

Scientific name also has the legal and scientific status, such as "Laws of Hong Kong" Chapter 96 , mentions that "the Forestry Regulations" uses scientific names for all plants and that Chinese and English names are for reference only.

 

The scientific names do not only help to facilitate memory,  they will also help learning and understanding of plants. For example, citrus that are produced in China is called Citrus sinensis (the Latin root sino i.e. China).  Pisum sativum (snow peas) the scientific name denotes that it is a cultivated species (sativus means planted).  The edible fern is called Diplazium esculentum, where the word esculentus means edible. The rhubarb plant  Rheum officinale is a medicinal plant where officinalis means the pharmacy.

 

Although we say that the botanical names or scientific names are composed of Latin words but actually they are now mixtures of Latin words, Greek words and other words from different languages. It is more appropriate to say they are composed of Latinized words.

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Last update: Oct 30, 2013; 12:15 P.m. LAH