More About Plant Names: Why Bother?

Familiarity with the different plant names, their accurate identification, and their agricultural classification are important in learning the basics of crop science.

There are various ways of assigning names to farm crops: either by common names, or by scientific names. The use of common names, also called local names, vernacular names and country names, is generally restricted to one geographical area. This area may consist of a small locality which is dominated by a certain ethnic group, or it may be an entire country.

It is noted that many common names, predominantly in English, are now used with international acceptance. Thus in many publications, the English common name is always separated from the others. But then, in the scientific world, the reliance on such plant names is always treated with hesitance, knowing that it can possibly mislead.

In general and to refresh the memory, local or vernacular names are used for ease and convenience when referring to certain plants among members of the family and local acquaintances. English common names are used as a convenient term to communicate to a greater number of individuals particularly the English speakers, as well as among members of the academe and learned circles.

To prevent misunderstanding within the scientific community, botanical names or scientific names or Latin names are now used following the binomial system of plant nomenclature that was formulated by Carl Linnaeus. This system was presented in his paper entitled Species Plantarum which was published in 1753. It became the basis of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature which was first formulated in 1935.

However, it is not enough that a student of crop science is able to memorize the different names of crops. He should also be able to identify the plant with accuracy. In addition, different crops must be distinguished according to different criteria of classification.

For more elaboration, related readings are provided below. Likewise, the links at the right column of this page provide access to internal pages on list of plants under various agricultural classifications.

Click to read:

Agricultural Crop Classifications

Common Plant Names Can Mislead

Botanical Latin Names for Farm Crops Identification

Plant Classification Based on Natural Adaptation

(Ben G. Bareja. 2011)

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