Botanical Name

Last Updated: December 30, 2018

Definition - What does Botanical Name mean?

The botanical name of a plant is the scientific Latin name identifying the genus and the specific species. The reason this is done in horticulture is because while the Latin or scientific name of a plant never varies, the local common name sometimes does.

Botanical name may also be known as scientific name.

MaximumYield explains Botanical Name

An example is Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, the botanical name of the common coralberry. Symphoricarpos is the genus and orbiculatus is the specific species or variety. It does not matter where you go in the world or whatever language may be spoken there; if you mention the botanical name any horticulturalist will know exactly what plant you are referring to.

This is important because there are so many regional variants of the common name. In Wisconsin for example, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is known as purple coralberry, while in Michigan the exact same plant is referred to as Indian current.

The botanical name clears that all up; a Symphoricarpos in Wisconsin is a Symphoricarpos in Michigan and everywhere else in the world.

In some cases all or part of a botanical name is also the established common name. A hydrangea is an example of this. The species name is almost universally also the common name while only the specific variety of the plant is subject to local vernacular.

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