Last Updated: February 25, 2019

Definition - What does Species mean?

A species is a biological designation for any life form that identifies it within an established ranking system based on its physical and genetic similarities to other life forms. In botany, plants are known by their scientific name, using a system known as binomial nomenclature. This identifies groups of plants by their genus and species. For example, a Sugar Maple is known as “Acer saccharum” where the genus is Acer and the species is saccharum. It may also be identified as A. saccharum. Conventions for writing species name require that they be italicized, and that the genera (plural of genus) be capitalized and the species not be capitalized.

MaximumYield explains Species

Further subdivisions of species include subspecies, and some plants may yet be further identified by their cultivar. Other designations are established for patented and trademarked varieties of plants. Where a specific species of plant is either unknown or may refer to several within the same genus, the abbreviations “sp.” and “spp.” are used respectively. Rules for the naming and presenting of plant species can be found by reviewing the International Association for Plant Taxonomy’s (IAPT) website or printed materials. These are specifically found in Chapter III, Section 4, Article 23. The IAPT was founded in 1950 to ensure the continuity of plant names throughout the world.

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