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Botany and Plant Sciences: Names and Taxonomy Resources

This guide identifies major information resources in botany including databases, bibliographies, handbooks, and guides.

Names and Taxonomy Resources

100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names by Diana Wells. Algonquin Books, 1997 location
A line drawing accompanies each entry. Arrangement is by common name.

Plants of the World Online from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 1,234,000 plant names, 140,400 plant descriptions, 359,300 images.

Botanical Latin: history, grammar, syntax, terminology and vocabulary by William T. Stearn. William T. Stearn, A David & Charles Book, 4th ed. 1992 location Includes a section on pronunciation. An event of appreciation for the author was held at the Linnean Society on May 23, 2002, just over one year after his death. Memorial pieces were published in Garden (Royal Horticultural Society) July/August 2001, p. 508, Taxon, Nov. 2001, pp. 1255-1276, and Watsonia, vol. 24(1), pp. 123-124, 2002. A tribute to Stearn's contributions to botany and as a librarian are found in Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners: a handbook on the origin and meaning of the botanical names of some cultivated plants, by William T. Stearn (Portland, Timber Press, 2002 reprint of c1963 edition) location. Author Brent Elliott, librarian at the Royal Horticultural Society, points out that Stearn's initial work on this book (then titled A Gardener's Book of Plant Names) was as a revision of Archibald William Smith's book published in 1963, the year after Smith died. Similarly, Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners was published in the year of Stearn's death.

Cross Name Index to Medicinal Plants by Anthony R. Torkelson. In 3 volumes. CRC Press, 1996 location A handy tool when running across variant names thought to be the same plant.

Index Nominum Genericorum (Plantarum) location 1979 and Supplementum I location (Regnum Vegetabile series, vols. 100-102, 113 1986) Plant genera around the world is listed here if it is included in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Also a source for species names. LSF
QK96 +R4 100-102, 113 Suppl. or ING database, from the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) and the Smithsonian Institution. URL is .

Plants and Their Names: a concise dictionary by R. Hyam and R. Pankhurst. Oxford University Press, 1995 location 1995 This is a dictionary of plant names, both scientific and common.

Scientific and Common Names of 7,000 Vascular Plants in the United States by Lois Brako, Amy Y. Rossman, and David F. Farr.
1995 location Names of vascular plants with a common name index and list of synonyms.

Describing Species. Practical Taxonomic Procedure for Biologists by Judith E. Winston. Columbia University Press, 1999 location An aid for those working in taxonomy. LSF QH83 W57X 1999

International Plant Names Index (IPNI) For seed plants, ferns and lycophytes. From The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Harvard University Herbaria and the Australian National Herbarium.

TROPICOS Over 1.2 million scientific names and 4 million specimen records.


Science Research Support Librarian - Life Sciences

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Rachel Sperling
Marx Science and Social Science Library