Plant Names

eBook - November 2007 - eRetailers Google Books Kobo

A plain English guide to the use of plant names and the conventions for writing them.

Plant Names is a plain English guide to the use of plant names and the conventions for writing them as governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. It covers the naming of wild plants, plants modified by humans, why plant names change, their pronunciation and hints to help remember them. The final section provides a detailed guide to web sites and published resources useful to people using plant names. + Full description

The book incorporates the latest information in the most recently published Botanical and Cultivated Plant Codes, both of which are technical scientific publications that are difficult to read for all but the most dedicated botanists and horticulturists. From botanists to publishers, professional horticulturists, nurserymen, hobby gardeners and anyone interested in plant names, this book is an invaluable guide to using the potentially confusing array of scientific, commercial and common names.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.


"This is a book that will stand the test of time and is an ideal text for those to whom a good understanding of and the correct use of plant names is important."
Andrew Maloy, New Zealand Gardening Journal, 2008

"There is no equivalent publication in the English speaking world, and it has been well received by botanists."
Australian Plants Online, 2008

"A wonderful small book that should be warmly welcomed onto our bookshelves. It is packed with information . . . There is something for everyone in this book . . . In summary, I found the book to be well written, well constructed and dealing with its topic in comprehensive fashion. Everyone who reads it will learn something."
Tony Bean, Queensland Herbarium
(Australian Systematic Botany Newsletter 136, September 2008)

"Plant Names should be required reading for every practicing botanist and plantsman . . . Attractively laid out and clearly organized, with dozens of beautiful photographs illustrating everything from type specimens to nursery labels, this is the book to keep on your desk or side table where it can be looked into at any time."
John C. Manning, The Compton Herbarium, South Africa (South African Journal of Botany 75, 2009)


ePDF | November 2007
ISBN: 9780643097162
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Introduces the world of plant names in an easy-to-read style
  • A recommended format for plant labels that avoids confusion
  • An extensive resource list of books and websites to help with plant names


Foreword to the Third Edition
Introduction to the Codes of Plant Nomenclature

Part 1 – Wild Plants
Common names
Latin names, the binomial system and plant classification
The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature
The botanical hierarchy
Name changes

Part 2 – Cultigens
The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
Marketing names (trade designations)

Part 3 – Using Plant Names
Writing plant names

Part 4 – Plant Name Resources
Books and websites to help with plant names
Accurate lists of botanical names



Roger Spencer is Senior Horticultural Botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in the Plant Identification Service. He has written many popular and scientific articles on horticultural topics and books on Elms, Grey and Silver Foliage Plants, and a recent 5-volume Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia.

Rob Cross is a horticultural botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne where he works on the conservation and horticultural development of Australian plants, and has previously worked in the landscape design, garden maintenance and nursery areas of horticulture. Rob has written scientific papers, a booklet on Japanese Flowering Cherries and contributed to other horticultural books.

Peter Lumley was formerly a Senior Horticultural Botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. He was also the senior author on the two previous editions of Plant Names.