About Scientific Names

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The scientific names used by the Theodore Payne Foundation are in accordance with the The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California, edited by James C. Hickman, third printing with corrections 1996 (Jepson). Jepson provides a collected snapshot of the recognized scientific names for the California flora at the time of publication. Scientific names change regularly, for instance, Zauschneria is now Epilobium and Mahonia is now Berberis. Name changes occur as a result of scientific study and the publication of reports and analyses in various publications between the release of new Jepson editions. These name changes can become recognized and well-accepted before the next Jepson is published. For example, the genera Yucca has been changed to Hesperoyucca. This change is now appearing in popular publications even though Jepson has not yet published an update. The Theodore Payne Foundation typically maintains the names published in the most current edition of Jepson, and adopts name changes when a new edition has been published. Exceptions are noted under descriptions for individual species.

The naming convention used in this library is:

  • Genera
    • species
    • subspecies or cultivar

For instance, the Coast Redwood would be listed as:

  • Sequioa
    • sempervirens
      • sempervirens

The non-bold faced type would be the hyperlink to the plant description. Why the doublespeak (Sequioa sempervirens sempervirens)? To help differentiate the species from other subspecies or cultivars that have unique identifying characteristics(such as Sequioa sempervirens 'Aptos Blue' or Ribes aureum aureum from Ribes aureum gracillimum).

The Jepson Herbarium