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, some species in the genera Yucca have 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 (ssp.), variety (var.) or 'Cultivar'

The non-bold faced type would be the hyperlink to the plant description.

Subspecies and variety names are part of the scientific designation of the plant, while the cultivar name is a popular designation denoting selection of a specimen for certain traits. Cultivar names are always represented in standard font, not italics, and in single quotes. Unfortunately, we have not mastered font controls in Wikipedia yet. As a result, some names that should be italic are not and some names that should not be italic are. Hopefully we will figure this out. When we do, text will be corrected appropriately.

The Jepson Herbarium