How to punctuate plant names
- April 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm #29005
Can anyone offer some clarification on how to punctuate plant names? For instance, is the botanical name always (or never) capitalized? Is the cultivar capitalized or in quotation marks (or both)?
Thank you in advance. This is driving me crazy!April 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm #29355
OK, I’ve answered part of my question, which is that AP style says you capitalize the first word of a botanical name and lowercase the rest, but I’m still wondering about cultivars.April 14, 2010 at 12:53 am #29356
Scientific names consist of two words, the genus and the species epithet (think of the second word as the describer). Many unrelated plants can share the same species epithet (description, ie. macrophylla which means big-leaved) but only plants very closely related to each other share the genus. Both the genus and species epithet should be written in italics. The genus should be capitalized and the species epithet is written in all lowercase. Specific populations of plants will have further designations. For example: forma (abbreviated f.), variety (var. or v.), cultivar (which stands for cultivated variety). The cultivar name should not be italicized, but it is capitalized and in single quotes. So an example of appropriate punctuation would be:
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Hadspan Cream’April 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm #29359
Thanks Leslie … I knew you’d know!April 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm #29360
I have a pair of articles on the blog about botanical Latin that might be a good primer, if you can stay awake long enough. :)
The one that includes the punctuation, so to speak:
The one that tells what some of the second words (the specific epithets, or species names, mean…etc.):
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