A Friday treat for taxonomy buffs

I can’t match Holly’s post for cuteness, so I’ll have to settle for constructive criticism.  Below are photos that appeared in the Seattle Times earlier this week.



Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the errors in nomenclature within each caption.  (This may seem insignificantly picky, but scientific names need to be uniformly constructed to avoid confusion.)

Anyway, have fun!  Answers on Monday.

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - www.facebook.com/TheGardenProfessors "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - www.facebook.com/groups/GardenProfessors Books: http://www.sustainablelandscapesandgardens.com

6 thoughts on “A Friday treat for taxonomy buffs”

  1. hard to read the first caption but usually common names are not enclosed in quotes – same for P. vitifolia. The first Passiflora has the specific epithet capitalized – should be lower case. The hibiscus family name should also not be enclosed in quotes.

  2. You have it all wrong. Those aren’t common names, they are cultivar names 😉
    In which case everything is a-ok.

  3. The quote marks should be single not double marks for the variety. The latin name should be italicized, the variety not italicized.

  4. Oh this is horrid!!

    1st caption: The species name should NOT be capitalized. It should read Passiflora loefgreii. The common name also doesn’t need to be in quotes. Also, all these flowers are Passion Flower vines.

    2nd Caption: Same issue with the common name not needing to be in quotes.

    3rd: Malvaceae is the family in which the hibiscus fall into and would not be a valid cultivar name. Besides, cultivar sames are represent with single quotes.

    Overall, the text of these captions shouldn’t all be italicized. Only the genus and species should.

  5. The newspaper’s “house style” probably italicizes photo captions. If so, the genus and species names should be roman (if surrounding text were roman, they should be italic). Common names need neither quotes nor capitals. Cultivar names need single quotes, but I doubt that any of these are cultivar names. Family name Malvaceae should not have quotes and should be italic if the surrounding text is italic (as here), roman if the surrounding text is roman (as is usually the case).

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