Classification & Identification and Naming of Medicinal Plants


⇒ Scientific and Botanical Systems of Classification
⇒ Taxonomic Groups
  ⇒ Kingdoms
    ⇒ Divisions of Kingdom Plantae
    ⇒ Variety Versus Cultivar
    ⇒ Rules in Classification
⇒ Other Classification Systems (Operational)
  ⇒ Seasonal Growth Cycle
  ⇒ Kinds of Stems
  ⇒ Common Stem Growth Forms
⇒ Classification of Fruits
  ⇒ Botanical Classification
  ⇒ Fleshy Fruits
  ⇒ Other Operational Classifications
⇒ Classification of Vegetables
  ⇒ Life Cycle
  ⇒ Edible or Economic Parts
  ⇒ Adaptation
  ⇒ Botanical Features
⇒ Classification of Ornamental Plants
  ⇒ Herbaceous Ornamental Plants
  ⇒ Growth Cycle
    ⇒ Flowering
    ⇒ Foliage
⇒ Other Operational Classifications
  ⇒ Woody Medicinal Plants
  ⇒ Shrubs
  ⇒ Trees
  ⇒ Vines
⇒ Classification Based on Hardiness (Adaptation)

Nature is characterized by diversity. No two individuals are exactly alike. Some individuals have identical genomes (arrays of genes). However, in appearance, even clonal populations or identical twins exhibit differences. Every culture has a system for grouping individuals for a variety of practical purpose; names are attached to the groups and the component types of which they are comprised. As long as a culture remained closed to the outside world there was no problem with the culture-based nomenclature.  

However, as cultures merged with each other and plant materials were moved across cultural and geographic lines, it became necessary, for effective cross-cultural communication, to have a universal system of naming plants. This system ensured that corn, even though called maize in another culture, would have a neutral name and mean the same crop to all people.

Some superficial differences automatically place organisms into distinct classes. For example, there are plants and there are animals. In plants, some bear flowers, others do not some have broad leaves, others have narrow leaves; some bear fleshy fruits, others bear grains; and so on. These natural systems of classification are arbitrary and reflect the used human cultures have for plants. Other forms of nomenclature are based on scientific principles that have universal application. This chapter explores the origin and nature of these difference systems for grouping and naming plants.