Common names - need there be standards?

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by wcutler, Nov 30, 2022.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I take the blame for this. In my posting of plants mentioned by Douglas Justice in his December 2020 in the UBCBG garden blog, I wrote:
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    I am moving further discussion re: common names from that thread to this new thread in an appropriate forum.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    So why contradict yourself by saying it is, when you know it isn't?
     
  3. pierrot

    pierrot Active Member 10 Years

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    you could use the common name in New Zealand = Mountain Rimu
     
    Michael F likes this.
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  6. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Comment by moderator wcutler:
    Several postings below are from the thread https://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/threads/wilded-land-white-flower.103550/, are a more appropriate discussion for this thread.
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    Aka Queen Anne's Lace; blooming everywhere in my area right now. It may be a native plant where you live but is considered invasive here. "It was introduced from Europe as a medicinal herb. This biennial plant persists in clay soils and can be a threat to recovering grasslands. After going to seed the dried flower takes on a “birds’ nest” like appearance and can move like a tumble weed to help spread its seeds."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2023
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Daucus carota is native in Britain; however, its correct English name is Wild Carrot. "Queen Anne's Lace" is an unwelcome invasive American renaming, and is a damaging threat to our native culture and language.
     
  8. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Scientific plant names have been formally published according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature; often known as botanical or Latin names.

    Common names for plants are part of everyday language and can mean different things to different people (communities, professions, languages). There is no authority over common names.

    In other words, species have only one scientific name but may have several common names, or different species may have the same common name.

    Daucus carota - wild carrot, European wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace, and Queen Anne's lace
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not so in Britain; there is an authority (BSBI) for vernacular names. And Wild Carrot is the formal correct English name. Please respect our conventions and traditions, and stop pushing your own different ones on us. IMG_4527.jpg
     
  11. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    For those of us not living in Britain, using common names that deviate from what the GSBI chooses is not "pushing [our] own different ones on [you]". There is no disrespect intended. Scientific names ensure the identity of each and every plant on the planet . . . common names add whimsy and charm; as variable as the places where they grow. There should be no rules where common names are concerned because they are part of the vernacular wherever they happen to grow outside their native habitats.
     
  12. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I live in UK but cannot agree with Michael F.

    COMMON NAMES!
    Oh no!
    Here we go again.
    Michael F /Common names/People from USA will never agree.
    Michael why stir up trouble AGAIN ?

    I realise I am just an amateur but the book page shown by Michael F shows just one common name Wild carrot.
    All my UK Wild Flower book use just one main common name.
    Wild Flower reference books cannot possibly list every single common name.
    Nearly every wild flower in UK have got multiple, very old, descriptive, lovely common names...very much depending on the locality

    If Kew list Queen Anne's lace as one of the common names then I am very happy to accept that.

    Please close this thread before it gets out of hand.
    I really hate it when it gets so petty.
    ........................................................................................................
    BSBI is run by knowledgeable unpaid volunteers in the field who monitor UK wild flowers.

    Quote...
    Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland > Mapping the flora of the British Isles
    Mapping the flora of the British Isles
    The BSBI Distribution Maps Scheme
    Launched in 1950, the BSBI Maps Scheme is one of the world’s longest-running natural history distribution mapping projects.

    It is constantly updated and improved by the BSBI’s networks of volunteers, County Recorders and Referees, and it is always in use by scientists, conservationists and governmental bodies for determining the abundance, range and changes in the distribution of vascular plants and charophytes in Britain & Ireland.
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  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    But a single, agreed, clearly defined vernacular name, as used in every single UK flora textbook - and in also e.g. in UK, and American, bird books - makes everything a lot easier, particularly for the surprisingly large number of people who have mental blocks on scientific names. BSBI produce field checklists, which are of necessity, concise: they only contain the standard official English name; they don't need sci names as well, because people can be confident they know what species is meant by having a standard English name. The standard English names also have legal status, e.g. a judge dealing with a court case, will be able to know exactly what is meant when a plant is named with a standard English name.

    As for using names that deviate from ours - you may not intend disrespect, but when one is brought up to single correct names, it is very hard to see it any other way: using something different becomes a clear statement that you consider the standard name must therefore be incorrect, and that those (the BSBI committee) who chose it, were wrong to do so, due to incompetence, or lack of intelligence, or racial inability, or some other factor.
     

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