Scientific names

All species have scientific names. What use is there to learn that wood anemone is also called Anemone nemorosa?

Imagine taking a walk in a beautiful forest with a Swedish friend and you want to tell him or her how beautiful the forest is in the spring with the wood anemone colouring the ground white. Wood anemone is called ”vitsippa” in Swedish, which of course you do not know, but if both of you know some scientific names of plants you can talk as much as you like about the beauty of nature.

The twinflower (Linnaea borealis)
is called linnéa in Swedish. Here
from a Japanese flora.

In books about animals and plants the scientific names are most often included, in whatever language the book is written. This makes us able to read a flora in Japanese or Russian and be sure that the picture shows a wood anemone. The scientific names help people from different countries to communicate. One will not reach far only knowing for example Swedish. There are 250 000 species of flowering plants in the world, but only about 5000 of them have Swedish names.

Scientific names are often called Latin names, however many of the names have a Greek origin, for example from Greek mythology.

Last modified: 2021-11-25