Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants

WikiProject Plants

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WikiProject Plants
Flower, Common Perenial Gaillardia -Arizona Sun- Flipped - nekonomania
Scientific classification
Superdomain: Neomura
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom Plantae
Project information
Founded: 20 August 2004
Participants: Active Editors
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Main page: WikiProject Plants
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Some Wikipedians have formed a project to better organize information in articles related to plants. This page and its subpages contain their suggestions; it is hoped that this project will help to focus the efforts of other Wikipedians. If you would like to help, please inquire on the talk page and see the to-do list. To join the project, add your username to the list at WikiProject Plants/Participants or just jump in.



This table will update once per day, alternatively: Force update.

Scope and goals


This WikiProject aims primarily to describe all plants, that is, all species and natural hybrids belonging to the kingdom Plantae. This project's scope also includes notable artificial hybrids and cultivars, botanists and botany-related articles.


  1. Describe all ranks and notable clades (particularly orders, families, genera, species, and natural hybrids) of the kingdom Plantae.
  2. For species, natural hybrids, and notable artificial hybrids and cultivars, describe botanical properties, distribution, usage (medicine, food, etc.), botanical history, cultivation information, and common names.
  3. Develop and implement a robust method of naming plant articles for the ease of navigation and searching for Wikipedia users.
  4. Maintain Category:Plants and its subcategories.

WikiProject family tree


This WikiProject is an offshoot of WikiProject Tree of Life:



Open tasks


  Media related to Unidentified plants at Wikimedia Commons



New articles


Article alerts


Did you know

Featured list candidates

Good article nominees

Articles to be merged

Articles to be split

Articles for creation



For the criteria used in assessing articles for this project, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Assessment#Quality scale. It is important to rate the quality of articles correctly; the number of Stub-class articles shown in the Statistics table near the top of this page is much larger than the number of articles which are actually stubs. It appears that editors who expand stubs often forget to alter the quality rating. Stubs are by far the largest class of en:wikipedia plant articles, represented in red in bar below.

  • 2.9% List-Class
  • 64.4% Stub-Class
  • 26.5% Start-Class
  • 4.9% C-Class
  • 1% B-Class
  • 0.2% GA-Class
  • 0.1% FA-Class
  • 0.1% remaining

Article advice


Plant article naming conventions


These are now explained at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora) (and Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Animals, plants, and other organisms).

Monotypic plant taxa have not always been treated consistently; see WP:MONOTYPICFLORA. A brief summary is "use the lowest principal rank, but no lower than genus, unless the genus name needs disambiguating, in which case use the species".

Discuss taxa not names


Plant articles about groups of plants (taxa) are about the plants, not about the name of the group, and the opening of the article should reflect this (see WP:REFERS).


  • Lambertia formosa, commonly known as mountain devil, is a shrub of the family Proteaceae, ...
  • Cucurbita (Latin for gourd) is a genus of herbaceous vine in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, ...
  • The Marsileaceae are a small family of ...
  • The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family ...
  • Elms are deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae.


  • Cucurbita (Latin for gourd) is the name of a genus of herbaceous vine in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, ...
  • Marsileaceae is the name of a small family of ...

The MoS at WP:BEGIN says that where possible "the page title should be the subject of the first sentence." So an article at the scientific name should begin with the scientific name; an article at the English name should begin with the English name.



Redirect pages should be created from at least all regularly used synonyms and English names, including alternative styling of English names, such as the use of capital letters, hyphens or apostrophes. (As of May 2014 the Wikimedia software automatically finds alternative capitalizations when these are typed into the search box but not when used as wikilinks. Although the policy of the English Wikipedia is to use lowercase for the English names of organisms, there are still many articles which don't. Thus there should be a redirect from Golden Bladderwort as well as from Golden bladderwort.)

See the Categorization of Redirects section for more information.

Singular and plural with the names of taxa


Some facts are not disputed:

  • The botanical name of a taxon higher than genus (i.e. from subtribe upwards) is plural in Latin.
  • A genus name (and hence a species or infraspecies name) is singular in Latin.
  • The botanical names of taxa are treated as proper nouns (noun phrases for species and below) in English, as is shown by capitalization, for example.

After a lengthy discussion it is clear that there is no consensus, neither in reliable sources nor among members of this WikiProject, as to whether the grammatical number of the taxon name in Latin should be followed when writing in English. Accordingly, either may be used; for example, an article about a family may begin in either of the following ways:

  • Asparagaceae is a family ... It is/has ...
  • The Asparagaceae are a family ... They are/have ...

(The use of "the" follows the standard English grammatical pattern for proper nouns: "the" is required with those that are of plural form, e.g. "the United States", "the Netherlands", "the Smiths", but is usually omitted with those that are of singular form, e.g. "England", "John Smith", although there are exceptions.)

Common names


For the use of common names as article titles, see WP:Naming conventions (flora).

Sourced common names used in English are to be included in taxon articles. Names that are genuinely widespread and familiar should be mentioned in the lead paragraph.

The use of botanical names as common names


In some cases, the genus name has become the common name for a group of plants, particularly in a horticultural context. These cases include:

  • Using the common name for the genus as a whole, e.g. "hostas", "cannas".
  • Using the common name for only part of the genus, e.g. "pelargoniums", "rhododendrons" (as opposed to "azaleas").
  • Using the common name in a way that does not correspond to current genus boundaries at all, e.g. "geraniums".

Such uses should be explained in the lead, e.g. "Hosta is a genus of plants commonly known as hostas..." When a common name and a spelled-alike genus name refer to different groups this needs to be made very clear.

The singular of one of these common names is easily confused with an incorrectly formatted genus name and should be avoided as far as possible. When the plural means something like "those species and cultivars of the genus which are in cultivation" its use is more acceptable, as in "Hostas are widely cultivated, being particularly useful in the garden as shade-tolerant plants" meaning "Species and cultivars of Hosta are ..."

"A" or "an" with "herb..."


Dialects of English differ in whether they pronounce the "h" in words like "herb", "herbaceous", etc. Accordingly they differ in whether they use "an" (e.g. most US dialects) or "a" (e.g. most UK dialects). Experience shows that using either "a" or "an" in these circumstances leads to endless back-and-forth edits. Some ways to avoid such problems are:

  • use an adjective rather than a noun: X is herbaceous rather than X is a/an herbaceous plant
  • put another word between: X is a perennial herbaceous plant rather than X is a/an herbaceous perennial plant
  • use the plural: Herbs are ... rather than A/An herb is ...

"Synonyms" of scientific names


Citation needed


Whenever a list of synonyms appears in a taxobox, a citation needs to be given to support the statement that these are synonyms. This will almost always be a single citation; it is not appropriate to accumulate a list of "synonyms" from multiple sources, since the separate sources may not be compatible with one another. In rare cases, it may be necessary and acceptable to include more than one citation, for example, if the synonym reference contains a misspelling, then a citation could be added that discusses the correct spelling.

Appropriate citations


There is as yet no single best source to cite for synonym lists for all plant taxa. The most appropriate source may be an authoritative monograph or flora, but assessing that type of publication requires care, and usually requires specialist knowledge. Databases are being developed outside Wikipedia to bring together summaries of the most thorough taxonomic work on all plant species, and these often provide suitable synonym lists.

  1. Plants of the World Online (POWO): actively updated as of April 2024. Don't use for pteridophytes as per WP:PLANTS/PPG – use World Ferns.
  2. World Ferns: based on PPG I but with regular updates.
  3. World Flora Online. World Flora Online replaces The Plant List, but continues some of its faults; for example as of 16 April 2024 it gave both Rosmarinus officinalis (here) and Salvia rosmarinus (here) as accepted names with separate entries. The records are stated to be derived from WCSP (now obsolete) on different dates. POWO correctly identifies these as synonyms.
  4. USDA GRIN Taxonomy: superb reference for agriculturally important crops and weeds, but as of 2014 the taxonomy is not being updated as rapidly as in the other databases
  5. Algaebase: for green algae
  6. Don't use The Plant List (TPL): it was last updated in 2013 and is now obsolete; it drew a subset of its information from other databases and has compilation errors that do not accurately represent those databases.

Note: IPNI: (seed plants and lycophytes) is not an appropriate source for synonym lists (or species lists) because it aims to list all published names regardless of taxonomy; similarly, Australian Plant Name Index (APNI) is also not an appropriate source for a synonym list; rather, it aims to list all published opinions on synonymy. Tropicos also lists published opinions on synonymy and acceptance and doesn't endorse any single taxonomic point of view.

What to include


It is desirable to discuss and fully disambiguate many of the large number of names found in botanical or gardening reference works that appear to be scientific names of plants, but synonym lists in publications often contain many elements that are not synonyms as the term is used in the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, and these lists can be both difficult to interpret and confusing. The following approach is suggested:

  1. The taxobox synonyms area (the synonyms parameter of the Automatic taxobox and Speciesbox templates) should be reserved for two kinds of names that are usefully considered to be synonyms of the taxon name used on the Wikipedia page:
    1. Names that are heterotypic synonyms as defined by the Code of Nomenclature, and
    2. Validly published names of a different rank that have the same type (specimen) as the taxon name used on the Wikipedia page, are well-known, and don't have their own page.
  2. A section of the text area of the page could be used to explain interesting or difficult aspects of nomenclature. This section could be called Taxonomic history or Nomenclatural history.
  3. For taxonomic (heterotypic) synonyms, which are synonyms only in the opinion of a particular author or authors, it is important to include one or more citations to the source(s) of these taxonomic opinions (the synonyms_ref parameter of the taxobox templates can be used for this).
  4. For nomenclatural (homotypic) synonyms, which involve the same type (specimen) and are less debatable, it is also desirable to include a citation to the source(s) from which this information was obtained.
For example
  • Cedrus libani var. brevifolia Hook.f. could be discussed on the Cedrus libani page as a case of debatable taxonomic placement, and also listed as a synonym in the taxobox on the page for Cedrus brevifolia.
  • Banksia latifolia var. minor Maiden & Camfield could be listed in the taxobox as a synonym of Banksia oblongifolia (or as a synonym of Banksia oblongifolia var. minor if a page about that variety were created).
  • The tribe Amygdaleae could be listed as a synonym of subfamily Amygdaloideae (a homotypic synonym at a different rank).
The synonym list would include synonyms of subordinate taxa

This is because in a Wikipedia taxobox (as in many other reference works) homotypic and heterotypic synonyms are not distinguished. For example, if a single cited source states that :

  • Spiraea densiflora Nutt. ex Greenm. is a synonym of Spiraea splendens Baumann ex K. Koch var. splendens and
  • Spiraea arbuscula Greene is a synonym of Spiraea splendens Baumann ex K. Koch var. rosea (A. Gray) Kartesz & Gandhi

then the taxobox would list both Spiraea densiflora Nutt. ex Greenm. and Spiraea arbuscula Greene as synonyms of Spiraea splendens.

Some cases to exclude from the taxobox (an incomplete list)
  • Misidentifications would not appear in a synonym list, and often would not require mention. For example:
    • Crataegus pubescens Steud. nom. illeg. and Crataegus gracilior J.B.Phipps are very commonly misapplied to Crataegus mexicana DC., but if that situation is rectified it may no longer warrant discussion.
  • Names that do not satisfy the technical definition of a botanical name, and uncorrected forms, would be excluded:
    • Orthographic variants can be handled by redirects to the page with the correct spelling, and should not require any mention on the page. For example:
      • Pereskia opuntiaeflora, the original spelling used by de Candolle, could redirect to Pereskia opuntiiflora, the corrected spelling specified by the code of nomenclature (article 60.8).
      • Populus section Aegiros, a common misspelling, could redirect to Populus section Aigeiros.
    • Nom. inval. or nom. nud. signals a name that was not validly published as a botanical name. Few of these have become well known without being validated by a later publication, but a small number are well known, and these may warrant discussion. For example:
      • Crataegus macracantha Lodd. need not be listed; the validated name is written as Crataegus macracantha Lodd. ex Loudon or Crataegus macracantha Loudon.
      • Subfamily Prunoideae Burnett was not validly published because Burnett compiled a list of comments about the (group at the rank now considered to be a) subfamily but did not provide text that qualifies as a description, according to the requirements of our modern codes of nomenclature (and he did not provide a diagnosis or refer to a previous description).
    • Certain names published in suppressed works (opera oppressa) are considered invalid, and do not belong in the taxobox. It may be useful to discuss some of these in the page text. For example:
      • Michel Gandoger earned some renown for publishing a vast number of species names in the genus Rosa in his suppressed work Flora Europae terrarumque adjacentium. It could be helpful to discuss these with Rosa canina, which is sometimes noted as a species that caused taxonomic confusion.
  • Nom. rej. and/or Nom. illeg. can signal a name that has not satisfied some of the rules of the code of nomenclature. Nom. rej. can also indicate names that have been explicitly rejected (articles 14 and 56). Some such names may be best omitted, and others may justify detailed explanation. For example:
    • On a page about the genus Hierochloë R. Br., it might be desirable to discuss Savastana Schrank, Torresia Ruiz & Pav., and Disarrenum Labill. These names are rejected in favour of Hierochloë, but a different taxonomy could consider them to be separate from Hierochloë, in which case they are valid and legitimate botanical names.

Trade designations


In addition to a unique cultivar name (regulated by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants), many cultivated plants have "selling names" or "marketing names"; the ICNCP calls these "trade designations". Trade designations are not regulated by the ICNCP; they are often different in different countries and can change over time. The ICNCP states that "trade designations must always be distinguished typographically from cultivar, Group and grex epithets." They should never be set in single quotes. Some are also registered trade marks (which cultivar names never are). There is currently no consensus as to how to represent trade designations in Wikipedia.

The template {{tdes}} can be used; one advantage is that if a consensus is reached in future, consistency will be easy to achieve.

  • The RHS uses a different font face. This is the default for {{tdes}}. ''S. vulgaris'' {{tdes|Ludwig Spaeth}}Syringa vulgaris Ludwig Spaeth.
  • An alternative different font face can be produced using ''S. vulgaris'' {{tdes|Ludwig Spaeth|roman}}Syringa vulgaris Ludwig Spaeth. However, the font will only be noticeably different if the main text is in a sans-serif font.
  • The ICNCP specifies use of a different font face, and illustrates this with use of small capitals. ''S. vulgaris'' {{tdes|Ludwig Spaeth|smallcaps}}S. vulgaris Ludwig Spaeth. Small capitals are generally disliked in Wikipedia.
  • Plain text can be used, making clear the nature of the name. It is still useful to mark the name in the source as a trade designation. ''S. vulgaris'' 'Andenken an Ludwig Späth' is often sold as {{tdes|Ludwig Spaeth|plain}}S. vulgaris 'Andenken an Ludwig Späth' is often sold as Ludwig Spaeth.

Categorization of Articles


There are a number of standard categories that involve WP:PLANTS and that should be added to a plant article or redirect:

For the categorization of redirects using "R templates", see below.

Most articles on higher taxa already exist. For new articles on genera and species, put the article in at least the following categories (replacing capitalized words by actual names):

New genus articles

  • Normally [[Category:FAMILY]] but may be higher for small families (e.g. [[Category:ORDER]] or [[Category:CLADE]]) or lower for large families or the APG3 "lumped" families (e.g. [[Category:SUBFAMILY]]).
  • Normally [[Category:FAMILY genera]] but may be higher for small families (e.g. [[Category:ORDER genera]] or [[Category:CLADE genera]]) or lower for large families (e.g. [[Category:SUBFAMILY genera]]).

New species articles

  • Normally [[Category:GENUS|SPECIES]] but may be higher for small genera (e.g. [[Category:FAMILY]]).
  • [[Category:Plants described in YEAR]] where YEAR is the year of first description, regardless of later changes of name (see WP:PLANTS/Description in year categories).

Categorization of Redirects


R templates for redirects not involving monotypic taxa


Redirect pages involving the scientific names of plants should be placed into a "redirect category" using an appropriate "R template" as shown in the table below, unless the redirect is concerned with the accepted names of monotypic taxa. "Scientific name" is here interpreted broadly as meaning "Latin name", which may or may not be a valid taxonomic synonym.

Scientific name English name
From Scientific name {{R from alternative scientific name|plant}}* {{R from scientific name|plant}}*
English name {{R to scientific name|plant}}* See {{R template index}}

* Subcategorizing the redirect as a plant makes access and maintenance via the appropriate category easier.


R templates for redirects involving monotypic taxa


Where monotypic taxa are involved, there will be change of rank. There are two cases:

These redirects should also be categorized by taxon rank – see WP:PLANTS/Categorization#Monotypic taxa.

Other useful R templates

  • {{Redr|from other capitalisation}} - for redirects from one capitalization of the English name of a taxon to another



WikiProject Plants has a number of components, these include taxa, botanical topics, and botanists. When describing taxa with authorities, the authorities should be checked against the List of botanists by author abbreviation, and if necessary, added. Authorities should be linked, and if red linked, consideration should be given to creating a biographical page. Wikipedia has no specific criteria for botanists, although it has for scientists in general. In most cases recognising an author by linking their name to a species as an authority is a form of notability, and any requests for deletion should be directed to this section.

Botanist biography pages should at a minimum contain the following, the {{infobox scientist}} and {{botanist}} templates (the latter in turn creates a Reference to "Author Query" at the International Plant Names Index), a list of publications, including the ones that give them botanical authority status, and links to taxa they named, or are named in their honour. The botanist template will also generate a category (Category:Botanists with author abbreviations). In the Talk page the use of the {{WikiProject Plants|class=|importance=|botanist=yes}} template will link it to the project.

Carl Linnaeus can be used as a model for a Good Article of a botanist biography.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden has provided a centralized guide for editing and creating biographical articles for botanists.

Reviewers & Editors


Please always verify (and link where possible) the author abbreviations in the taxobox. (I have been working through the contributions of Joseph Dalton Hooker and all too often I find him abbreviated as Hook. f. rather than Hook.f.. See for example, Ascarina lucida, which had at that point 47 edits, and yet the author name remained unlinked and incorrect.) MargaretRDonald (talk) 21:13, 19 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]




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