eBook Name : Species Plantarum

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Species Plantarum ("The Species of Plants") was first published in 1753, as a two-volume work by Carl Linnaeus. Its prime importance is perhaps that it is the primary starting point of plant nomenclature as it exists today. This means that the first names to be considered validly published in botany are those that appear in this book and his Genera Plantarum ed. 5 (1753). In the book Linnaeus listed all plants known to him, directly or from his extensive reading.The classification employed in the work allowed easy identification of plants, by placing every genus into an artificial class and order. By counting pistils and stamens, anybody, even without much knowledge of plants, was able to get to a listing of genera that the plant in question should belong to.Linnaeus gave a formal multiple-word description to each plant and an additional epithet to be used with the genus for easier reference, thus separating taxonomy from nomenclature. For example, the tomato was described (page 185) as SOLANUM caule inermi herbaceo foliis pinnatis incisis, racemis simplicibus. The given epithet was Lycopersicum.This was the first consistent use of naming structure for plants, and laid the basis for modern nomenclature. The binary name SOLANUM Lycopersicum (now rendered Solanum lycopersicum) very soon took over in usage because of its brevity, and the multiple-word definitions were no longer treated as formal names.

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