A note on capitalization

So if you’re going to be a botanist, one thing to pay attention to is capitalization. For common names, the first letter in a list or sentence is capitalized, but otherwise only proper names are capitalized. Like so: California poppy, rattlesnake grass, and spinster’s blue-eyed Mary. Madrone would be capitalized only at the start of a sentence.

For scientific or Latin names, the species name always consists of two words – the genus name and the species name. The genus is always capitalized, and the species (and subspecies, if there is one) never are. Also, both are often italicized. So the above list would read like so: Eschscholzia californica, Briza maxima, and Collinsia sparsiflora.

1 Comment

Filed under Botany basics

One response to “A note on capitalization

  1. As a beginning amateur botanist with a new blog, thanks for pointer! The last thing I want is to confuse those who don’t know much about plants and ignore the systems people have created to make it comprehensible.

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