Scientific names are formal, universally accepted names that obey rules and regulations for naming of plants and animals provided by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) or International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). Binomial nomenclature system is followed in which a scientific name has two parts or epithets; generic epithet and specific epithet followed by author citation (Abbreviation of the author who published the name first). Author citation is optional but often advisable. Eg: Mangifera indica Linn. for mango tree.
Why we need scientific names instead of vernacular or common names?
Limitations of common names
- An organism can have multiple common names
- Vary from country to country or within state or locality.
- Known by people of one region, language or country
- Name available for only relatively few plant and animal species
- Not universal, not regulated by any constituted authority
- Non specific and often misleading “ring worm” is not a worm. It is a fungus. Jelly fish is not a fish
- An universally accepted name and understood globally
- Each organism identified has a unique scientific name
- Scientific name seldom changes
- Scientific names are often descriptive and logical and suggest some information about animal or a plant. Example: Thunbergia grandiflora (grandiflora=large flowered)
- Scientific names are based on set of rules stipulated by ICBN and ICZN. It brings order to nomenclature (naming of organism)