Taxonomic Information in GRIN-Global

Common Names

Presently, 67,243 common names for 22,417 taxa, including 34,366 common names of non-English origin, have been entered into GRIN-Global. To avoid the necessity of treating the multiple variations of a common name that can arise from differences in spelling, word union, or hyphenation (e.g., sugar beet, sugar-beet, or sugarbeet), we have attempted to standardize treatment of common names in GRIN-Global by adopting the conventions of Kartesz and Thieret (1991) on matters of union or hyphenation of group names and modifiers. Further decisions on joining or separating the elements of common names follow usage in Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Gove et al., 1961). These rules dictate that group names are correctly applied only to certain genera (such as rose for Rosa or vetch for Vicia) or families (e.g., grass for Poaceae). Some 619 "true group" names are provided in GRIN-Global for genera. Usage of these true group names for plants in other genera or families requires hyphenation or adjoining to preceding modifiers (such as moss-rose for Portulaca grandiflora or milk-vetch for Astragalus). General terms, such as tree, weed, or wort, that cannot be linked to any particular plant group always require adjoining or hyphenation. A few exceptions to allow usage of some true group names for more than one genus exist, such as pitcherplant for Nepenthes and Sarracenia, especially when genera have been recently dismembered, such as wheatgrass for Agropyron, Elymus, and Elytrigia.

Common names have been extracted from a variety of sources, such as floras, agronomic or horticultural works, or economic botany literature. Although some names appear in several sources, at least one source is presented in GRIN-Global for each common name. Sources are frequently indicated using GRIN-Global literature abbreviations, expansions of which can usually be found by consulting the references cited for that taxon. No effort has been made to include every locally used common name appearing in the literature; instead the focus has been to record those in wider usage. Some common names clearly in restricted use, such as those accompanying rare and endangered taxa, have been entered for reference purposes.