Cultivated Plant Taxonomy

Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. Cultivated plant taxonomists do, however, work with all kinds of plants in cultivation.

Cultivated plant taxonomy is one part of the study of horticultural botany which is mostly carried out in botanical gardens, large nurseries, universities, or government departments. Areas of special interest for the cultivated plant taxonomist include: searching for and recording new plants suitable for cultivation (plant hunting); communicating with and advising the general public on matters concerning the classification and nomenclature of cultivated plants and carrying out original research on these topics; describing the cultivated plants of particular regions (horticultural floras); maintaining databases, herbaria and other information about cultivated plants.

Much of the work of the cultivated plant taxonomist is concerned with the naming of plants as prescribed by two plant nomenclatural Codes. The provisions of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Botanical Code) serve primarily scientific ends and the objectives of the scientific community, while those of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (Cultivated Plant Code) are designed to serve both scientific and utilitarian ends by making provision for the names of plants used in commerce — the cultigens that have arisen in agriculture, forestry and horticulture. These names, sometimes called variety names, are not in Latin but are added onto the scientific Latin names, and they assist communication among the community of foresters, farmers and horticulturists.

The history of cultivated plant taxonomy can be traced from the first plant selections that occurred during the agrarian Neolithic Revolution to the first recorded naming of human plant selections by the Romans. The naming and classification of cultigens followed a similar path to that of all plants until the establishment of the first Cultivated Plant Code in 1953 which formally established the cultigen classification category of cultivar. Since that time the classification and naming of cultigens has followed its own path.

Read more about Cultivated Plant TaxonomyDistinctive Characteristics, Scientific and Anthropocentric Classification, Historical Development, International Association For Cultivated Plant Taxonomy, Presenting Cultigen Names, Contemporary Issues

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Cultivated Plant Taxonomy - Contemporary Issues
... Current challenges for cultivated plant taxonomists include the use of large plant name databases ways of dealing with the use of non-scientific names in commerce (known ... The ways in which the plant variation resulting from human activity is named and classified remains contentious ... The replacement of the expression “cultivated plant” with the word “cultigen” is not universally accepted ...
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Vegetable - Etymology
... vegetare (enliven), which is derived from vegetus (active), in reference to the process of a plant growing ... century, and originally applied to any plant ... the meaning of the term "vegetable" was specified to mean "plant cultivated for food, edible herb or root." The year 1955 noted the first use of the ...
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