The Botanic Garden Label Explained
Here are two examples of our labels used around the garden.
Why do we use Latin?
Latin is used by the scientific community around the world, it’s a shared language. Visit a Botanic Garden in Russia, China, France, Japan - anywhere, and you'll find our labels are the same. Imagine trying to learn the common/local name for some of the plants in our garden, the Monkey Puzzle for example, is know as "Apenboom" or "Chileense Slangenden" (Netherlands), "Araucaria", "Pehuén", "Pino de Brazos" (Spain), "araucaria del Cile", "pino del Cile" (Italy), "désespoir des singes" [trans = "monkeys despair"] (France), and here in the UK as well as "Monkey Puzzle" it’s also known as the "Chile Pine" or "Joseph Bank's Pine", and its not even a pine ! - Araucaria araucana is it’s chosen Latin/scientific name and everyone in Botanic Gardens around the world knows it as that.
What’s on our label?
- The numbers in the top left of each label refers to our records. Each new plant is given a four digit number, followed by a further two on the end which corresponds to the year that we received it.
- The next line, top right, is the family the plant belongs to (Araceae=Arum Family; Rosaceae=Rose Family...)
- The first line in the middle is the Genus name, followed by species on the next line. Sometimes there may be no species, or it may not be fully named and simply called Genus sp.
- The next lines after these may contain sub-species, written ssp.-------, a variety or form written in 'inverted comma's' .
- Common names may follow, these are usually written ( in brackets ).
- The bottom right is the country the plant originates from, it may be just one place in a country, i.e. mountains, one country or within a range of countries.
- Sometimes we may write a collectors number in the bottom left corner. This is a number a collector gave the plant on a collecting expedition, and helps keep track of any plants and any later name corrections.