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Binomial Nomenclature

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What is Scientific Nomenclature?

MVSAT Dec 2023

Nomenclature or scientific nomenclature is the identity (name) of organisms. Without a proper nomenclature system, it is difficult to recognize where the organisms belong in the ecosystem. Nomenclature makes it possible to remember a particular organism by one or two words. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish Botanist gave the Binomial Nomenclature system to name plants and animals. Binomial Nomenclature is a Latin word meaning two naming systems. Binomial nomenclature is required in biology to unify the naming system throughout life sciences and, as a result, offer a single unique name identifier for a species across languages. Binomial Nomenclature is a systematic procedure for designating species. The nomenclature is made up of two names. A binomial name is often known as a scientific name. Thus, as per Binomial Nomenclature, plants and animals were named, depending upon two factors: species and genus.

This system is universally accepted, creates no confusion as each organism gets a unique name, and is easier to remember and understand. The article is focused on the discussion of binomial nomenclature, the rules of writing a scientific name for plants and animals. The article also provides a list of flora and fauna along with their scientific names as an example.

Rules of Writing a Scientific Name

Binomial terminology divides a species' scientific name into two parts: the generic name and the specific name (species). The taxonomic genus is considered as the generic name. A genus is a level of categorization in the classification system that is usually below the family and above the species level. It is made up of species having similar characteristics. These characteristics might be based on structural or phylogenetic similarity.

The specific name is the second component of the binomial name. The second portion is referred to as the "specific epithet" in botanical nomenclature. The second name, often known as the specific name or specific epithet, distinguishes a species from the remainder of the genus's species. A species is the fundamental unit of categorization and taxonomy level of an organism within life sciences, and also a unit of biodiversity. A species is the biggest collection of creatures in which any two individuals of the right sexes or mating types may create viable offspring. Other characteristics that can be used to identify a species include its karyotype (genetic constitution), DNA sequencing, morphology, and environmental niche.

Since we have understood the basic concept of the nomenclature and the distinction between the first and the second name in binomial nomenclature let us look into the rules of writing it. While writing the scientific name there are certain rules to be followed which are mentioned below.

  • While writing a scientific name, the genus of the organism comes first followed by the species.

For example - Genus - Homo

Species - sapiens

  • While typing a scientific name, it is always typed in Italics and if it is handwritten, it is always underlined.

  • The genus name is capitalized followed by the species name which is in lower case.

Although this protocol was established in 1700, it is periodically updated by Taxonomists. A Trinomial nomenclature is also in use these days, to give very specific names to an organism and according to this system, the genus and species are followed by the subspecies.

Example 1-

Indian Crow- common name

Corvus Splendens Splendens- Scientific Name

Example 2-

Humans common name

Homo sapiens sapiens- scientific name

Binomial Nomenclature of Plants

Plant names generally end with a plural adjective at the end which is in Latin “aceae”. The adjective used for nomenclature describes at least, the genus or the characteristics of the family to which the particular plant belongs. One of the examples of it is Spinach (common name) whose scientific name is Spinacia oleracea.

Scientific Names of Common Plants

Mentioned below is the list of common plants along with their scientific names.

Common Name of Plants

Scientific Name of Plants


Pyrus malus


Bamboosa aridinarifolia


Solanum melongena


Musa paradisicum

Black Gram

Palsoes mungo


Ficus benghalensis


Hordeum vulgare

Black Pepper

Piper nigrum


Daucas carota

Cashew nut

Anacardium occidentale


Syzygium aromaticum


Coriandrum sativum


Cucumis sativas

Curry leaf

Murraya koenigii


Capsicum fruitscence


Achras sapota


Gossypium herbaceum

Dragon fruit

Hylocereus undatus

Finger millet

Eleusine coracana

Green Gram

Phaseolus audicus


Psidium guava


Zingiber officinale


Allium sativum


Artocarpus integra


Sorghum Vulgare


Anthocephalus indicus


Citrus Limonium


Zea mays


Mangifera indica


Azadirachta indica


Allium cepa


Citrus aurantium


Pisum sativum


Carica papaya


Solanum tuberosum


Punica granatum

Peacock Flower (Gulmohar)

Delonix regia rafin

Purple orchid tree (Kachnar)

Bauhinia purpurea


Ficus religiosa Linn.


Ananus sativus


Raphanus sativus

Red maple

Acer rubrum


Oryza sativa



Soya bean

Glycine max

Silver Oak

Grevillea robusta


Santalum album


Lactuca sativa


Helianthus annuus


Curcuma longa


Nicotina tobaccum


Ocimum sanctum


Tectona grandis Linn.

Tamarind tree

Tamarindus indica


Lycopersicon esculentum


Citrullus vulgaris


Lactuca sativa


Mentha arvensis

Binomial Nomenclature for Animals

The naming system for animals is similar to the naming system of plants. While writing a scientific name, the genus comes first followed by the species. Except, scientific names of plants cannot have similar two parts of the binomial name. While in Animals, this is allowed. An example of it is American Bison whose scientific name is Bison bison, this represents that both the genus and the species name is same for the animal.  Mentioned below is the list of scientific names of common animals.

Common Name of Animals

Scientific Name of Animals


Canis lupus

Domestic dog

Canis lupus familiaris


Felis catus


Equus ferus caballus


Ovis aries

Domestic Pig

Sus scrofa domesticus


Capra aegagrus hircus


Equus africanus asinus

Dromedary Camel

Camelus dromedarius

Bactrian Camel

Camelus bactrianus

Water Buffalo

Bubalus bubalis


Bos Taurus

Indian Elephant

Elephas maximus


Panthera tigris


Felis leo


Gallus gallus domesticus


Antilope cervicapra


Molpastes cafer


Acinonyx jubatus

Red fox

Vulpes Vulpes


Gavialis gangeticus


Hippopotamus amphibius

House wall Lizard

Hemidactylus flaviviridis

Indian Cobra

Naja naja

King cobra

Ophiophagus hannah

Rat snake

Ptyas mucosa

Scientific Names of Extinct Animals

Since we have seen the list of scientific names of the animals and plants, let us look into the scientific names of extinct animals. It is interesting to note that since the binomial nomenclature is based on the taxonomy of organisms, phylogenetic and evolutionary research has greatly helped in determining the links of these extinct animals with surviving organisms. This is particularly done to determine the species and genus which thus helps in the nomenclature of the organism. A list of scientific names of extinct animals is presented below.

Common name

Scientific name

Passenger pigeon

Ectopistes migratorius

Tasmanian tiger

Thylacinus cynocephalus




Tyrannosaurus rex


Lipotes vexillifer

Tasmanian Tiger

Thylacinus cynocephalus

In conclusion of the article, we have learnt about the scientific nomenclature, we have seen the examples of the binomial nomenclature of both plants and animals. We have also learnt about the rules of writing a scientific name. The article also briefly described the trinomial nomenclature.

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FAQs on Binomial Nomenclature

1. How to Write a Scientific Name?

Genus is written first followed by the scientific name while writing a scientific name. The first letter of the genus is capitalized and the first letter of species or subspecies is written in small letters. Scientific names are always written in Italics dialect and underlined when written by hand.

2. What is the Importance of Binomial Nomenclature?

Binomial Nomenclature replaces the big inconvenient names of organisms with easy to remember, two-word names. The binomial name in itself is sufficient to identify the genus and species and hence the common characteristic of the organism by its name.

3. What are the Drawbacks of Binomial Nomenclature?

Binomial Names are hard to learn for laymen. They are tedious and spelt mostly in Latin form. Also, they are very long and usually unfamiliar.

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