Botanical Latin Descriptions and Diagnoses

a project of
V. F. Thomas Co. - 167 Thorne Mountain Road - Canton, Maine  04221

(updated 13 May 2022)

A description gives one or more character states of one or more characters for a taxon. Taxa below are species.

A diagnosis compares a new taxon (here, a species) with a known one (i.e., one that has been previously described or diagnosed.

Thank you to Tom Hayward, lecturer emeritus in Classical and Medieval Studies at Bates College (Lewiston, Maine), for his help when I find myself struggling with a translation. In the end, however, I accept responsibility for any errors in this glossary or in the associated translations unless I can find some way to blame them on Tom (or on anyone else). Comments and corrections are welcome and should be sent to Thanks.

Links to translations of botanical Latin descriptions and diagnoses of species:
   Abies mariana (now Picea mariana)
   Abies balsamea
   Amomum cardamomum (now Elettaria cardamomum)
   Amomum granum-paradisi
   Amomum zerumbet
   Amomum zingiber
   Canna angustifolia
   Canna glauca
   Canna indica
   Chamaecyparis thyoides
   Comptonia peregrina
   Cupressus disticha (now Taxodium distichum)
   Cupressus sempervirens
   Cupressus thyoides (now Chamaecyparis thyoides)
   Curcuma longa
   Curcuma rotunda
   Dendrolycopodium obscurum
   Diphasiastrum complanatum
   Elettaria cardamomum
   Huperzia selago
   Iris versicolor (now Limniris versicolor)
   Juniperus communis
   Limniris versicolor
   Liquidambar peregrina (now Comptonia peregrina)
   Lycopodium complanatum (now Diphasiastrum complanatum)
   Picea abies
   Picea americana
   Picea glauca
   Picea mariana
   Pinus abies (now Picea abies)
   Pinus balsamea (now Abies balsamea)
   Pinus canadensis (now Tsuga canadensis)
   Pinus cedrus
   Pinus cembra
   Pinus larix
   Pinus picea
   Pinus pinea
   Pinus strobus
   Pinus sylvestris
   Pinus taeda
   Taxodium distichum
   Thuja occidentalis
   Thuja orientalis
   Tsuga canadensis
   Viburnum acerifolium
   Viburnum nudum