Scientific Name vs. Common Name


We tend to use scientific names instead of common names, because aquatic plants often have multiple common names or no common names at all. For example, Egeria densa is known as Brazilian elodea, Brazilian waterweed, common waterweed and South American waterweed. Pondweed could be any of the Potamogeton species. There is usually only one accepted scientific name for each species which is used throughout the world.

The genus of the scientific name (capitalized first name) can be abbreviated by its first initial as long as the genus has previously been stated in full. If the plant can be identified to genus but not to species (second name not capitalized), the genus is listed and species is abbreviated sp. If a plant is a subspecies, the genus and species name are listed followed by the subspecies abbreviation spp. and then the subspecies name. A similar naming method is used for varieties; the abbreviation spp. is replaced with the abbreviation for variety (var.) and then the variety name follows. A hybrid between named species is represented by a hybrid formula where a multiplication sign (×) is placed between the names of the two parental species (Ex. Myriophyllum heterophyllum × M. laxum). A hybrid may also receive its own name and this is indicated by a multiplication sign before the species epithet (Ex. Ludwigia ×lacustris).

Below are links to lists of scientific names and their common names for plants that we have found during surveys. One list is arranged by scientific names and the other by common names.