Biology:List of systems of plant taxonomy

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Short description: Chronological list of systems of plant taxonomy
A pioneering system of plant taxonomy, Linnaeus's Systema Naturae, Leiden, 1735

This list of systems of plant taxonomy presents "taxonomic systems" used in plant classification.

A taxonomic system is a coherent whole of taxonomic judgments on circumscription and placement of the considered taxa. It is only a "system" if it is applied to a large group of such taxa (for example, all the flowering plants).

There are two main criteria for this list. A system must be taxonomic, that is deal with many plants, by their botanical names. Secondly it must be a system, i.e. deal with the relationships of plants. Although thinking about relationships of plants had started much earlier (see history of plant systematics), such systems really only came into being in the 19th century, as a result of an ever-increasing influx from all over the world of newly discovered plant species. The 18th century saw some early systems, which are perhaps precursors rather than full taxonomic systems.

A milestone event was the publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus which serves as the starting point of binomial nomenclature for plants. By its size this would qualify to be on this list, but it does not deal with relationships, beyond assigning plants into genera.

Note that a system is not necessarily monolithic and often goes through several stages of development, resulting in several versions of the same system. When a system is widely adopted, many authors will adopt their own particular version of the system. The Cronquist system is well known for existing in many versions.

Chronological list of systems


See also: Pre-Linnaean taxonomy|Taxonomy_(biology)#Pre-Linnaean taxonomy|Pre-Linnaean taxonomy
  • Theophrastus classification
    Historia Plantarum (Enquiry into Plants), c. 300 BC
    Causes of Plants, c. 300 BC
    Dioscorides classification
    De Materia Medica, c. 60 AD
    Albertus Magnus classification
    De Vegetabilibus, c. 1256 [1]
    Caesalpino classification
    De plantis libri XVI, 1583
    John Gerard classification
    Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes, 1597
    Gaspard Bauhin classification
    Pinax theatri botanici, 1623
    John Ray classification
    Historia Plantarum, 1686–1704
    Tournefort classification
    Éléments de botanique, 1694

From Linnaeus to Darwin (pre-Darwinian)

Post Darwinian (Phyletic)

Other systems


External links