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Peer Review

Dictionary of Botanical Epithets

by Chuck Griffith , Chuck Griffith


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 3.75 stars
Effectiveness: 3.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Apr 07, 2010 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This site includes an extensive, searchable listing for botanical epithets (a word in a scientific name, which follows the name of the genus, and denotes a species). Epithets are listed in alphabetical order. Endings in neuter, feminine, and masculine are provided. Following each epithet is the derivation of the term (Latin or Greek), the stem(s) of the word, type/gender (noun, adjective, connecting vowel, etc.), and meanings. There are about 3,500 botanical epithets listed in this site and they are well-described. The list is not complete, but has been updated almost every year. This is a good reference site for students and instructors wanting to know the translation of these epithets, often derived from Latin or Greek words.
Type of Material: This site includes reference material as a searchable database
Recommended Uses: This site is best used as a reference for those who desire to know the meanings of botanical terms, especially those of specific epithets.
Technical Requirements: This is a straightforward site that requires only a browser to view HTML/Text
Identify Major Learning Goals: Material presented at this site provides users with information about the meaning of botanical epithets. It shows, in many ways, how scientific names are derived and how descriptions for some species may be related.
Target Student Population: The target student population includes anyone wanting to know about scientific names – from Grade School through Graduate School, particularly for students in plant taxonomy or field botany classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: There are no prerequisites for this site, although some knowledge of Latin and/or Greek, as well as experience in taxonomy, would help users better understand the material.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.75 stars
  • Most of the word parts of the epithets are used in other fields of biology, so it is a good way to learn the roots of Latin or Greek origin
  • The information is accurate and easy to find
  • Definitions are pretty straightforward
  • Lots of terms provided, although incomplete
  • The site would benefit from additional text explaining purpose of material
  • An example of how botanical epithets are derived would be useful

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.75 stars
  • Site is effective in accomplishing what is intended
  • This is a good searchable database
  • Information provided helps students understand the relatedness of scientific names
  • No learning objectives are provided
  • Users who encounter this site may not understand its utility
  • Additional information is needed to explain the purpose of botanical epithets

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • The information easily searchable
  • Terms are well organized in alphabetical order
  • The site is easy to use and searches are completed quickly
  • No defective links or major bugs were found
  • At the time of this review, there were no entries for the letters “K,” “N,” “W,” or “Z”

Other Issues and Comments: This is a needed site for the Internet and the author is commended for having it available to search botanical epithets.