Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Template

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WikiProject Plants

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This page discusses a template for plant articles; for a template for articles about botanists, see Botanist template.

Note that this template is only a suggestion and not all plant articles will contain all these sections.

This article describes what would be an "ideal" article about a plant taxon. Such an article will be divided into sections like those suggested and described below. Ideally, all of these sections can be filled with relevant information. In many, maybe even most cases, this is not possible, and several of the sections will frequently not be possible to fill, particularly when it comes to a less-studied group or species. A well-made GA usually should have sections entitled "Description", "Taxonomy", "Subdivisions" (in the case of genera and higher ranks), "Distribution and habitat" and "Ecology". "Uses" is the most common optional section, and can be renamed where a plant has only one major specific use (for its wood, for example).

The first paragraph of a Wikipedia article is not usually a section per se, but a leader that briefly summarizes the article.

Short description

Add a short description using template:short description at top of page, e.g. Saxifragales {{short description|Order of Eudicot flowering plants in the Superrosid clade}}


WikiProject Plants/Template
Temporal range: 24–0 Ma
Late Oligocene - Recent
Narcissus poeticus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Tribe: Narcisseae
Genus: Narcissus
Type species
Narcissus poeticus

See text.

Every article on a currently accepted plant taxon should include an infobox which gives the place of the taxon in a hierarchical classification and some basic taxonomic data. The infobox can be generated by using either of two templates: {{Taxobox}} or {{Automatic taxobox}}. Obsolete taxa should not have infoboxes but the text should make clear where they fitted, and what the approximate contemporary taxon is or taxa are. If explained adequately on a different page, consider redirecting.

Automatic taxoboxes are intended to facilitate maintaining a consistent hierarchical classification across multiple articles. Converting a standard {{Taxobox}} in an existing article to an {{Automatic taxobox}}, a {{Speciesbox}} or a {{Infraspeciesbox}} is likely to be uncontroversial, but this practice is not presently encouraged. There's a general introduction to the system at Template:Automatic taxobox/doc/intro. Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Automatic taxobox provides some guidance towards using automatic taxoboxes for plants. Automatic taxoboxes are best used where the taxon is situated in a hierarchy already using this approach. For instance if you are creating a new page for a genus, within a family and the family page uses an automatic taxobox, the approach is relatively simple, particularly if there are already sister genera. Just create the template: Template:Taxonomy/genus, where genus is the genus covered by the new page. Copy the contents of the template used on another genus within that family, and change the link statement to the current taxon from the one you just copied. Now save your new template.

For the largest group of land plants, the angiosperms ("flowering plants"), Wikipedia:Wikiproject Plants consensus is to use the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group's APG III classification system. The APG III system does not have formally named divisions or classes, but includes several hierarchically nested, informally named clades. The {{Automatic taxobox}} employs the informal APG clades. When using the standard {{Taxobox}}, the informally named clades should be presented by using parameters such as |unranked_divisio= in place of formal rank parameters. Articles on plants besides angiosperms (e.g. conifers, ferns) should continue to use formal divisions and classes in the standard taxobox. For pteridophytes the equivalent consensus is the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group (2016).



  • Temporal range: |fossil_range={{fossil range|24|0}} [[Late Oligocene]] - Recent
  • Image: |image=Narcissus.poeticus.1658.jpg |image_caption=''[[Narcissus poeticus]]''
  • Authority: |authority=[[Carl Linnaeus|L.]] - For the use of botanical authorities, see Taxonomy.
  • Type: |type_species=''[[Narcissus poeticus]]'' |type_species_authority=[[Carl Linnaeus|L.]] - Include the type species ('type') for infoboxes of taxon rank higher than species, and preferentially use it for the top image in the infobox or taxobox. Other typification would include type genus, where applicable.
  • Subdivision: |subdivision_ranks=Subgenera |subdivision=''[[#Subdivision|See text]]''. - links to section. Also see Lists below
  • Diversity: | diversity_ref = | diversity = | diversity_link = For higher taxa, with an intermediate rank, eg Family and subfamily, this could be used to indicate no. species. Use diversity_link if there us a separate page listing species, eg Fritillaria where the intermediate rank is subgenera and link is to List of Fritillaria species. This could also be used to link to a subsection on the same page.
  • Range: |range_map = Narcissus papyraceus distrib.jpg |range_map_caption = Distribution in Spain and Portugal e.g. Narcissus papyraceus
  • Conservation: |status = EN |status_system = IUCN3.1 e.g. Narcissus alcaracensis


Long lists that dominate page both here and elsewhere, for instance under subdivisions, should be avoided as per H:IB. If unavoidable use collapsible lists. Also consider hidden lists using {{hidden begin}}{{hidden end}}

For an example of a collapsible list, see, the Asparagales infobox here;

WikiProject Plants/Template
Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous– Recent
Asperge in bloei Asparagus officinalis.jpg
Asparagus officinalis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Type genus


The introductory paragraphs (also called the "lead") should be a summary of the article. References are not normally included in the lead, since it summarises the rest of the article, which should include references. Links are helpful in the lead, even if they are also used in the rest of the article, for a user who wants to quickly get to another article.

The first paragraph, usually the very first sentence, should have the taxon name in bold. If the taxon is a genus or lower rank, such as subgenus or species, the name should be in italics as well as bold. Indicate growth pattern (e.g., annual plant, perennial plant, shrub, tree, etc.), possibly some common names for the plant, the scientific name of the plant family where applicable, possibly with one of the common names for that family, and something general about the range and habitat (e.g., rainforest of Brazil, desert of South Africa etc.). The scientific name for the family should be made visible if you find it hidden in a link, as in this diff - Sarcodes.


This section includes all the information required to allow identification of a member of this taxon (species/genus/family etc.) Remember to use a paragraph structure, not bullet points, but paragraphs can be introduced with headings (e.g. Narcissus). This can include both morphological description as well as phytochemistry and chromosome analysis.

Use plain descriptive English where possible, explaining technical terms, especially less common ones. Link technical terms to relevant pages. If the relevant page, e.g. Leaf, does not have a description of that feature, consider adding it to that page, and create a redirect. Also check the Glossary and update it where necessary. Another useful linkage is Wiktionary, e.g. leaf. When discussing large groups with varying features (genus and higher), summarize the most interesting and relevant material, but link to other articles for details. The description should focus on the defining characteristics of the taxon, that distinguish it from other similar taxa.


Describe the general aspect and habit of the plant taxon, its size, its flowering structure, its fruiting bodies, its rooting, fragrance etc. This will include the material that is commonly used in manuals and field guides in identifying the taxon (e.g. family, genus or species). Distribution, habitat, and range, which are also used in identification, are treated in separately, under "Distribution and habitat". This section should include a description of growth pattern, roots, stems, leaves, inflorescence, and fruit. These may be broken down into more subsections if there is sufficient information to justify it. These may be made into separate sections even with minimal or no information, since this will encourage other editors to later fill out the section, which should ultimately be in any or all good plant articles.

Growth pattern includes gross observations such as overall shape and size, lifespan, whether annual or perennial (be careful about horticultural usage of these terms which may be climatic zone specific), whether a tree, shrub, vine or herbaceous etc. Also whether winter or drought deciduous, sprouting from a bulb, resprouting from a burl after a fire or not, being thorny, light and water requirements, vegetative reproduction or by seed, etc. Discuss how the plant changes as it ages and develops. Discuss how it responds to changes in its environment. Discuss how the plant might be described to a young student or to a person unfamiliar with plants in the area.

Description of roots, stems, leaves, inflorescence, and fruit should use standardized technical expressions such as those in the Glossary of botanical terms, supplemented by plain English to define these terms for a general reader if possible, so they don't have to be constantly chasing down links to read the article. This is especially the case if the botanical term is very obscure. List the characteristic features of the Taxon, and where applicable its Floral formula. Floral diagrams may also be useful. If the plant is particularly similar to another species, consider explicitly mentioning differentiating elements. And, if relevant and available, its anatomical peculiarities, including details about tissues, vascular bundles, cell walls and other structures.

Where possible follow the approach used by standard floras and plant systematics books. Consider using as a model, Simpson's Plant Systematics[1] using the bolded terms as subsection headings:

"...A description of plant characteristics..., starting with plant habit and vegetative features, in the order of root, stem and leaf. This is followed by reproductive features, in the order of inflorescence, flower, perianth (if undifferentiated) or calyx and corolla (if differentiated), androecium, gynoecium, fruit and seed." p. 140


For the phytochemistry account, provide a description of specific pigments (e.g. anthocyanins) or other compounds (though many of these with specific functions may be more appropriately discussed under topics such as "Uses" or "Ecology").


Taxonomy (Systematics, Systematic botany) deals with the causes and consequences of variation of an entity (taxon). It integrates the gathering of evidence, its processing, the production of phylogenetic relationships and the resulting classification of the entity and its relationships, reflecting the totality of similarities and differences, including the evolutionary processes and pathways which produced divergence and diversity. It is frequently combined with discussions on the evolution of the taxon in botanical articles. The evolutionary history of the taxon is its phylogeny, the process by which its present-day characteristics evolved over time.

Topics to include in this section would usually include taxonomic history, modern taxonomic classification, the characteristics that define the taxon, its phylogeny, the taxonomic subdivision of the taxon where applicable and the etymological derivation of the taxon's nomenclature.

Taxonomic history

Botanical authority

An account of the original description of the taxon, by which it gained its botanical authority, including when and how the taxon was discovered or first circumscribed, any background if known and including the original authority as a reference. Mention the type specimen if known, e.g. type species or type genus. For instance, for Liliaceae the type genus is Lilium. Wherever possible include the original authority as a reference e.g. Lilium Tourn. ex L. Sp. Pl. 1: 302 (1753). This is the authority as cited by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSPF). As explained in Author citation (botany) this means that although Tournefort (Tourn.) provided the first description of Lilium, his description did not satisfy the formal rules for description, so the actual authority goes to Carl Linnaeus (L.), for which the references would be Linnaeus, Carl (1753). "Lilium". Species Plantarum vol. 1 (in Latin). Stockholm: Impensis Laurentii Salvii. p. 302. and Tournefort, Josephi Pitton (1719). "Lilium Lis". Institutiones rei herbariae vol. i (in Latin). Paris: Typographia Regia. p. 369.. Keep in mind the rules for authority, as laid out in the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN).[2]

Secondary sources: This original description does not constitute a reliable source on its own. To complete the bibliography requires an authoritative source that says this is the accepted authority. In this case the citation to WCSPF would be "Lilium Tourn. ex L. Sp. Pl.: 302 (1753)". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2015. In this particular case the WCSPF suffices. This example is relatively simple, where the taxon has remained fairly stable since its inception in 1753. In many other cases the taxon has evolved considerably or its circumscription is controversial and there may be several authorities attached to the name. In such cases knowing in which sensu the taxon name is being used is important, even though it nay not necessarily be the current one. Thus one might need to specify Liliaceae sensu Dahlgren. Sometimes the most authoritative reference will be in proposals or considerations published in a journal like Taxon or the deliberations of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) committees, also published there. Other sources include Phytotaxa.

Format: Use <small></small> around the author's name or abbreviation to create small font as above, using the standardised abbreviations (see also International Plant Names Index (IPNI)), and where possible link the name to the author's WP page, as in the example above.

Historical treatment

A description of subsequent handling of the taxonomic entity up to modern times. This is the history of the circumscription of the taxon and its relationship to other taxa at the same and higher ranks. Discuss the major synonyms, and any disputes about classification (e.g. Hippeastrum nomenclature debate). Mention whether conserved (nom. cons.), rejected (nom. rej.) or illegitimate (nom. illeg.) names exist in relation to the taxon. The use of tables over text alone is recommended if comparing different historical classifications (see, for example Evolution of placement of Liliaceae in different taxonomic schemes).

Modern classification

The currently accepted circumscription (where does the taxon fit into higher hierarchies and how is it distinguished from other taxa at the same rank?). The use of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification is strongly recommended. Deviations from this, for instance inclusion of more recent taxonomic research should be justified with appropriate citations. For complex taxonomies, tables often provide greater clarity. Commonly used synonyms should be listed, since in their absence it is possible that someone else will start a separate page, or add them to a list.


Explain the defining characteristics of the taxon. Illustrations are helpful (see, for example Liliaceae).


Modern taxonomy is based on phylogenetic analyses and to present such work, if available, is essential. Mention whether there are still doubts about monophyly and the most closely related sister group. An account of the current relationships of the taxon is best illustrated with a cladogram. Include an account of what evidence (e.g. morphology, embryology, chromosomes, karyology, cytogenetics, biogeography, ecology, palynology, phytochemistry, proteins and nucleic acid segments) was used in constructing the phylogeny, and the processes involved.

Evolutionary processes[a]

Describe how the evolutionary processes, lines and history and biogeography have contributed to the diversity, and discuss speciation where appropriate. For many taxa below the genus level this may not be informative. Where a cladistic analysis is available, consider including a cladogram to illustrate the relationships, using Clade, which may be embedded in the Cladogram template (see, for example Rhododendron:Phylogenetic analyses). The Clade template allows additional bracketing of a group of clades within a cladogram (see, for example Cladogram of the monocots). Include the fossil record where known and explain to what degree it supports the constructed phylogeny. Some evolutionary information may be better presented as a Timeline.


Where applicable, provide a description of the structure of the subdivision of the taxon (for genera and higher ranks).


The history of the subdivision of the taxon, where applicable. Use tables for comparing systems (see, for example, Comparison of Modern Classifications Schemes of Narcissus).

Modern classification

Outline the prevailing modern classification, including phylogeny. Mention which subdivisions are supported through cladistic analyses. Discuss any competing schemes.

Illustration: Use Tables to show the structure (see, for example APWeb/APG Distribution of Subfamilies, Tribes and Genera of Liliaceae with illustration of morphological diversity). Use Cladograms to show the relationships (see, for example Narcissus Cladogram).

Lists and subpages

Provide a subsection heading for the child taxa, such as "Species", "Subfamilies and genera"... etc. For instance in an article on a Family, this might be Subfamilies. Where there are several ranks below the level of the taxon page being edited, e.g. an article on the family Narcissus might include subfamilies, tribes, genera and subgenera, it is usually only necessary to list the most immediate inferior rank, in this case subfamilies, provided that further subdivisions are addressed through links to other pages providing that information. For instance an article on a family need only list the subfamilies, if each subfamily already has a separate page. Otherwise, if the resulting structure is complex, list only the immediate inferior rank (subfamilies in this case), and create separate subpages on which the detailed taxonomy of each subfamily is described, rather than including too much detail on the main page (see for example genus Rhododendron, which links to each subgenus page).

Child taxa: In listing child taxa, avoid long lists (particularly noticeable for species). These too, are best handled by creating a subpage, with a summary and a linking hat on the main page, such as

Categories: :These List pages should have Category "Taxonomy list (rank)", where applicable, added e.g. Category:Taxonomic lists (species) as well as the Category of the parent taxon, be titled "List of ..." e.g. List of Narcissus species, and have a template such as {{WP Plants|class=list|importance=low}} placed on their talk page.

Subpages: If a separate list subpage is created, in its place on the main page some selected lower taxa can be listed, such as those mentioned in the text, or the more important members, particularly if links are available. If not consider providing them. The accompanying text should include the information that it refers only to selected taxa (see example below).

Format: In compiling such a list it is worth considering including important synonyms and disputed species, which may be used by some sources. To avoid possible confusion over the taxon intended, include the botanical authority, using the method already detailed above. Inclusion of the complete bibliographical reference in such a list should be relegated to footnotes. For example:

Selected species
Hippeastrum angustifolium Pax syn. Amaryllis angustifolia (Pax) Traub & Uphof[1]
Pax, Ferdinand Albin (1890). "Beiträage zur Kenntnis der Amaryllidaceae: H. augustifolium p. 331". In Engler, Adolf (ed.). Botanische Jahrbücher fur Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie (in Latin and German). 11. Leipzig: Engelmann. pp. 318–337.
Which would be coded as:

Hippeastrum angustifolium Pax syn. Amaryllis angustifolia (Pax) Traub & Uphof<sup>[1]</sup><ref>{{cite book|last1=Pax|first1=Ferdinand Albin|authorlink=Ferdinand Pax|editor1-last=Engler|editor1-first=Adolf|editorlink=Adolf Engler|title=Botanische Jahrbücher fur Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie|volume=11|date=1890|publisher=Engelmann|location=Leipzig|pages=318–337|url=|language=latin, german|chapter=Beiträage zur Kenntnis der Amaryllidaceae: H. augustifolium p. 331}}</ref>

If the list or article discusses further subdivisions, consider structuring the list according to those subdivisions instead of purely alphabetically, as in the example List of Narcissus species. For longer lists use columns (e.g. List of Hippeastrum species) or collapsible lists.

Nomenclature: In listing species care should be taken to distinguish between accepted species and hybrids, since in horticultural use it is not uncommon to find, e.g. Begonia × benariensis written incorrectly as Begonia benariensis. Similarly some cultivar names are also written as if they were species. Listing hybrids and cultivars is valid, but they should be distinguished from accepted names.


Explain how the taxon name was created, if known. Useful tools include:

  • Gledhill, David (2006). The names of plants (4th. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521866456. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  • Stearn, William T. (2002). Stearn's dictionary of plant names for gardeners : a handbook on the origin and meaning of the botanical names of some cultivated plants. Portland, Or.: Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881925562. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  • Griffith, Chuck (2005). "Dictionary of Botanical Epithets". Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  • Morgan, Michelle (October 2005). "Botanical Latin: The Poetry of Herb Names" (PDF). Number 89. MediHerb. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  • List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names

Tools and procedures


{{Taxonbar}}, is a newer template which was recently created to add more capability for linking to external identifiers of biological and taxonomic databases. This template does not require any additional parameters. All information displayed in Taxonbar is retrieved from corresponding Wikidata entries.

{{Taxonbar}} should always be added to the very bottom of a page, below external links and other navboxes. {{Authority Control}}, Categories and stub templates should be the only things lower on the page. Adding the following code to the bottom of Narcissus would generate the bar below:


Note: It is the contributor's responsibility to check that all external links take the reader to the intended page. If there is an error in the Wikidata, it can be corrected but editing Wikidata requires knowledge of Wikidata structure and guidelines. For more information, see Wikidata:WikiProject Taxonomy

Accepted names

All taxa names should be checked against standard databases, e.g. the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Plant List, Tropicos, and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, to ensure that only currently accepted names are used. Include any of these databases that were used as sources in your references. For pages at genus rank, consider consulting the Statistics section at the end of the genus page on The Plant List (although all entries in The Plant List need cross-checking as the algorithms that obtain data from the underlying sources are not always totally reliable).

Page names

If taxon nomenclature changes require a page name change, use the Move tab at the top of the page to change it. Do not cut and paste.

Splitting complex taxonomies

Some taxonomies require a very lengthy discussion, in which case they should be treated as a separate page, and summarised on the taxon page. For example, Taxonomy of Liliaceae and Taxonomy of the Orchidaceae. The same principles as outlined above should be used in writing a Taxonomy page. Some taxonomy pages such as Taxonomy of Banksia, in turn, have multiple subpages. Currently such pages are being categorised within Category:Plant taxonomies.

Distribution and habitat

This section should describe where the taxon is, or was, found naturally, or has invaded. Talk about geographic location, elevation range, climatic range, soil types it is found in, plants associated with it (associates, vegetation type), and how densely it grows. In what geographic region does it grow, and what is its centre of diversity? (Mediterranean basin, Himalayas etc.) In what ecosystems is it found? (forests, deserts, alpine slopes etc.) What soil types does it thrive in? Is its distribution range stable or shifting? Is the taxon density sparse or heavy, and is it changing? Is it increasing in numbers in an area, or is it endangered? Note that the biogeography may demonstrate a phylogenetic association, in which different subtaxa have adapted to different regions.


Distribution: Narcissus occurs primarily in Southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean region, with a centre of diversity in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). A few species extend the range into southern France and Italy, and even the Balkans (N. poeticus, N. serotinus, N. tazetta) and the Eastern Mediterranean (N. serotinus).

Habitat: Their native habitats are very varied, with different elevations, bioclimatic areas and substrates, being found predominantly in open spaces ranging from low marshes to rocky hillsides and montane pastures, and including grassland, scrub, woods, river banks and rocky crevices...The Pseudonarcissus group in their natural habitat prefer humid situations such as stream margins, springs, wet pastures, clearings of forests or shrublands with humid soils, and moist hillsides...subgenus Hermione has a lowland distribution, but subgenus Narcissus section Apodanthi is montane and restricted to Morocco, Spain and Portugal.


This is all about the taxon's interaction with the environment. Topics for consideration include;

  • Growth cycles (life cycle) - seasonal changes.


Narcissus are long-lived perennial geophytes with winter-growing and summer-dormant bulbs that are mainly synanthous (leaves and flowers appearing at the same time). While most species flower in late winter to spring, five species are autumn flowering and by contrast are hysteranthous (leaves appear after flowering).

  • Symbiotic relationships.
  • What types of soils does it grow best on? (Though this particular information may often be better discussed under habitat.)
  • When does it flower and when does fruit mature? (This can also be put in the section on inflorescence and fruit in the description.)
  • Pollination mechanisms. For instance, insect pollinated. If so, which insects? How does the flower adapt to facilitate pollination? (see Narcissus)
  • How do various natural phenomena, such as seasonal changes, fires, and drought, affect the species?
  • Is the plant invasive or allelopathic? e.g. a weed
  • Relationship to the Raunkiær system of life-forms (e.g. phanerophytes, epiphytes).
  • How do other animals or plants use it, such as for construction of nests?
  • Natural hybridisation and naturalisation should go here too.

Pests and diseases

Discuss parasites, pests and diseases. What animals or other plants feed on it? If sufficient material, subheadings could include viruses, bacteria, fungi and animals (see Narcissus).


If there are conservation concerns regarding the species or some of its members, discuss them. What is the status and why? Is the taxon, or any parts of it, extinct, endangered, threatened or vulnerable? If so, are there any protection schemes? The taxobox is one place to summarise conservation information. A useful tool is the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. (see Narcissus)


This section should only be used where cultivation is a major aspect of the plant or group, such as crops and major ornamentals (i.e. roses, tulips). Otherwise, it should be a subsection under "Uses". Separate domestic cultivation (such as history and growing conditions), in this section, from commercial cultivation (such as floriculture and horticulture) under "Uses".

Typically, it would list the general purpose/location of cultivation (farms, gardens, landscaping, etc.), and something about different cultivated varieties. Say what part of the plant it is grown for (roots, flowers, leaves, etc.). Give a general idea of the best growing conditions (climate, growing season, etc.), but not so much as to make the article violate WP:NOTHOWTO (become a "how-to" guide).

For food plants or other crops grown on a large scale, potential statistics to include would be:

  • total annual production/harvest worldwide
  • top ten country production figures
  • annual consumption per capita in various countries
  • import/export flows
  • wholesale and retail prices
  • production per acre
  • inputs: labor, water, fertilizer, weed killer, insecticide per acre and per kilo of food production
  • environmental/sustainability aspects
  • history of domestication; current split between formal vs. subsistence production/consumption.

One source of information is the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Possible subsections, where appropriate:

  • Cultivation history
  • Propagation
  • Pests and diseases
  • Harvest
  • Horticulture
  • Floriculture
  • Propagation


Where the plant is particularly poisonous, this section can be added to discuss this. Poisonous to who? Humans, animals? In what way? What are the responsible agents and mechanisms?


What is the plant or parts of the plant used for? Examples of use include:

In many cases, cultivation is better discussed in this section than separately under "Cultivation" (see above). However, if a use is particularly important or the plant has only one major use, list it separately with an appropriate header.


Does the plant have a specific cultural relevance, for example as a metaphor or a motif? Is it an integral part of some aspect of culture? Avoid trivia as per WP:"In popular culture" content.


Wikipedia does not mandate any particular reference style, but portability of commonly used resources across the project is an advantage. The preferred format for citation is to use a cite template, such as {{cite book}}.

There are a number of acceptable referencing styles. These include:

  • 1. Parenthetical, e.g. (Chamberlain 1996) which refers to a full citation elsewhere, usually a bibliography, as below.
  • 2. Inline, placing a citation such as
<ref name=Chamberlain>{{cite book|last1=Chamberlain|first1=DF|author2=Hyam R|author3=Argent G|author4=Fairweather G|author5=Walter KS|title=The genus ''Rhododendron'': its classification and synonymy|url=|date=1996|publisher=Royal Botanic gardens Edinburgh||isbn=1 872291 66 X|accessdate=3 July 2014}}</ref>
in the text after the statement being referenced, which will display at the bottom of the page in a ==References == section if the {{Reflist}} template is place there. {{Reflist|30em}} sets the column widths to 30em.
  • 3. The reflist= method places all citations in the Reference section. By using the {{Reflist|30em|refs=}} template, all citations can be managed much more easily, if the citations are arranged alphabetically, with spaces, and named. Then only <ref name=Name/> need appear in the text.
For example:
== References ==


<ref name=Chamberlain>{{cite book|last1=Chamberlain|first1=DF|author2=Hyam R|author3=Argent G|author4=Fairweather G|author5=Walter KS|title=The genus ''Rhododendron'': its classification and synonymy|url=|date=1996|publisher=[[Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh]]||isbn=1 872291 66 X|accessdate=6 January 2016}}</ref>

<ref name="Goetsch">{{cite journal|last1=Goetsch|first1=Loretta A.|last2=Eckert|first2= Andrew J.|last3= Hall|first3= Benjamin D. |date=July–September 2005 |title=The molecular systematics of ''Rhododendron'' (Ericaceae): a phylogeny based upon ''RPB2'' gene sequences |journal=[[Systematic Botany]] |volume=30 |issue=3 |pages=616–626 |url= |doi=10.1600/0363644054782170|accessdate=3 July 2014}}</ref> }}

which displays as:
  • Chamberlain, DF; Hyam R; Argent G; Fairweather G; Walter KS (1996). The genus Rhododendron: its classification and synonymy. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. ISBN 1 872291 66 X. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  • Goetsch, Loretta A.; Eckert, Andrew J.; Hall, Benjamin D. (July–September 2005). "The molecular systematics of Rhododendron (Ericaceae): a phylogeny based upon RPB2 gene sequences". Systematic Botany. 30 (3): 616–626. doi:10.1600/0363644054782170. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  • 4. Shortfootnotes. This style offers maximum portability and ease of maintenance. Citations are placed in a Bibliography section, and ref=harv added to the citation. This is referred to as the target. In the text the {{sfn}} is utilised. In the second example above, where the citation concludes |accessdate=3 July 2014|ref=harv}}, the shortfootnote in the text reads {{sfn|Goetsch|Eckert|Hall|2005}}. This displays as Chamberlain 1996 in the Reference section, which links to the full citation in the bibliography. More information can be added, for instance a page number, as {{sfn|Goetsch|Eckert|Hall |loc=p. 620}} External links can also be added, for instance a page in a book, e.g. {{sfn|Short|George|2013|loc=[ p. 15]}} will display as Short & George 2013, p. 15., and include a link to both the full citation:
Short, Emma; George, Alex (2013). A primer of botanical Latin with vocabulary. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107693753. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
but also a separate external link to the page in question. This is particularly useful if multiple references to different parts of a work are intended.
An alternative to using ref=harv to create a target is to use {{citation}} rather than {{cite book, journal etc}} The Citation template automatically creates a target for {{sfn}}, without the need to add ref=harv.

Cross referencing

Space can be saved in the reference section where there are multiple references to the same work, such as chapters in an edited book by using the Harvtext template. For instance "In {{Harvtxt|Rudall|Cribb|Cutler|Humphries|1995}}" displays as "In Rudall et al. (1995)." and links to -

Rudall, P.J.; Cribb, P.J.; Cutler, D.F. et al., eds. (1995). Monocotyledons: systematics and evolution (Proceedings of the International Symposium on Monocotyledons: Systematics and Evolution, Kew 1993). Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens. ISBN 978-0-947643-85-0. Retrieved 14 January 2014.

in a subsequent Bibliography (see below) by inserting |ref=harv| into the latter citation template. The referring template should include |Authors|Year


Linkages to other pages is encouraged but avoid overlinking. For instance excessive linking to the same page within a section is not necessary, nor is linking when the word is self-explanatory. Avoid redlinks. If you think something is important enough to deserve a link, create that page, even if only a stub. However, first check to see if that subject is a section on a separate page, such as Style which has its own section under Stigma (botany), in which case the appropriate link is [[Stigma (botany)#Style|style]].

Also check to see if there is a page of that name or type in another language version of Wikipedia, for instance a German botanist may be more likely to have a page in the German Wikipedia than the English version. In which case the appropriate link is [[:de:Name |Name]]. Although this is a quick placeholder, the preferred approach is to create that page as a stub and place {{Expand language |page name}} at the top of the page.


This is useful for listing sources consulted but also in conjunction with reference styles mentioned above. It can also be indexed, e.g. Books, Articles, Websites etc.

External links

Other resources available online can be referenced here, but never use raw URLs, that is just entering the URL alone. Add a descriptor, for instance [ Tree of Life Web Project: Monocotyledons] is much more preferable to Even better is to use the Cite format. If possible avoid using this section, but rather sort them under a Bibliography, as in Liliaceae.

Wikimedia Commons and Wikispecies can be referenced here, where appropriate by using the templates {{Commons}} and {{Wikispecies}}. Other Wikimedia resources that may be useful here, include Wiktionary and Wikisource.

See also § Taxonomy for use of {{Taxonbar}} to display external identifiers in a compact manner.

Navigation boxes

Consider creating a Navbox to tie all related pages together, e.g.;


The major categorization schemes for plants are:

  • The taxonomic scheme:
    • All articles should be placed in the lowest level category which is appropriate. "Appropriate" means respecting WP:SMALLCAT. Thus an article on a species whose genus has few species (and/or few species with articles about them) should be categorized at the subfamily or family level. Equally in accordance with WP:DIFFUSE, where the taxonomic information exists, large categories should be split up, e.g. where a genus has a large number of species articles, subgenera or sections could be used.
    • Species articles titled in Latin placed in genus level categories should have a sortkey with the specific epithet in lowercase, e.g. [[Category:Drosera|zonaria]] on the Drosera zonaria article.
    • Articles titled in English should avoid using sortkeys.
    • The article about the taxonomic group itself should have a blank sortkey (e.g. [[Category:Asteraceae| ]]). An article providing an alphabetical list of species or genera (as opposed to the Taxonomy of X article providing a taxonomic listing) should use a space followed by the word list (e.g. [[Category:Asteraceae| list]]). This ensures that the article about the taxonomic group comes first on the category page, followed by the article giving a list of its subdivisions.
  • The geographical scheme:
    • Articles are placed in Flora of X or (in that case) Trees of X articles.
    • The flora category hierarchy should conform to the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions.
    • Try to limit the number of categories with common sense and judicious use of regional categories: a species found across the continental U.S. and Canada except for two or three states/provinces is still accurately put simply in "Flora of Canada" and "Flora of the United States".
    • Only the lowest ranked taxon should be included in the geographical categorization scheme (species, or subspecies or variety if the articles exist). Genus articles or higher rank articles are only ever categorized in the geographical categories if the entire genus is endemic to a region or if the taxon is monotypic.
    • These categories do not use sortkeys.
  • The usage scheme:
    • Articles are placed in a variety of categories (e.g. Category:Herbs, Category:Legumes, Category:Edible plants) that reflect their use by humans.
    • Note that in cases where a species/product separation has been made, only the product articles should be placed in cultivation-related categories!
    • These categories do not use sortkeys.
  • Species articles can also be categorized into their year of formal description. This means the earliest description, inclusive of the basionym. See the essay for examples and suggestions. E.g. [[Category:Plants described in 1810]] for Pimelea flava. (Note that [[Category:Plants described in ....]] is a subcategory of [[Category:Species described in ....]] so can only be used for species, not other taxa.)

Talk page

Add the WikiProject Plants banner template, {{WikiProject Plants}}, to the article's talk page to include the article in the Plants Project assessment scheme, and consider adding the general talk page header template, {{Talk header}}. Article on plants may be relevant to other WikiProjects as well; add banner templates for other projects to the article's talk page as appropriate.

Model articles

Some examples of model articles for different taxonomic ranks are provided here for guidance:


  1. ^ For a discussion of the most appropriate place to discuss evolution, see here


  1. ^ Simpson, Michael G. (2011). "Angiosperms". Plant Systematics. Academic Press. ISBN 0-08-051404-9. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  2. ^ Turland, N. J., Wiersema, J. H., Barrie, F. R., Greuter, W., Hawksworth, D. L., Herendeen, P. S., Knapp, S., Kusber, W.-H., Li, D.-Z., Marhold, K., May, T. W., McNeill, J., Monro, A. M., Prado, J., Price, M. J. & Smith, G. F., eds. (2018). "International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Shenzhen Code) adopted by the Nineteenth International Botanical Congress Shenzhen, China, July 2017". Regnum Vegetabile. Shenzhen: Glashütten: Koeltz Botanical Books. doi:10.12705/Code.2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
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