Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research
Australian National Herbarium

Botanical Research, Conservation, Management
and Use of the Australian Flora

CPBR logo


6 August 2002


Why do the names of plants change? The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research plans to expose botanists as the primary culprits as it presents ‘What’s Its Name?’ – the first of the ‘Biodiversity Bites’ public lectures.

The Curator of the Australian National Herbarium, Mr Brendan Lepschi, will lead the discussion to explore the reasons for plant name changes.

"Botanists use new technologies and historical research to determine how different plants should be grouped and therefore named," Mr Lepschi says.

Correct plant names are essential for the accurate communication of biodiversity knowledge, as well as providing insight into the relationships between plants.

All plants have a scientific or Latin name that uniquely identifies them, and one or more common names. For example, Acacia baileyana is the scientific name for Cootamundra Wattle, one of the earliest wattles to bloom around Canberra.

To confuse matters sometimes scientists don’t always agree, or change their mind, on how a plant is classified and named.

"Name changes usually happen when more detailed research provides us with new information about the plant and its relationship to other plants," Mr Lepschi says.

There are some interesting examples of this which Mr Lepschi will talk on during his ‘Biodiversity Bites’ lecture including recent name changes to eucalypts (gum trees), acacias (wattles), paper daisies and Sturt’s Desert Pea.

‘Biodiversity Bites’ Public Lecture

Date: Wednesday, 7 August 2002

Time: 6.00pm – 7.00pm (seating available from 5.00pm)

Venue: CSIRO Discovery Lecture Theatre
Black Mountain Laboratories
Corner of Clunies Ross Street and Barry Drive

Cost: Free – everyone welcome


Media are invited to attend this and upcoming "Biodiversity Bites" public lectures.

Mr Brendan Lepschi will be available for interview and photo opportunities will be available on the evening. Photographs can also be supplied on request.

The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research is a joint initiative between the Australian National Botanic Gardens and CSIRO Plant Industry.

For more information on upcoming "Biodiversity Bites" visit www.cpbr.gov.au/cpbr/lectures.


Media assistance:

Sophie Clayton,
CSIRO Plant Industry
02 6246 5139
0418 626 860

Attendance information:

Val Oliver,
CSIRO Plant Industry
02 6246 5533




Updated 6 August, 2002 by Murray Fagg (anbg-info@anbg.gov.au)