What are genera?

In this database, three taxonomic categories are featured prominently: family, genus, and species. Genera (plural of genus) are kinds of plants. Many genera are well-known, such as the different cereals and grasses, i.e. members of the family Poaceae: barley (Hordeum), oats (Avena), rye (Secale), wheat (Triticum), rice (Oryza), corn (Zea), wild rice (Zizania), sugar cane (Saccharum), bluegrass (Poa), or crabgrass (Digitaria). Note how the names of genera are capitalized. Note also how italics are used for the names of genera and for those of the taxa included within them (species and sub-specific taxa; these names are not capitalized).

Members of a genus typically share many morphological, chemical, or anatomical features that set them apart from other genera in the family. These shared, derived features are often seen as evidence that members of a genus share a single common ancestor, and so are monophyletic.

Further reading:
Davis, P. H. & V. H. Heywood (1965), Heslop-Harrison (1967), Stebbins (1993)

Muskoka Flora - Index : Frequently Asked Questions : What are genera?

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Last revision: 10 July 1996

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