Scientific Classification of our Native plants

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In my blogs, you may have noticed that I write about native plants and mostly refer to their latin names as well as the family in which they fit. The reason is that I do not wish to make it just another piece concerning the uses of native plants, but one where I would like to place them into a Binomial nomenclature, a system which is essential for the idea of order in my ‘virtual ethnobotanical garden’!

For the summary, below, of the Scientific Classification of the Vascular Plants  in the British Isles, I have gone through the 1232 pages of the ‘New Flora of the British Isles’ Third Edition by Clive Stace.

There is now a Fourth Edition of this and the below list is therefore no longer correct! Will alter the numbers correctly in bold, whilst families unknown will be not bold until I get hold of the latest version!

The Flora lists “all native, naturalised and crop plants and all casual plants recorded five or more times since 1930. In the Flora 4800 taxa are now covered in varying degrees of detail. It is the first British Flora to incorporate the new molecular system of classification based on DNA sequences, a scheme that is expected to endure for centuries to come.”

A bit more about general classification can be found here:

For the purpose of this blog I will mainly list the true natives, archaeophytes,  neophytes  or other well known ornamental/crop plants. Many of those above plants are well spread into the wild, either having been introduced as an ornamental and escaped or unintentionally through, for example, bird seed (called bird seed aliens), or by the woollen industry (called woollen aliens). 

They can also, even some true natives, grow only very localised; in just a small habitat.

Below you can find a summary of all the 170 plant families found in Stace with the most important genus, genera or and species added. Often I will only mention the genus and/or spp (see below for abbreviations used) if there are more than one variety of that plant.


Archaeophytes: in Stace’s glossary it says: An archaeophyte is a plant that is mostly associated with man’s activities (e.g. a weed of cultivated ground) and has existed in BI since at least Medieval times; uncertain whether native or introduced.

intrd-natd:- introduced and naturalized.

Stace or St.:- meaning from the ‘New Flora of the British Isles’-Third and Fourth Edition by Clive Stace

Spp or sp: The abbreviation “sp.” is used when the actual specific name cannot or need not be specified. The abbreviation “spp.” (plural) indicates several species“. For example Canis sp. means “an unspecified species of the genus Canis”, while “Canis spp.” means “two or more species of the genus Canis”. See also more about classification here:

ssp: subspecies  is a taxonomic category that ranks below species, usually a fairly permanent geographically isolated race. Subspecies are designated by a Latin trinomial, e.g.  Beta vulgaris crassa.

agg:   (in this context as has many meanings)  aggregate or a mass or body of units or parts somewhat loosely associated with one another.

Stace’s Flora then, starts off with the most primitive of plants called the


1 LYCOPODIACEAE – Clubmoss family

2 SELAGINELLACEAE – Lesser clubmoss family

3 ISOETACEAE – Quillwort family


4 OPHIOGLOSSACEAE – Adder’s-tongue family

Next the


5 EQUISETACEAE – Horsetail family .


6 OSMUNDACEAE –Royal Fern family

7 HYMENOPHYLLACEAE – Filmy-fern family

8 MARSILEACEAE – Pillwort family

9 SALVINIACEAE – Water fern family

11 DENNSTAEDTIACEAE – Bracken family

12 PTERIDACEAE – Ribbon Fern family

13 ASPLENIACEAE –Spleenwort family

14 THELYPTERIDACEAE – Marsh Fern family

15 WOODSIACEAE – Lady-fern family

16 BLECHNACEAE – Hard-fern family

18 DRYOPTERIDACEAE – Buckler-fern family

19 POLYPODIACEAE – Polypody family

Then the Conifers or GYMNOSPERMS (number 22-25 in Stace)

20 PINACEAE – Pine family only 1 species true native (Pinus sylvestris but many are introduced and grown for various uses

21 ARAUCARIACEAE – The Monkey Puzzle, introduced as an ornamental from Chile and W. Argentina

22 TAXACEAE – Yew family or Taxus baccata

23 CUPRESSACEAE – Juniper family most conifers of this family are introduced and grown as ornamental. Only true native is Juniperus communis and the subspecies are also quite localised only.

Then finally the primitive Angiosperms: (number families 24-28 in Stace)


28 NYMPHAECEAE –  Water Lily family with native White Water Llily (Nymphaea alba) and the Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea as well as N. pumila or Least Water Llily)

27 ARISTOLOCHIACEAE – Birthwort family with introduced and naturalized genera Asarum and Aristolochia.

28 LAURACEAE – Bay family with introduced as ornamental or for culinary purposes the Laurus nobilis or Bay. 

The true Dicotyledons EU-DICOTS (families 29- 138)

29 CERATOPHYLLACEAE – Hornwort family which are all aquatic plants

30 PAPAVERACEAE – Poppy family with genera Papaver (Poppies), Meconopsis (Welsh Poppy), Glaucium (Horned Poppies), Chelidonium (Greater Celandine), Pseudofumaria lutea (syn. Corydalis lutea or Yellow Corydalis), Fumaria or Fumitory.

31 BERBERIDACEAE – Barberry family: Berberis vulgaris is the only native, archaeophyte plant, many other Barberries are introduced as ornamental and can spread by seed mostly eaten and distributed by birds.

32 RANUNCULACEAE – Buttercup family

Caltha (C. palustris or Marsh Marigold); Trollius europaeus or Globeflower): Helleborus or the Hellebores: H. foetidus maybe native as well as H. viridis ssp. occidentalis, Anemone nemerosa (and var. caerulea) or Wood Anemone, Pulsatilla vulgaris or Pasqueflower, Clematis vitalba or Traveler’s Joy / ‘Old man’s Beard’, Ranunculus or Buttercups: R. acris and  ssp. (Meadow Buttercup), R. repens (Creeping Buttercup), R. bulbosus (Bulbous Buttercup) + several other small flowered species as well as aquatic species. Ficaria verna (syn. R. ficaria) or Lesser Celandine has several ssp. as well as ornamental varieties. Aquilegia vulgaris or Columbine; native populations are usually all violet blue flowered. Thalictrum or Meadow Rues: 2 native sp. T.  flavum and T.  minus.

33 PLATANACEAEPlane family

Introduced tree of parks and urban roads: Platanus x hispanica or London Plane

34 BUXACEAE – Box family: Buxus sempervirens or Box

37 GROSSULARIACEAE – Gooseberry family: Ribes rubrum or Red Currant, R. spicatum or Downy Currant, R. nigrum or Black Currant, R. alpinum or Mountain Currant, R. uva-crispa or Gooseberry. The Black and Gooseberry are likely to be introduced a long time ago but naturalized by self-seeding (birds).

38 SAXIFRAGACEAE – Saxifrage family

Saxifraga sps. Several native as well as introduced and naturalized

Chrysosplenium or Golden saxifrages

39 CRASSULACEAE – Stonecrop family

Umbilicus or U. rupestris (Navelwort), Sedum rosea (syn. Rhodiola rosea), S. acre (Biting Stonecrop), S. album (White Stonecrop – Archaeophyte),  S. anglicum (English Stonecrop).

40 HALORAGACEAE – Water Milfoil family

42 FABACEAE– Pea family (Leguminosae, Papilionaceae, Caesalpiniaceae and Mimosaceae) split also in to several tribes and sections in Stace. + other botanical works.

This is a large family, with the important ability to be able to fix its own nitrogen.

The most important native genera for us are: Oxytropis, Onobrychis (Sainfoin), Anthyllis (Kidney Vetch), Lotus (Bird’s-foot trefoils), Vicia (V. sativa (Common Vetch), Lathyrus  (Peas), Ononis (Restharrows), Melilotus (Melilots), Medicago (Medicks), Trifolium (Clovers), Cytisus (Brooms), Genista (Greenweeds) and Ulex (Gorses).

43 POLYGALACEAE – Milkwort family

Polygala spp. or Milkworts

44 ROSACEAE – Rose family

Large family split in to subfamilies, with several important native genera in

  • Subfamily 1: SPIRAEOIDEAE; Dryas (Mountain Avens), Prunus (Cherries), Pyrus (Pears- mostly Archaeophyte), Malus: M. sylvestris (Crab Apple), Sorbus (Whitebeams- Mountain Ashes)) several species which grow in limited areas as native and more widespread are aucuparia (Mountain Ash), S. aria (Common Whitebeam), S. torminalis (Wild Service Tree), Cotoneaster (mostly introduced by bird dropped seeds in gardens), Mespilus (Medlar-Archaeophyte for 4 centuries p. 238 St.), Crataegus (Hawthorns).

Subfamily 2: ROSOIDEAE; Filipendula (Meadowsweet) – F. vulgaris & F. ulmaria, Rubus (Brambles): most important species are: R.  fruticosus or ‘Common Blackberry’ – but not really, as split in to many sections and series (St. 241-242).  In the Wild Flower Key by F. Rose, p. 256  it says:  R. fruticosus is realy an agg of very numerous microspecies, differing in types of stem armament, hair and gland distribution, leaf shape, flower colour, and fruit shape, colour and flavour. Also R. idaeus (Raspberry), R. chamaemorus (Cloudberry), Potentilla (Cinquefoils), Comarum palustre (Potentilla palustre or Marsh Cinquefoil), Fragaria or  F. vesca (Wild Strawberry) Barren Strawberry?), Geum (Avens), Agrimonia (Agrimonies), Sanguisorba (Burnets), Alchemilla (Lady’s-mantle), Aphanes (Parsley piert), Rosa (Roses! See 268 St.: ‘An extremely complex genus..’),  R. arvensis (Field-rose),  R. spinosissima (Burnet Rose), and R. canina (Dog-rose) being the better known ones.

45 ELAEAGNACEAE – Sea buckthorn family

Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea buckthorn)

46 RHAMNACEAE – Buckthorn family

Rhamnus cathartica (Buckthorn) and Frangula alnus (Alder Buckthorn)

47 ULMACEAE – Elm family

Ulmus glabra (Wych Elm), U. x hollandica (Dutch elm), U. procera (English Elm), U. minor and ssp. minor (Small-leaved elm), U. minor ssp. angustifolia (Cornish Elm), U. minor ssp. sarniensis (Jersey Elm), U. plotii (Plot’s Elm) as well as many crosses between species. 

48 CANNABACEAE – Hop family: Humulus lupulus (Hop), Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Intrd-casual; formerly grown for fibre and still illicitly on small scale for drug, now again being grown in trials as a fibre or oilseed crop; imported in mixed birdseed and frequent on tips, etc.

50 URTICACEAE – Nettle family

Urtica dioica (Common Nettle), U. urens (Small Nettle), Parietaria judaica (Pellitory-of-the-wall).

52 FAGACEAE – Beech family

Fagus sylvatica (Beech), Quercus petraea (Sessile Oak) & Q. robur (Pedunculate Oak).

53 MYRICACEAE – Bog Myrtle family

Myrica gale (Bog Myrtle)

55 BETULACEAE – Birch family

Betula pendula (Silver Birch), B. pubescens (Downy Birch), B. nana (Dwarf Birch), Alnus glutinosa (Alder), Carpinus betulus (Hornbeam), Corylus avellana (Hazel).

56 CUCURBITACEAE –White Bryony family

Bryonia dioica (White Bryony)

57 CELASTRACEAE – Spindle family

Euonymus europaeus (Spindle)

58 PARNASSIACEAE – Grass-of-Parnassus family

Parnassia palustris (Grass-of-Parnassus)

59 OXALIDACEAE – Wood Sorrel family

Oxalis acetosella (Wood Sorrel)

60 EUPHORBIACEAE – Spurge family

Mercurialis or Mercuries; M.perennis (Dog’s Mercury), Euphorbia or Spurges e.g.  E. peplis, E. helioscopia, E. amygdaloides ssp. amygdaloides (Wood Spurge).

62 SALICACEAE –Willow family

Not only genus Salix (Willow) but also Populus (Poplar)

63 VIOLACEAE – Violet family; the more common ones are Viola odorata (Sweet Violet), V.  riviniana (Common Dog Violet), andV.  tricolor (Wild Pansy)

64 LINACEAE – Flax family: The most common species is introduced:                          Linum usitatissimum (Flax) but there are several native species found on dry often calcareous soils.

65 HYPERICACEAE – St. John’s Wort family. The most-known and common one is         H.  perforatum or Perforate St John’s Wort but there are several other native St. John’s Worts in Britain.

66 GERANIACEAE – Cranesbill family has 3 native genera: Geranium (or Cranesbill), Monsonia (Dysentry herbs) and Erodium (Storksbill)

Especially the Geranium has several ornamental natives.

67 LYTHRACEAE – Purple-loosestrife family

Lythrum salicaria is the common but very attractive native Purple loosestrife always found in wet areas.

68 ONAGRACEAE –Willowherb family

There are many species of Epilobium with E. hirsutum (Great Willowherb) being one of the easiest to recognize. The Rosebay Willowherb is another easy one to recognize and is in another genus: Chamerion angustifolium. Other notable genera are: Oenothera (Evening primroses), Ludwigia, Fuchsia, Circaea (Enchanter’s nightshades) and Clarkia (not native).

72 SAPINDACEAE – Maple family. The Acer has only one true native species:               Acer campestre or Field Maple. The Sycamore or A. pseudoplatanus and  A. platanoides (Norway Maple) are also common but both introduced and naturalised especially the former!)). Aesculus or Horse Chestnut is also a genus of this family and Aesculus hippcastanum has been introduced but is often naturalized. It has been severely attacked by Horse chestnut leaf miner in recent years.  Cameraria ohridella is a leaf mining moth that attacks the leaves of horse chestnut.

75 MALVACEAE – Mallow family:  The three native genera are Tilia (Lime), Malva (Mallows) and Althaea (Marsh-mallow).

76 THYMELACEAE – Mezereon family: Two native species of Dapne (Mezereons) are:  D. mezereon  and D. laureola (Spurge laurel).

77 CISTACEAE– Rock rose family: There are several native Helianthemum species (Common Rock rose) and Spotted Rock rose is Tuberaria guttata.

80 RESEDACEAE– Mignonette family: Reseda lutea (Wild Mignonette) and Reseda luteola (Weld) are the best known members.

81 BRASSICACEAE – Cabbage family

Large family with many native genera & species such as:

Arabidopsis (Thale Cresses), Capsella bursa-pastoris or Shepherd’s Purse, Turritis glabra or Tower Mustard, Barbarea vulgaris or Winter-cress, Rorippa (Yellow-cress), Nasturtium (Watercress), Armoracia rusticana or Horseradish; not native but widely naturalized, Cardamine (Bittercress and C. pratensis or Cuckooflower/Ladysmock, Lepidium (Pepperworts), Subularia aquatic or Awlwort, Lunaria (Honesty – not native, but an interesting plant!), Alyssum, Aurinia, Berteroa, Lobularia, Descurainia all non-natives some used in gardens. Hornungia petraea or Hutchinsia, Arabis (Rock cress), Draba  (Erophila) (Whitlowgrasses), Brassica oleracea or Cabbage, Sinapis (Mustards), Hirschfeldia incana or Hoary Mustard, not native but increasingly natd., Coincya (C. wrightii or Lundy Cabbage,    C. monensis ssp. monensis = Isle of Man Cabbage, C. monensis ssp. cheiranthos = Wallflower Cabbage), Cakile maritima or Sea Rocket, Rapistrum (non-native Cabbages), Crambe maritima or Sea-kale, Raphanus (R. raphanistrum ssp. raphanistrum or Wild Radish = Archaeophyte and ssp. maritimus or Sea Radish), Sisymbrium officinale or Hedge Mustard = Archaeophyte), Isatis tinctoria or Woad = Archaeophyte), Alliaria petiolata or Garlic Mustard, Teesdalia nudicaulis or Sheperd’s Cress, Thlaspi arvense or Field Pennycress = Arch.), Noccaea caerulescens or Alpine Pennycress, Microthlaspi perfoliatum or Perfoliate Pennycress, Hesperis matronalis or Dame’s Violet non-native ornamental) Matthiola (Stocks), Malcolmia maritima or Virginia Stock = not native, Cochlearia (Scurvygrasses), Iberis (Candytufts I. amara or Wild Candytuft  is only native plant).

82 SANTALACEAE – Bastard toadflax family

This family has 2 genera of totally different appearance (St. 425)

Thesium (T. humifusum or Bastard toadflax) and Viscum (V. album or Mistletoe)

83 FRANKENIACEAE – Sea-heath family

Frankenia laevis or Sea-heath

85 PLUMBAGINACEAE – Thrift family

With many species of Limonium (L. vulgare or Comon Sea lavender is the most known one) and Armeria (Thrifts).

86 POLYGONACEAE – Knotweed family

Persicaria (Knotweeds: many species and some interesting native ones), Koenigia islandica or Iceland-purslane, Fagopyrum esculentum  or Buckwheat = non native, but old cultivated plant), Polygonum (Knotgrasses), Fallopia japonica or Japanese Knotweed being the most known (hated!) one, Rheum rhabarbarum or Rhubarb the edible non native one, Rumex (Docks), Oxyria digyna or Mountain Sorrel).

87 DROSERACEAE – Sundew family

Drosera or Sundews

88 CARYOPHYLLACEAE – Pink family subdivided in three subfamilies

  • SUBFAMILY 1 – ALSINOIDES (genera 1 -11)

Arenaria (Sandworts): several native species and 2 intrd-natd, Moehringia trinervia or Three-nerved Sandwort. Honckenya peploides or Sea Sandwort, Minuartia sps. (Sandworts), Stellaria sps. or Stitchworts, Cerastium sps. or Mouse-ear, Myosoton aquaticum or Water Chickweed, Sagina sps. or Pearlworts, Scleranthus sps or Knawels.

  • SUBFAMILY 2 – (genera 12 – 17)

Corrigiola litoralis or Strapwort, Herniaria sps. or Ruptureworts, Illecebrum verticillatum or Coral-necklace, Polycarpon tetraphyllum or Four-leaved Allseed, Spergula sps. or Spurreys, Spergularia sps or Sea-spurreys.

  • SUBFAMILY 3 – CARYOPHYLLACEAE (genera 18-24)

Agrostemma githago (Corncockle), Silene spp or Campions, Saponaria officinalis or Soapwort – Archaeophyte, Petrorhagia spp. & Dianthus spp.  both are known as Pinks.

89 AMARANTHACEAE – Goosefoot family

Chenopodium spp. or Goosefoots, Atriplex spp or Oraches, Beta vulgaris ssp maritima or Sea Beet, Sarcocornia perennis or Perennial Glasswort, Salicornia spp or Glassworts, Suaeda spp. or Sea-blites, Salsola spp. or Saltworts, Amaranthus spp or Pigweeds all intrd-natd,

90 AIZOACEAE – Dewplant family

All genera intrd-natd form S. Africa and growing often particularly well on the Scilly Isles.

93 MONTIACEAE – Blinks family

Montia fontana or Blinks

95 CORNACEAE – Dogwood family

2 native spp: Cornus sanguinea ssp. sanguinea or Dogwood and C. suecica or Dwarf Cornel.

97 BALSAMINACEAE – Balsam family

Impatiens noli-tangere or Touch-me-not Balsam is only native, others intrd-natd.

99 PRIMULACEAE – Primrose family

Primula spp. (Primroses), Hottonia palustris or Water-violet, Lysimachia spp. or  the Loosestrifes, Glaux maritima or Sea Milkwort, Anagallis or Pimpernels, Trientalis europaea or Chickweed wintergreen, Centunculus minimus or Chaffweed.

100 DIAPENSIACEAE – Diapensia family

Diapensia lapponica or Diapensia

102 ERICACEAE – Heather family Dock

Arbutus unedo or Strawberry tree, Arctostaphylos or Bearberries, Empetrum nigrum or Crowberry, Phyllodoce caerulea or Blue Heath, Kalmia procumbens or Trailing Azalea, Daboecia cantabrica or St. Dabeoc’s Heath, Calluna vulgaris or Heather, Erica spp, or Heaths, Andromeda polifolia or Bog rosemary, Vaccinium spp. or Billberries, Pyrola or Wintergreens, Orthilia secunda or Serrated Wintergreen, Moneses uniflora or One-flowered Wintergreen, Hypopitys monotropa and ssp. Yellow Bird’s-nest.

104 RUBIACEAE – Bedstraw family

Sherardia arvensis or Field Madder, Asperula cynanchia or Squinancywort, Galium spp or Bedstraws, Cicendia filiformis or Yellow Centaury, Exaculum pusillum or Guernsey Centaury,  Centaurium spp. – Centauries, Blackstonia perfoliata or Yellow-wort, Gentianella spp. – Gentians, Gentianopsis ciliata or Fringed Gentian, Gentiana spp. – Gentians.

106 APOCYNACEAE – Periwinkle family

Vinca minor or Lesser Periwinkle is Archaeophyte.

107 BORAGINACEAE – Borage family

Lithospermum spp or Cromwells, Echium or Viper’s buglosses, Pulmonaria or Longworts, Symphytum or Comfreys, Anchusa arvensis or Bugloss – Archaeophyte, Pentaglottis sempervirens or Green Alkanet: intrd-natd., Mertensia maritima or Oysterplant, Myosotis sps. – Forget-me-nots, Cynoglossum or Houndstongue.

108 CONVOLVULACEAE – Bindweed family

Convolvulus arvensis or Field Bindweed, Calystegia or Bindweeds, Cuscuta or Dodders.

109 SOLANACEAE – Nightshade family

Lycium or Teaplants, Atropa belladonna or Deadly Nightshade, Hyoscyamus niger or Henbane, Datura stramonium or Thorn Apple, Solanum or Nightshades.

110 OLEACEAE – Ash family

Fraxinus excelsior or Ash, Ligustrum vulgare or Wild Privet.

113 VERONICACEAE – Speedwell family

Digitalis purpurea or Fogglove, Veronica spp. or Speedwells (a large genus and has 10 sub-genera), Sibthorpia europaea or Cornish Moneywort, Chaenorhinum minus or Small Toadflax – Archaeophyte, Misopates orontium or Weasel’s-snout, Cymbalaria muralis or Ivy-leaved Toadflax – Intrd-Natd, Kickxia or Fluellens- both species are Archaeophytes, Linaria or Toadflaxes.

114 PLANTAGINACEAE – Plantain family

Plantago spp. – Plantains, Litorella uniflora or Shoreweed.

115 HIPPURIDACEAE – Marestail family

Hippuris vulgaris or Marestail

116 CALLITRICHACEAE – Water starwort family

Callitriche spp. – Water starworts

117 SCROPHULARIACEAE – Figwort family

Verbascum spp. or Mulleins, Scrophularia spp. – Figworts, Limosella spp. or Mudworts, Buddleia davidii or Butterfly bush – Intrd-Natd.

118 LAMIACEAE – Dead-nettle family

Stachys sps. or Woundworts, Betonica officinalis or Betony, Ballota nigra or Black Horehound – Archaeophyte, Leonorus cardiac or Motherwort – Intrd-Natd., Lamiastrum galeobdolon and ssp. or Yellow Archangel, Lamium spp. or Dead-nettles, Galeopsis spp. native and Archaeophyte – Hemp-nettles, Melittis melissophylum or Bastard Balm, Marrubium vulgare or White Horehound, Scutellaria spp. or Skullcaps, Teucrium spp. or Germanders, Ajuga spp. or Bugles, Nepeta cataria or Cat-mint – Archaeophyte, Glechoma hederacea or Ground-ivy, Prunella spp. or Selfheals, Clinopodium spp. or Calamints, Origanum vulgare or Wild Marjoram, Thymus spp. or Thymes,  Lycopus europaeus or Gypsywort, Mentha spp. or Mints, Salvia spp. or Claries.

121 ORABANCHACEAE – Broomrape family

Melampyrum sps. or Cow-wheats, Euphrasia sps. or Eyebrights, Odontitis spp. or Bartsias, Bartsia alpina or Alpine Bartsia, Parentucellia viscosa or Yellow Bartsia, Rhinanthus spp. or Yellow-rattles, Pedicularis spp. or Louseworts, Lathraea spp. or Toothworts, Orobanche spp or Broomrapes.

122 LENTIBULARIACEAE – Bladderwort family

Pinguicula spp. or Butterworts, Utricularia spp. or Bladderworts

123 ACANTHACEAE – ‘Bear’s breeches’ family

Acanthus spp or Bear’s breeches

123 A. BIGNONIACEAE – Indian Bean family

Eccremocarpus scaber or Chilean Gloryflower, Catalpa bignoides or Indian bean tree.

124 VERBENACEAE – Vervain family

Verbena officinalis or Vervain

125 AQUIFOLIACEAE – Holly family

Ilex aquifolium or Holly

126 CAMPANULACEAE – Bellflower family

Campanula spp. or Bellflowers, Legousia or Venus’s-looking-glasses, Wahlenbergia or Ivy-leaved Bellflower, Phyteuma or Rampions, Jasione montana or Sheep’s-bit, Lobelia spp. or Lobelias.

127 MENYANTHACEAE – Bogbean family

Menyanthes trifoliata or Bogbean, Nymphoides peltata or Fringed Water-lily.

128 ASTERACEAE – Daisy family


TRIBE 1 – CYNAREAE (Cardueae, Echinopeae, Carlineae (genera 1 – 13)

Echinops or Globe-thistles, Carlina vulgaris or Carline Thistle, Arctium spp. or Burdocks, Cirsium sps. or Thistles, Onopordum acathium or Cotton thistle, Cynara or Globe Artichoke, Silybum marianum or Milk Thistle, Serratula tinctoria or Saw-wort, Centaurea sps. or Knapweeds, Carthamus or Safflowers.


TRIBE 2 – CICHORIEAE (tribes 2-3; genera 14-38)

Scolymus or Golden Thistle, Cichorium intybus or Chicory, Catananche caerulea or Blue Cupidone, Arnoseris minima or Lamb’s Succory, Lapsana communis or Nipplewort, Hypochaeris spp. or Catsear, Schorzoneroides autumnalis or Autumn Hawkbit, Leontodon spp or Hawkbits, Picris hieracioides or Hawkweed Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides or Bristly Oxtongue, Scorzonera humilis or Viper’s grass, Tragopogon pratensis or Goatsbeard, Sonchus spp. or Sowthistles, Lactuca spp. or Lettuces, Cicerbita alpina or Alpine Blue-sowthistle, Mycelis muralis or Wall Lettuce, Taraxacum or Dandelions: “A very critical genus in which apomixes is the rule, 234 microspp. Are currently recognised in BI, of which >40 are probably endemic but 1/2 of the rest native. In this work (Stace p. 712) the microspp. are not treated in full but are aggregated into 9 rather ill-defined sections, determination of which is often not easy even after much experience.” Crepis spp. Or Hawksbeard, Pilosella spp. or Mouse-ear-hawksweed, Hieracium spp. or Hawkweed.

TRIBE 3 – ARCTOTIDEAE (genera 37-38)

  • SUBFAMILY 3 – ASTEROIDEAE (tribes 4-16; genera 39-104)

TRIBE 4 – GNAPHALIEAE (genera 39-44)

Filago spp. or Cudweeds, Antennaria dioica or Mountain Everlasting, Gnaphalium spp. or Cudweeds.

TRIBE 5 – INULEAE (genera 45-48)

Inula spp. or Fleabanes, Pulicaria spp. or Fleabanes.

TRIBE 6 – ASTEREAE (genera 49-59)

Solidago vigaurea or Goldenrod, Aster spp. or Michaelmas daisies, Erigeron spp. or Fleabanes, Conyza spp. or Fleabanes, Olearia or Daisy bushes, Baccharis or Tree Groundsel, Bellis perennis or Daisy.

TRIBE 7 ANTHEMIDEAE (genera 60-73)

Tanacetum spp. or Tansies, Artemisia spp. or Mugworts, Achillea spp. or Yarrows, Chamaemelum nobile or Chamomile, Anthemis spp. as well as hybrid crosses of genera Anthemis x Tripleurospermum = x Tripleurothemis,  or Chamomiles, Glebionis segetum or Corn Marigold, Leucanthemum vulgare or Oxeye Daisy, Matricaria spp. or Mayweeds, Tripleurospermum spp. or Mayweeds, Cotula spp. or Buttonweeds.

TRIBE 8 – SENECIONEAE (genera 74-84)

Senecio spp. or Ragworts, Tehroseris spp. or Fleaworts, Tussilago farfara or Coltsfoot, Petasites spp. or Butterburs.

TRIBE 9 – CALENDULEAE (genera 85-86)

Calendula spp. or Marigolds

TRIBE 10 – HELIANTHEAE (genera 87-91)

All of the genera seem to be introduced ones often through wool-industry through birdseed, oilseed (e.g. Ambrosia spp. or Ragweeds)or escaped ornamental plant (e.g. Rudbeckia  (Coneflower) & Helianthus (Sunflower).

TRIBE 11 – MILLERIEAE (genera 92-94)

Guizotia abyssinica or Niger (bird-seed), Sigesbeckia spp. or St Paul’s-worts, Galinsoga spp. or Gallant-soldiers

TRIBE 12 – COREOPSIDEAE (genera 95-98)

Bidens spp. (Bur-marigolds), Coreopsis spp., Cosmos bipinnatus, Dahlia. The last 3 genera are well known ornamental garden plants.

TRIBE 13 – TAGETEAE (genus 99) Tagetes spp. (Marigolds) – ornamental

TRIBE 14 – BAHIEAE (genus 100) Schikuhria pinnata. (Dwarf Marigold) wool alien from Americas

TRIBE 15 – HELENIEAE (genera 101-102) Gaillardia x grandiflora,  Helenium autumnale   Both well known ornamental plants.

TRIBE 16 – EUPATORIEAE (genera 103-104)

Eupatorium cannabinum (Hemp agrimony) and Ageratum houstonianum (Flossflower) an ornamental annual plant.

129 ESCALLONIACEAE – Escallonia family (ornamental shrubs)

130 ADOXACEAE – Moschatel family

Adoxa moschatellina (Moschatel)

131 CAPRIFOLIACEAE – Honeysuckle family

Sambucus nigra or Elder and S. ebulus (Dwarf Elder), Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose) and V. lantana (Wayfaring tree), Symphoricarpus albus (Snowberry),  Linnaea borealis (Twinflower), Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle), Weigela florida (Weigelia), Lonicera periclymenum (Honeysuckle).

132 VALERIANACEAE – Valerian family

Valerianella locusta (Common Cornsalad), V. eriocarpa (Hairy-fruited Cornsalad) and various Valerianella spp. (Archaeophytes), Valeriana officinalis (Common Valerian) and V. dioica (Marsh Valerian), Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) intrd-natd.

133 DIPSACACEAE – Teasel family

Dipsacus fullonum (Wild Teasel), D. sativus (Fuller’s Teasel), D. pilosus (Small Teasel), Cephalaria sp. (Giant Scabious) a garden escape, Knautia arvensis (Field Scabious), Succisa pratensis (Devil’s-bit Scabious), Scabiosa columbaria (Small Scabious).

134 GRISELINIACEAE – Broadleaf family

Griselinia littoralis (New Zealand Broadleaf) is a good seaside hedge in south and west of the country.

135 PITTOSPORACEAE – Pittosporum family again is most common in south and west as ornamental hedge.

136 ARALIACEAE – Ivy family

The only native member is Hedera helix or Common Ivy.

137 HYDROCOTYLACEAE – Pennywort family

Hydrocotyle vulgaris or Marsh Pennywort

138 APIACEAE (UMBELLIFERAE) – Carrot family

Fully ripe fruit is essential for identification purposes. This is a common and varied plant family in the British Isles. Many of our cultivated vegetables or herbs are in this family and are included below as well as the occasional plants grown in gardens as an ornamental.

  • SUBFAMILY 1:  SANICULOIDEAE (genera 1-3)

Sanicula europaea (Sanicle), Astrantia spp., Eryngium maritimum (Sea-holly).

  • SUBFAMILY 2:  APIOIDEAE (genera 4 – 50)

Chaerophyllum temulum (Rough Chervil), Anthriscus spp. (Chervils), Scandix pectin-veneris (Shepherd’s-needle) rare Archaeophyte, Myrrhis odorata (Sweet Cicely), Coriandrum sativum (Coriander), Smyrnium olusatrum (Alexanders), Bunium bulbocastanum (Great Pignut), Conopodium majus (Pignut), Pimpinella spp. (Burnet-saxifrages), Aegopodium podagraria (Ground-elder) Archaeophyte, Sium latifolium (Greater Water-parsnip), Berula erecta (Lesser Water-parsnip), Crithmum maritimum (Rock Samphire), Seseli libanotis (Moon Carrot), Oenanthe spp. (Water-dropworts), Aethusa cynapium (Fool’s Parsley), Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) Archaeophyte, Anethum graveolens (Dill), Silaum silaus (Pepper-saxifrage), Meum athamanticum (Spignel), Physospermum cornubiense (Bladderseed), Conium maculatum (Hemlock) Archaeophyte, Bupleurum spp. (Hare’s-ears), Trinia glauca (Hornewort), Cuminum cyminum (Cumin), Apium spp. (Marshworts) Apium graveolens (Wild Celery), Trachyspermum ammi (Ajowan), Petroselinum spp. (Parsleys), Ridolfia segetum (False Fennel), Sison amomum (Stone Parsley), Cicuta virosa (Cowbane), Ammi spp. (Bullworts)-grown as an annual cut-flower, Falcaria vulgaris (Longleaf), Carum carvi (Caraway) & C. verticillatum (Whorled Caraway), Selinum carvifolia (Cambridge Milk-parsley), Ligusticum scoticum (Scots Lovage), Angelica sylvestris (Wild Angelica) & A. archangelica (Garden Angelica), Levisticum officinale (Lovage), Ferula communis (giant Fennel), Peucedanum officinale (Hog’s Fennel), Thyselium palustre (Milk-parsley), Imperatoria ostruthium (Masterwort), Pastinaca sativa (Parsnip), Heracleum sphondylium (Hogweed) & H. mantegazzianum (Giant Hogweed), Tordylium maximum (Hartwort), Torilis spp. (Hedge-parsleys), Daucus carota ssp. carota (Wild Carrot) & D. carota ssp. sativus (Carrot).


139 ACORACEAE – Sweet flag family

Acorus spp. (Sweet flag).

140 ARACEAE – Lords-and-Ladies family

Arum maculatum or Lords-and-Ladies is the only native representative.

141 LEMNACEAE – Duckweed family

Spirodela polyrhiza (greater Duckweed), Lemna spp. (Duckweeds), Wolffia arrhiza (Rootless Duckweed).

142 TOFIELDIACEAE – Scottish Asphodel family

Toffieldia pusilla (Scottish Asphodel)

143 ALISMATACEAE – Water-plantain family

Sagittaria sagittifolia (Arrowhead), Baldellia ranunculoides (Lesser Water-plantain), Luronium natans (Floating Water-plantain), Alisma spp. (Water-plantains), Damasonium alisma (Starfruit).

144 BUTOMACEAE – Flowering rush family

Butomus umbellatus (Flowering rush)

145 HYDROCHARITACEAE – Frogbit family

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (Frogbit), Stratiotes aloides (Water-soldier), Elodea spp. (Waterweeds), Hydrilla verticillata (Esthwaite Waterweed), Lagarosiphon major (Curly Waterweed), Vallisneria spiralis (Tapegrass), Najas spp. (Naiads)

146 SCHEUCHZERIACEAE – Rannoch-rush family

Scheuchzeria palustris (Rannoch-rush)

147 APONOGETONACEAE – Cape-pondweed family

Aponogeton distachyos (Cape-pondweed)

148 JUNCAGINACEAE – Arrowgrass family

Triglochin spp. (Arrowgrasses)

149 ZOSTERACEAE –  Eelgrass family

Zostera spp. (Eelgrasses)

150 POTAMOGETONACEAE – Pondweed family

Potamogeton spp (Pondweeds with 27 species and 28 hybrids), Groenlandia densa (Opposite-leaved Pondweed), Zannichellia palustris (Horned Pondweed)

151 RUPPIACEAE – Tasselweed family

Ruppia spp. (Tasselweeds)

152 NARTHECIACEAE – Bog Asphodel family

Narthecium ossifragum (Bog Asphodel)

153 DIOSCOREACEAE – Black Bryony family

Tamus communis (Black Bryony)

154  MELANTHIACEAE – Herb-Paris family

Paris quadrifolia (Herb-Paris)

155 ALSTROEMERIACEAE – Peruvian Lily family

Alstroemeria aurea is grown as an ornamental garden plant as well as a cut flower

156 COLCHIACEAE – Meadow Saffron family

Colchicum autumnale (Meadow Saffron)

157 LILIACEAE – Lily family

Gagea spp. (Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem), Erythronium dens-canis (Dog’s-tooth-violet) Intrd-natd., Tulipa, Fritillaria meleagris (Fritillary) doubtfully native, Lilium Intrd-natd.

158 ORCHIDACEAE – Orchid family

“Many of the spp. are prone to produce plants with unusual labellum-shapes or flower-colours (e.g. albinos, chlorophyll-less), but these usually occur in populations of normal plants. The distinctive flowers could be confused only by the very inexperienced with a few petaloid monocotyledons or dicotyledons (e.g. Impatiens, Orobanche, Pinguicula): the inferior ovary and 1(-2) stamens on a column will dispel the confusion.

Hybrids occur frequently within the tribe Orchidaceae, especially within Dactylorhiza, and should be looked for whenever >2 spp. of the tribe occur close together. Hybrids between 2 spp. with the same chromosome number are not always completely sterile. 8 intergeneric hybrid combinations also occur, 6 of them between genera 12-16. Other intergeneric hybrid combinations have also been recorded from BI, several of them (e.g. Planthera x Coeloglossum, Planthera x Dactylorhiza) known from the Continent, but are of uncertain or erroneous identity.” (St. 858-859)

The family is split into 6 tribes and 22 genera


Cyprepedium calceoles (Lady’s slipper) a now very rare native on north-facing grassy slope on limestone in MW Yorks (St. 860)

TRIBE 2 – NEOTTIEAE (genus 2 – 4)

Cephalanthera spp. (Helleborines), Epipactis spp. (Helleborines) and Neottia spp. (Twayblades)


Epipogium aphyllum (Ghost Orchid)

TRIBE 4 – MALAXIDEAE (genus 6 – 7)

Liparis loeselii (Fen Orchid) and Hammarbya paludosa (Bog Orchid)

TRIBE 5 – CALYPSOEAE (genus 8)

Corallorhiza trifida (Coralroot Orchid)

TRIBE 6 – CRANICHIDEAE (genera 9 – 10)

Spiranthes spp. (Lady’s tresses) and Goodyera repens (Creeping Lady’s tresses)

TRIBE 7 – ORCHIDACEAE (genera 11 – 22)

Herminium monorchis (Musk Orchid), Platanthera spp. (Butterfly orchids), Pseudoorchis albida (Small white Orchid), Gymnadenia spp. (Fragrant Orchids), Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid), Dactylorhiza spp. (Marsh Orchids), Orchis spp. (Orchids), Neotinea spp. (Dense flowered Orchids), Anacamptis spp. (Pyramidal Orchids), Himantoglossum hircinum (Lizard Orchid), Serapias parviflora (Lesser Tongue-orchid), Ophyrus spp. (Bee Orchids).

159 IRIDACEAE – Iris family

Aristea ecklonii (Blue Corn lily) Intrd-natd. On Tresco (Scilly Isls.), Libertia spp. (Chilean irises), Sisyrinchium spp. (Blue-eyed grass) all intrd.-natd., Hermodactylus tuberosus (Snake’s-head Iris) intrd.-natd., Iris spp. (Irises), Watsonia borbonica ( Bugle-lily) Intrd-natd. On Tresco (Scilly Isls.), Romulea columnae (Sand Crocus), Crocus spp.(Crocuses) all Intrd-natd., Gladiolus illyricus (Wild Gladiolus), Ixia spp. (Corn-lilies) Intrd.-natd., Sparaxis grandiflora (Plain Harlequinflower), Hesperantha coccinea (Kaffir Lily), Freesia x hybrid (Freesia), Crocosmia spp. (Montbretias) and Chasmanthe bicolour (Chasmanthe) all last genera intrd.-natd.

160 XANTHORRHOEACEAE – Asphodel family

The 5 genera are all individually distinctive and only one genus true native (Simethis)

Asphodelus albus (White Asphodel), Simethis mattiazzii (Kerry Lily), Hemerocallis spp. (Day lilies), Kniphofia spp. (Red hot pokers), Phormium spp. (New Zealand Flaxes)

161 AMARYLLIDACEAE – Daffodil family

Allium spp. (Onions) many intrd-natd but also several native species, Nectaroscordum siculum (Honey Garlic), Nothoscordum borbonicum (Honeybells), Agapanthus praecox (African Lily), Triteleia laxa (Triplet Lily), Tristagma uniflorum (Spring Starflower), Amaryllis belladonna (Jersey Lily), Crinum x powellii (Powell’s Cape lily), Sternbergia lutea (Winter Daffodil), Leucojum spp. (Snowflakes), Galanthus spp. (Snowdrops), Narcissus spp. (Daffodills) only N. pseudonarcissus is true native, Pancratium maritimum (Sea Daffodil) not sure if native. Most genera above are intrd.-natd. as ornamental garden plants.

162 ASPARAGACEAE – Asparagus family

Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-valley), Polygonatum spp. (Solomon’s seal), Maianthemum bifolium ( May Lily), Reineckea carnea (Reineckea) Intrd.-natd., Ornithogalum spp. (Star-of-Bethlehem) most are intrd.-natd., Scilla spp. (Squill), most are intrd-natd except for S. verna (Spring Squill) and S. autumnalis (Autumn Squill), Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Bluebell), Hyacinthus orientalis (Hyacinth), Muscari neglectum (Grape-hyacinth) other spp are intrd.- natd., Asparagus prostrates is only true Wild Asparagus, Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher’s broom), Yucca gloiosa (Spanish dagger), Cordyline australis (Cabbage palm), Agave americana (Centuryplant).

162A  ARECACEAE – Palm family

Phoenix dactylifera (Date Palm) with pinnate leaved and Trachycarpus fortunei (palmate-leaved) are 2 ornamental palms mostly seen in BI.

163 COMMELINACEAE – Spiderwort family

Tradescantia spp.


Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed) Intrd-natd.

165 TYPHACEAE – Bulrush family

Sparganium spp. (Bur reeds), Typha spp. (Bulrushes)

166 BROMELIACEAE – Rhodostachys family

Fascicularia bicolor (Rhodostachys) and Ochagavia carnea (Tresco Rhodostachys both originating from Chile.

167 ERIOCAULACEAE – Pipewort family

Eriocaulon aquaticum (Pipewort)

168 JUNCACEAE – Rush family

  • Juncus (Rushes) split into 9 sections:


Juncus planifolius (Broad-leaved Rush) Intrd-natd.

Section 2 – CAESPITOSI

Juncus capitatus (Dwarf rush)

Section 3 –  OZOPHYLLUM (spp. 3-8)

Section 4 – STYGIOPSIS (spp. 9-11)

Section 5 – JUNCUS (spp. 12-13)

Section 6 – STEIROCHLOA (spp. 14 – 20)

Section 7 – TENAGEIA (spp. 21 – 23)

Section 8 –  FORSKALINA ( sp. 24)

Section 9 – JUNCOTYPUS (spp. 25 – 30)

  • Luzula (Wood-rushes) 9 mostly native species.

169 CYPERACEAE – Sedge family

Eriophorum spp. (Cottongrasses), Trichophorum spp. (Deergrasses), Bolboschoenus maritimus (Sea Club-rush), Scirpus sylvaticus (Wood Club-rush), Schoenoplectus spp. (Club-rush), Eleocharis spp. (Spike-rush), Scirpoides holoschoenus (Round headed Club-rush), Isolepis spp. (Club-rush), Eleogiton fluitans (Floating Club-rush), Cyperus spp. (Galingales), Blysmus spp. (Flat sedge), Schoenus spp. (Bog rush), Cladium mariscus (Great Fen sedge), Rhynchospora spp. (Beak sedge), Kobresia simpliciuscula (False sedge), Carex spp.

Subgenus 1 – VIGNEA (spp. 1-22)

Subgenus 2 – CAREX (spp. 23-74)

Subgenus 3 – PSYLLOPHORA (spp. 75-78)

170 POACEAE – Grass family




Leersia oryzoides or Cut-grass




Nardus stricta or Mat-grass


Milium effusum or Wood Millet and Millium vernal or Early Millet.


Schedonorus or Fescues, Schedonorus x Lolium = x Schedolium, Lolium or Ryegrass, Lolium x Festuca = x Festulolium, Festuca spp or Fescues, Festuca x Vulpia = Festulpia, Vulpia or Fescues, Cynosurus cristatus or Crested Dog’s-tail, Pucinella spp or Saltmarsh grasses, Briza or Quaking grasses, Poa or Meadowgrasses (13 native species), Dactylis glomerata or Cock’s foot, Catabrosa aquatic or Worl-grass, Catapodium spp. Fern-grasses, Sesleria caerulea or Blue Moor-grass, Parapholis spp. or Hard-grasses, Hainardia cylindrica or One-glumed Hard-grass, Avenula spp. or Oat-grasses, Arrhenatherum elatius or False Oat-grass, Avena spp. or Oats, Trisetum spp. or Yellow Oat-grass, Koeleria spp. or Hair grasses, Deschampsia spp. or Hair grasses, Holcus spp or Soft grasses, Corynephorus canescens or Grey Hair grass, Aira spp. or Hair grass, Hierochloe odorata or Holy grass, Anthoxanthum odoratum or Sweet Vernal grass, Phalaris arundinacea or Reed Canary grass, Agrostis spp. or Bents, Calamagrostis spp. or Small-reed, Ammophila arenaria or Marram, Gastridium ventricosum or Nit-grass, Mibora minima or Early Sand-grass, Polypogon monspeliensis or Annual Beard-grass, Alopecurus spp. or Foxtails, Phleum spp or Cat’s-tails.


Glyceria spp. or Sweet-grasses, Melica spp. or Melicks.


Bromus spp. or Bromes, Anisantha spp. or Barren Bromes, Bromopsis spp. or Hairy Bromes, Ceratochloa spp. or American Bromes.


Brachypodium spp. or False Bromes.


Elymus caninus or Bearded Couch, Elytrigia spp. or Couches, Leymus arenarius or Lyme-grass, Hordelymus europaeus, Hordeum spp. or Barleys, Secale cereal or Rye, Triticum or Wheats.



Danthonia decumbens or Heath-grass, Cortaderia spp. or (Ornamental) Pampas Grass.


Molinia caerulea or Purple Moor-grass, Phragmites australis or Common Reed


TRIBE 13 – ERAGROSTIDEAE (all non-native)

Leptochloa spp. or Beetle-grasses, Eragrostis spp. or Love-grasses, Eleusine spp, or Yard-grasses, Dactyloctenium radulans or Button-grass, Sporobolus spp. or Dropseeds.


Chloris spp. or Rhodes-grasses, Cynodon spp. or Bermuda-grasses, Spartina spp. or Cord-grasses, Tragus spp. or Bur-grasses.


TRIBE 15 – PANICEAE (all non-native)

Panicum spp. or Millets, Echinochloa spp or Cockspurs, Brachiaria spp. or Signal-grasses, Urochloa panicoides or Sharp-flowered Signal-grass, Eriochloa pseudoacrotricha or Perennial Cup-grass, Paspalum distichum or Finger-grasses, Setaria spp. or Bristle-grasses, Digitaria spp. or Finger-grasses, Cenchrus echinatus or Sandbur.

TRIBE 16 – ANDROPOGONEAE (all non-native)

 Sorghum spp. or Millets, Miscanthus spp. (Ornamental) Silver-grasses, Zea mays or Maize.