Naming of Organisms – A case study of Chenopodium album linn.(c)

What’s in the name of an Organism?
A case study of Chenopodium album Linn.

Author: Promila Kapoor-Vijay*
PBK-2100:A platform for Probioknowledge
14, Chemin Colladon, Geneva, CH-1209, Switzerland

An organism is an individual entity that exhibits the properties of life. It is a synonym for “life form”. They can be unicellular, multicellular, and can be aggregated as a colony.

Organisms are grouped together into taxa and defined based on their characteristics.

The system of naming species was first developed by Swedish botanist and physician, Carolus Linnaeus in the mid 1700s. Linnaeus is the father of the branch of biology called taxonomy, which seeks to describe, name and classifies organisms. His system of naming species, still in use today, begins with assigning all species a two-part Latin name called a binomial. The first word of the binomial is the genus name of the species, and the second word is the specific epithet for the species. For example (see figure above), the scientific name for the blue crab is Callinectes sapidus. Callinectes, the genus name, is the collective term which includes many species of crabs closely related to the blue crab. The specific epithet, sapidus, describes exactly which of the Callinectes species is being identified.

*Following Identification codes have been devised to provide identifiers for species, like:

(1)National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) employs a numeric ‘taxid’ or Taxonomy identifier, a “stable unique identifier”, e.g., the taxid of H. sapiens is 9606.

(2)Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) employs a three- or four-letter code for a limited number of organisms; in this code, for example, H. sapiens is simply hsa.

(3)UniProt employs an “organism mnemonic” of not more than five alphanumeric characters, e.g., HUMAN for H. sapiens.

(4)Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) provides a unique number for each species.

(5) The LSID for Homo sapiens is

A Case study of a plant species, Chenopodium album Linn., is used here to illustrate value and conflicts associated with names.

Chenopodium album

This plant species is highly diverse and is widely distributed, and is known commonly as a nuisance weed of the crop fields. It also grows wild, in disturbed habitats in both urban and rural settings all over the world, and some of its forms are popular as a leafy vegetable and/or as a grain crop. Different names are given to describe its plants, and is still very difficult to taxonomically identify its various ecological, morph-ecological populations distinctly as Chenopodium album Linn. Recently Devi and Chungroo(2015) have stated this is due to more interest in the cultivated species of Chenopodium. Earlier work of Kapoor(1985, 2012) has referred to this conflict.
The name ​and classification( wikipedia,2017 of the species is given below:

Chenopodium album Linn.
Familia: Amaranthaceae s.l.
Cladus: Chenopodiaceae s.str.
Subfamilia: Chenopodioideae
Tribus: Atripliceae
Genus: Chenopodium
Species: Chenopodium album

Subspecies: C. a. subsp. album – C. a. subsp. borbasii – C. a. subsp. iranicum – C. a. subsp. pedunculare

Name: Chenopodium album L. (1753)

According to Clemants, S.E. & Mosyakin, S.L.(2003), C. album is a loosely arranged aggregate of still insufficiently understood races, with hundreds of segregate microspecies and infraspecific entities (including nomenclatural combinations).

Atriplex alba (L.) Crantz (1766)
Botrys alba (L.) Nieuwl. (1914)
Heterotypic (ref. Uotila 2011:)
Chenopodium diversifolium (Aellen) F. Dvořák, in Scripta Fac. Sci. Nat. Univ. Purkyn. Brunensis, Biol. 16: 10. 1986
Chenopodium album subsp. diversifolium Aellen, in Bot. Not. 1928: 209. 1928
Chenopodium reticulatum Aellen, in Bot. Not. 1928: 205. 1928
Chenopodium album subsp. reticulatum (Aellen) Greuter & Burdet, in Willdenowia 13: 282. 1984
Chenopodium glomerulosum Rchb., Fl. Germ. Excurs.: 579. 1832
Chenopodium griseochlorinum F. Dvořák, in Feddes Repert. 105: 426. 1994
Chenopodium lanceolatum Willd., Enum. Pl.: 291. 1809
Chenopodium neoalbum F. Dvořák, in Feddes Repert. 103: 66. 1992
Chenopodium paganum Rchb., Fl. Germ. Excurs.: 579. 1832
Botrys pagana (Rchb.) Lunell, American Midland Naturalist 4(7): 305. 1916.
Chenopodium viride L., Sp. Pl.: 219. 1753
Atriplex viridis (L.) Crantz, Institutiones Rei Herbariae 1: 207. 1766
Blitum viride (L.) Moench, Methodus (Moench) 359. 1794
Chenopodium viridescens (St.-Amans) Dalla Torre & Sarnth., Fl. Tirol 6(2): 109. 1909
Chenopodium album subsp. fallax Aellen, in Bot. Not. 1928: 208. 1928
Chenopodium album subsp. ovatum Aellen, in Bot. Not. 1928: 209. 1928
(additional synonym species by The Plant List, 2016)

Anserina candidans (Lam.) Montandon
Chenopodium agreste E.H.L.Krause
Chenopodium bernburgense (Murr) Druce
Chenopodium bicolor Bojer ex Moq.
Chenopodium borbasiforme (Murr) Druce
Chenopodium browneanum Schult.
Chenopodium candicans Lam.
Chenopodium catenulatum Schleich. ex Steud.
Chenopodium concatenatum Willd.
Chenopodium × densifoliatum (Ludw. & Aellen) F. Dvořák
Chenopodium elatum Shuttlew. ex Moq.
Chenopodium laciniatum Roxb.
Chenopodium leiospermum DC.
Chenopodium lobatum (Prodán) F. Dvořák
Chenopodium missouriense Aellen
Chenopodium neglectum Dumort.
Chenopodium opulaceum Neck.
Chenopodium ovalifolium (Aellen) F. Dvořák
Chenopodium paucidentatum (Aellen) F. Dvořák
Chenopodium probstii Aellen
Chenopodium pseudoborbasii Murr
Chenopodium riparium Boenn. exMoq.
Chenopodium serotinum Ledeb., nom. illeg. (later homonym)
Chenopodium subaphyllum Phil.
Chenopodium superalbum F. Dvořák
Chenopodium vulgare Gueldenst. ex Ledeb..
Chenopodium vulpinum Buch.-Ham., nom. inval.
Chenopodium zobelii Murr ex Asch. & Graebn., nom. inval.
Vulvaria albescens Bubani


Linnaeus, C. von 1753. Species Plantarum, Tomus I: 219.

Crantz, H.J.N.v. 1766. Institutiones Rei Herbariae 1: 206.

Nieuwland, J.A. 1914. American Midland Naturalist 3(9): 276.
Additional References

Uotila, P. 2011. Chenopodiaceae (pro parte majore). Chenopodium album In: Euro+Med Plantbase – the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.
Clemants, S.E. & Mosyakin, S.L. ‘eFloras 2008. Chenopodium album in Flora of North America. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

International Plant Names Index. (2016). Chenopodium album. Published on the Internet. Accessed Mar. 3 2016.

The Plant List (2016). Chenopodium album in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2016 Mar. 3. 2016. Chenopodium album. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2016 Mar. 3.

USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network(2006). Chenopodium album in the

Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Jashmi, Devi R K., ​and Churunugoo, ​N. Journal of Applied Biology and Biotechnology Vol. 3 (06), pp. 029-033, Nov-Dec, 2015 Species relationships in Chenopodium quinoa and Chenopodium album on the basis of morphology and SDS-Page profiles of soluble seed proteins.

Pratap,Tej and Kapoor Promila.(1985) Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Volume 14, Issues 3–4, Pages 185-199

Address for communication-Dr Mrs. ​Promila Kapoor-Vijay (my ID name is Dr. ​Mrs. Promila Kapoor), ​PBK-2100:*Email: ​Fax:0041227885858,,
Affiliated scientist: ​Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, ​Switzerland.Twitter account; @kapoorvijayP and @probio3.

Definitions of Native Species

Native Tree Species:

The UK Native trees definition is given by The Woodland trust ( The term native is used for any species that has made its way to the UK naturally, not intentionally or accidentally introduced by humans. In terms of trees and plants, these are species that recolonised the land when the glaciers melted after the last ice age and before the UK was disconnected from mainland Europe.

During the ice age itself, areas of the UK were completely covered by a huge ice sheet. This prevented many trees and plants from growing and many species retreated south to survive the freeze. The ice sheets that covered large areas of the planet locked up lots of water from the Earth’s system. This made sea levels much lower than today and exposed a strip of land (now submerged beneath the Channel Sea) that connected the UK to mainland Europe.

As the Earth warmed and ice began to melt and retreat (over 10,000 years ago), species began to recolonise the once frozen land from the warmer south. However, trapped water released back into the system from the melting ice caused sea levels to rise again. Gradually the rising sea flooded the land bridge from the UK to Europe and prevented any more species (unless they could fly) from colonising the UK.

Non-native Tree Species:
Any species that has been brought to the UK by humans is non-native. This means species which were not naturalised here if it were not for humans intentionally or accidentally bringing them to UK.
About 8,000 years ago, Neolithic man first arrived in Britain and brought new species, such as plant crops and livestock, and a few stowaways like the house mouse.There are many non-native species living in the UK. Some, like Douglas fir and Sitka spruce, are used in forestry; and others, such as copper beech and London plane, were brought here for their beauty.

British tree pages feature​ some of the most common non-native trees that have naturalised in the ​the landscape.

The triangular seed mass-leaf area relationship holds for annual plants and is determined by habitat productivity

Functional Ecology: Plain Language Summaries

Bianca A Santini, John G Hodgson, Ken Thompson, Peter J Wilson, Stuart R Band, Glynis Jones, Mike Charles, Amy Bogaard, Carol Palmer & Mark Rees

The relationships between plant traits tells us about the amount of resources species invest on a given trait. For example, thicker leaves are long-lived, but their construction is expensive for the plant and have lower photosynthetic rates than thin leaves. Another example, related to our study, is the triangular relationship found between seed mass and leaf area in woody species. This relationship tells us that small-seeded species can have either small or large leaves, whereas big-seeded species have large leaves. However, the combination of big seeds with small leaves does not occur. Again, this give us insights into resource allocation, in this case of the photosythates in a leaf and how are they distributed, either into small seeds or big seeds.

Indeed, resource allocation changes…

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Journal ranks 2015

graduate_barsBack in February I wrote about our new bibliometric paper describing a new way to rank journals, which I still contend is a fairer representation of relative citation-based rankings. Given that the technique requires ISI, Google Scholar and Scopus data to calculate the composite ranks, I had to wait for the last straggler (Google) to publish the 2015 values before I could present this year’s rankings to you. Google has finally done that.

So in what has become a bit of an annual tradition, I’m publishing the ranks of a mixed list of ecology, conservation and multidisciplinary disciplines that probably cover most of the journals you might be interested in comparing. Like for last year, I make no claims that this list is comprehensive or representative. For previous lists based on ISI Impact Factors (except 2014), see the following links (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 

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International Women’s Day 2016

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March.  A lot of work is needed, more than one billion people still remain hungry today, in addition millions of women and children are malnourished.The vast reservoir of nature`s biological wealth can provide for all and it needs to accord reognition to women and their silent contributions in conserving,saving, maintaining genes and life in diverse ecosystems and towards sustainable development.I wish and hope  scientific advances can address this issue. The current deliberations of Food and Agriculture Organisation; Biodiversity International;Future Earth;International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services;Biodiversity Monitoring Assessments  will take note of this important issue through  their  scientific programme developments.
Promila Kapoor-Vijay




WHO organised a Global Conference on Climate Change in August 2014

An important conference is timely convened by the World Health Organisation(WHO),some experts hope that the biggest global health threat of the millenium will be biggest opportunity for good health, it though carries responsibility , enthusiasm and promise.

Serious health conditions like Asthma, autoimune syndromes, and heart troubles get worse with increasing threat of climate change,building of toxins, and toxic gases in earths atmosphere, reducing gas emmissions is a must: If we could reduce the severity of autoimmune disorders and other diseases by tackling issues linked with climate change and extreme weather conditions, It will be a victory for all humans.Ecological resilient systems of life are already in nature providing to millions support and relief. Unfortunalely these systems are species, their populations and habitats all part of a unique ecosystem eg coastal ecosystem, to desert ecosystem

My great hope and urge to all involved in the conference is to develop such strong policies that we can reduce the trauma of living in urban polluted air, in cities, and in rural habitats too, or other open areas which are constantly exposed to natural disasters linked to climate change such as melting of artic ice,landslides,typhoons, floods. Everywhere air and water is loaded with unhealthy chemicals; while air is polluted with toxic gases.
As an ecologist, a biodiversity expert for thirty years, my concern and hope will be that during the conference, experts both from health, meteorology, and other expertise discuss and agree to encourage greening of urban environments, including offices, and public places to enable everyone to have access to not just clean air, clean water, but also to green corridors;nutritious, healthy foods ensuring access to leafy green nutritious diets, foods on regular basis preferably grown locally in the regions(enhancing love for natural green covers in kitchen gardens, community gardens. Restorations and regenerations of lost habitats in landslides, breaking of mountains is a different scale of work and takes many decades.

Nations of the world are always debating and wanting to reduce Green house gas emissions- innumerable dialogues held till now, have made the subject easy to understand, but still debates are continuing indefinitely.Agreements are not coming forward which are unanimous, enforceable.

Difference is this, time the topic will be handled in the Global Climate conference organised by WHO from 25-29August 2014.
It will be a great success tif it moves few steps further and start developing policies and guidelines which are health-promoting , biodiversity friendly, providing resilience building, nature rooted solutions. Protecting and providing good health to all- especially the young mothers and their children, pregnant mothers, and to all children, adolescents who may be still not fully exposed to severity and uncertainity of climate change related severe negative impacts on their health like Asthma, Heart trouble, allergies.
Vulnerable people in very poor countries, living with catastrophes such as drought, floods, cyclones, tsunamis, volcanoes need to be equally given highest attention.They are the ones who need not just medicines,but health support and solutions through nutritious diets, clean water and warm,clean homes.A tall order but we are one human family on earth – and each one is importantand whose well being,happiness and continuity is most important goal.
I send my best wishes to Dr M. Chan DG WHO, and all her colleagues and experts,organisers and participants for the success of this important conference
Dr Promila Kapoor-Vijay FLS
Director PBK2100-A platform for probioknowledge in Switzerland, Geneva and UK,London