Common names of plants are those that are most familiar to the public; most scientific or botanical names such as Lavandula (lavender) and Foeniculum (fennel) are unrecognizable to most. Still, some scientific names such as Echinacea (Figure 2.1) are so commonly used that they become adopted as the common name. Because of their recognizability, common names are usually preferred or required in the labeling of plant ingredients in consumer products. This allows for a certain level of familiarity among the consuming public. However, although use of common names to enhance consumer recognition is
Table 2.1 Taxonomic Ranks of Importance in the Study of Medicinal Plant Species
appropriate, using only common names when sourcing ingredients to be used in the manufacture of the myriad available herbal products can cause confusion and a lack of clarity, resulting in product adulteration.