Glossaries, abbreviations and symbols

Flora of Australia Glossary — Ferns, Cycads, Conifers and Vascular plants

A main botanical glossary for the Flora of Australia was published in Volume 1 of both printed editions (1981 and 1999). Other volumes contain supplementary glossaries, with specific terms needed for particular families.

The updated electronic glossary (at the link below) is a synthesis of all hard-copy Flora of Australia glossaries and supplementary glossaries published to date. The first Flora of Australia glossary was compiled by Alison McCusker. Mary D. Tindale compiled most of the fern definitions, and the conifer definitions were provided by Ken D. Hill. Russell L. Barrett combined all of these to create the glossary presented here, incorporating additional terms from the printed version of Volume 37. This electronic glossary contains terms used in all volumes, but with particular reference to the flowering plants (Volumes 2–50).

This glossary will be further updated as future volumes are published. It is the standard to be used by authors compiling future taxon treatments for the Flora of Australia. It also comprises the terms used in Species Plantarum — Flora of the World.

A note on alternative terms

For some preferred terms (in bold), alternative terms are also highlighted (in parentheses). For example, apiculum is the preferred term, and (=apiculus) is an alternative. Preferred terms are those also used in Species Plantarum — Flora of the World.

The glossary is here:

Cumulative glossaries

As the Flora of Australia has expanded to encompass the non-vascular plants, it became become necessary to construct separate glossaries for each major group. A glossary for:

  • ferns was first published in Flora of Australia Volume 48;
  • lichens in Flora of Australia Volume 54; and
  • fungi in Fungi of Australia Volume 1A, and
  • the first volumes published on the bryophytes and algae also contain specialised glossaries. These are available on the internet at:

General abbreviations and contractions

Full terminology
add. addendum
aff. affinis (affinity to)
alt. altitude
app. appendix
auct. auctoris/auctorum (of an author or authors)
auct. mult. auctorum multorum (of many authors)
auct. non auctorum non (of authors [but] not….), used for misapplied names
c. circa (about)
cf. confer (compare)
Ck Creek
cm centimetre
col. colour
coll. collector
colln collection
comb. combinatio/combination)
comb. nov. combinatio nova (new combination)
comm. communicavit (he/she communicated)
cons. conservandus (to be conserved)
cult. cultivated
cv. cultivar
d.b.h. diameter at breast height
Dept Department
descr. descriptio
diam. diameter
E east
ed./eds editor/editors
edn edition
eds editors
et al. et alii/et aliorum; and others/and of others
eds editors
e.g. exempli gratia (for example)
(F) previously used for female: see symbols section, below
fam. familia/family
f. forma/form
fig./figs figure/figures (in other works)
Fig. Figure (referring to a Figure in this Volume of the Flora)
gen. genus/genus
gen. nov. genus novus (new genus)
Gt Great
holo holotype
hort. hortus (garden) or hortensis (of a garden)
HS Homestead
Hwy Highway
i.e. id est (that is)
ined. ineditus (unpublished)
in litt. in litteris (in correspondence)
in obs. in observatio (in observation)
Is. Island/s
iso isotype
isolecto isolectotype
km kilometre
L. Lake
L.A. Logging Area
lat. latitude
lecto lectotype
loc. cit. loco citato (in bibliographic citations: in the same work and on the same page as just cited) cf. op. cit.
loc. id. loco idem (in specimen citations: in the same place as just cited)
long. longitude
L.S. longitudinal section
l:w length to width ratio
(M) previously used for male: see symbols below
m metre
mm millimetre
Mt/Mts Mount/Mounts
Mtn/Mtns Mountain/Mountains
N north
n haploid chromosome number
2n diploid chromosome number
Natl National
n.d. no date (use s.d.)
NE north-east(ern)
nom. cons. nomen conservandum (conserved name)
nom. cons. prop. nomen conservandum propositus (proposed conserved name)
nom. illeg. nomen illegitimum (illegitimate name)
nom. inval. nomen invalidum (name not validly published)
nom. nov. nomina nova (new name)
nom. nud. nomen nudum (name published without a description or reference to a published description)
nom. prov. nomen provisorium (provisional name)
nom. rej. nomen rejiciendum (rejected name)
nom. superfl. nomen superfluum (superfluous name)
nov. novus/new
nr near (avoid using this abbreviation)
n. ser. new series
n.v. non vidi (not seen)
NW north-west(ern)
op. cit. opere citato (in the work cited above – must be followed by page number) cf. loc. cit.
opp. opposite
orth. orthography, orthographic
p./pp. page/pages
penin. peninsula (avoid using this abbreviation)
pers. comm. by personal communication
pl./pls plate/plates
P.O. Post Office
p.p. pro parte (in part)
p.p. max pro parte maxima, the larger part
p.p. min pro parte minore, the smaller part
q.v. quod vide (which see)
R. River
Ra. Range(s)
Rd Road
rly railway
S south
SE south-east(ern)
sect. sectio/section
SEM Scanning Electron Micrograph
ser. series
SE south-east(ern)
s.d. sine date/without date (cf. n.d.)
S.F.R. State Forest Reserve
s. lat. sensu lato (in a wide sense)
s. loc. sensu loco(without locality)
s.n. sine numero (without number)
sp./spp. species (singular/plural)
sp. aff. species affinis (species related to)
sp. nov. species nova (new species)
specim. specimen
sphalm. sphalmate (by mistake, mistakenly)
s. str. sensu stricto (in a narrow sense)
St Street (was used also for Saint in Mimosaceae)
stat. status/status
Stn (pastoral) Station
subg. subgenus
subsp./subspp. subspecies (singular/plural)
subsp. nov. subspecies nova (new subspecies)
suppl. supplement
SW south-west(ern)
syn syntype
synon. synonym
T Type (collection)
t./tt. tabula/tabulae (plate/plates)
T.R. Timber Reserve
trib. tribus/tribe
trig. trigonometric station
T.S. transverse section
typ. cons. typus conservandus (conserved type)
var. varietas/variety
viz. videlicet (namely)
UV ultraviolet
W west
x basic chromosome number


Symbol Definition
(dagger) taxon included in key but not treated further in text
* naturalised taxon, not originally native
# native taxon now naturalised in Australia beyond its natural range
[  ] misapplied name or nomen invalidum; also, in localities, denotes a place name later than that originally cited or on the herbarium sheet
± (in taxonomic descriptions) more or less
± (in lichen chemistry) with or without
< less than
less than or equal to
> more than
more than or equal to
µm micrometre
(♀) female (sometimes as (F) in early volumes)
(♂) male (sometimes as (M) in early volumes)