Plant Families


Below is a brief introduction of the main plant families discussed across this website. Plant families are large groups of plants that share similar botanical characteristics (typically flower and fruit structure). These families – through the use of a binomial nomenclature (formalized by Carl Linnaeus) – are further divided and classify into genera and species. Each species contains a number of different cultivars (cultivated varieties). Hereafter a classification example with the Green Zebra tomato variety:

Family Genus Species Variety
Solanaceae Solanum S. lycopersicum Green Zebra

Because of the nature of seed saving and the work that is involved, knowing the botanical name of common vegetables, herbs and fruits is essential for proper preservation of specific plant varieties. Indeed, while crossings are rare between plants that belong to different species, different varieties of plants within the same species will cross with one another, including some of their wild counterparts.


  • Poaceae (or Gramineae), also known as grasses, notably includes: