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Public-images-osm logo.svg species
Osm element key.svg
The scientific name for a living or fossil organism. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Natural
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal


The scientific name of the species for a living or fossil organism. In biology the species (Species on Wikipedia) is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. Often this is also referred to as the scientific, binominal, binomial or latin name. This tag should be used in combination with natural=tree, natural=wetland or similar. It may also be appropriate to use it with landcover=*, natural=wood or landuse=forest.

The biological classification system is hierarchical. You should use the most specific taxon that you know, but there is no need to tag all the implicit taxonomic ranks as well. E.g. if you already have tagged a species you won't tag the genus as well.

Common names and languages

Unlike most tags in Openstreetmap, the value of species should be in latin. Some mappers prefer to tag common names in their local language. In this case you should use the appropriate namespace for this.


As you can see in this example, there are often several common names to refer in the same language to the same species. This is mostly avoided with scientific names. You should prefer scientific names when adding this detail to Openstreetmap.

In most cases, the species name should not be tagged in more than two languages (e.g. local language and scientific name). Translations to other languages can easily be automated by a look-up in an external database like Wikidata for Wikispecies.

See also