|The scientific name for a living or fossil organism.
|Used on these elements
|Tools for this tag
The scientific name of the species for a living or fossil organism. In biology the species (natural=tree, natural=wetland or similar. It may also be appropriate to use it with landcover=*, natural=wood or landuse=forest.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
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.
- genus=Quercus (or genus:en=oak) not necessary if species is set
- species=quercus_robur (or, species:de=Stieleiche, species:en=English Oak, species:en=French oak, …)
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). Having one common name is likely to be of value for mappers re-surveying existing trees who may not be familiar with scientific names. Translations to other languages can easily be automated by a look-up in an external database like Wikidata for Wikispecies.
Possible tagging mistakes
These are examples of typical problems with use of the species tag, rather than the sole values which might have mistakes.
Many of these types of tag values arise during imports where not enough care has been taken to correctly analyse and format the data. Vernacular names are best entered as species:en=Coconut etc. when known to be a given species, and when not taxon:en=Palm etc. Although author names are part of a full species name, it is probably best not to include them on OSM (e.g., Cocos nucifera not Cocos nucifera L.).