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Field number  [ Taxonomy ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

  A field number is the combination of numbers, letters and punctuation, assigned  by a  collector to identify plant (s) specimen (s) found in the course of a site visit that occurred at a specific place (locality) and time.  

For example: RMF 277  refers to a plant or seeds that were collected or identified by Roger M. Ferryman, and it was his 277th plant to be officially identified.
In this sense, subsequent collections of plants supposedly from the same locality place are assigned a different field number, even if the later collection was made by the same collectors (s). This concept prevents the mer
ging of different plant collections and helps to eliminate geographic mistakes. Each field number is considered to be and catalogued as a single collection event. This concept of a field number prevents different collections of plants mistakenly assumed to be from the same place from being combined under the same previously existing locality number. If several specimens of the same kind are taken at the same place and time, these duplicates are given the same number.
The Field number enables to identify the locality of provenience of a plant by using the collector's field number.
By having plants or seed that are identified with field numbers, a plants grower can be secure of having an authentic species, and not a hybrid plant.

The Field Numbers are officially recorded, and usually carry supplementary information with them

  • The genus and species:  of the plant specimen.
  • The locality of collection:   full geographic indication of the city, county, state, and country. (eventually inclusive of topographic maps with the locality indicated and latitude and longitude data)
  • The habitat Geology, climate, moisture, soil, sunlight, elevation and any other information provided by the collector.
  • The Date of collection The month day and year the specimens were collected.
  • The name of the collector:    Name of individual (s) who collected the specimens or name of the collecting group e.g. the name of the institution or organization which collected the specimens
  • The name of the person who identified the specimen:   if not the collector.
  • Additional descriptions:   the names of associated plants found growing in the immediate vicinity, the colour of the flowers or other information about flower, fruit and other parts of the plants, The kind of root system, and the presence of rhizomes, bulbs, or other below-ground parts, the height of the plant, the abundance of the plant in the area, field notes, and any other information provided by the collector.
  • Photography:  Locality images,  (landscape, plants, and other aspects provided by the collector)

For example:

Field number: RMF 277
Eriosyce napina ssp. lembckei var. duripulpa  (originally collected with the provisional name of  Thelocephala sp)
Collector: Roger M. Ferryman
Locality: Punta Lobos (Road from Vallenar to Huasco), Region III (Atacama), Chile 
Date of collection: December 1985





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