Traditionally, all living things were assigned to either the plant or animal kingdom. Plants get their energy from the sun and use carbon dioxide from the air together with water and nutrients from the soil to make new growth. Animals derive their energy from living or dead organic sources, such as other plants and animals.
In modern times we have many more divisions of living organisms, relating to their position on the evolutionary tree. Fungi and algae are no longer considered to be plants and belong in separate kingdoms.
Within the RAMM herbarium plants are arranged in a system of classification that is recognised around the world. This is called Linnaeus’ binomial system, named after the Swedish botanist Carl von Linne who first proposed the scheme.
For example, the heath lobelia is the English name for the plant identified as Lobelia urens Linnaeus.
'Lobelia' is the generic name. A genus is a group of essentially similar and related plants.
'urens' is the species, or specific name.
It may be followed by the name of the person who originally named it, in this instance Linnaeus, the alternate, Latinised version of Carl von Linne himself.