Page:An introduction to physiological and systematical botany (1st edition).djvu/400
to take, in the former instance, the calyx, corolla, stamens, pistils, seed-vessel, seed and receptacle, and in the latter, the root, stem, leaves, appendages, flower and fruit, in the order in which they naturally occur.
Nomenclature is no less essential a branch of methodical science than characteristic definitions; for, unless some fixed laws, or, in other words, good sense and perspicuity, be attended to in this department, great confusion and uncertainty must ensue.
The vague names of natural objects handed down to us, in various languages, from all antiquity, could have no uniformity of derivation or plan in any of those languages. Their different origins may be imagined, but cannot be traced. Many of these, furnished by the Greek or Latin, are retained as generic names in scientific botany, though neither their precise meaning, nor even the plants to which they originally belonged, can always be determined, as Rosa, Ficus, Piper, &c. It is sufficient that those to which they are now, by common consent, applied, should be defined and fixed. Botanists of the Linnæan school, however, admit no such