I am making a webapplication that allows people to browse through a database full of plant information. People can also add filters before hitting the search button. One of those filters is now called 'plant type' and the options of the filter are Plant, Bush, Tree, Fungus and Cactus. If people select Bush and Tree for example they will retrieve only Bush and tree plants. Calling this filter 'Plant type' sounds a bit off and i was wondering whether there is a better term instead of plant to describe the list above. Does anyone know of a better or more appropiate word? Thank you

  • Plant type is fine - but if you want this app to sell worldwide, then 'bush' is a non specific term - shrub would be better. And what about perennials and herbaceous perennials, grasses, alpines and bulbs - they're not on your list of plant types. Not sure what you mean by 'plant' being one of the options either, its non specific - houseplant, maybe?
    – Bamboo
    Sep 6, 2018 at 19:35
  • I am assuming this is a school/personal project? I agree with Bamboo 'plant type' is fine. If it sounds contrived that's because it is and as far as I am concerned that's as it should be.
    – Rob
    Sep 6, 2018 at 20:00
  • To add to that, fungus aren't plants, they're.... Fungus (plural: Fungi) & they are MUCH more difficult to identify with any degree of safety than plants. This link has a few more terms you could add to your list of plant types though.
    – renesis
    Sep 6, 2018 at 20:44
  • actually it is a website i hope to make money off, @Bamboo people can filter for perennial with the life cycle filter. With plant i mean anything smaller then a shrub, like a herb, or a tomato plant, or even a sunflower that can be harvested for seeds. I know a sunflower can grow higher then a shrub but i have to call it something, so i just call it plant. If you know of a better term please let me know, i would be very thankful
    – Maurice
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:36
  • @renesis i know a fungus isn't a plant but say i would want to keep fungus in the list anyway, what term could i use best instead of plant type?
    – Maurice
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


I think plant type is fine as long as you define filters for herbaceous, shrub, tree, cactus/succulent. As for including fungi (maybe you were thinking about mushrooms?) or lichens, you can define a more general filter called life form (plant, fungus, lichen, etc.) if you want to follow scientific classification. If you think the users don't care about scientific classification, you can still use plant type for fungi and lichens, maybe adding a disclaimer or something.

About latin names: commercial names of varieties such as "Red sunset" or whatever don't have a latin name. However, there are varieties/cultivars holding a latin epithet. For example, maybe it's not such a big deal if the app can not provide the exact variety of sunflower (let's say Helianthus annuus "Sunny red" and Helianthus annuus "Sunny yellow"), but it will be a big deal if it will not distinguish between broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), headed cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) and Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera).

As a general guideline, I think details in the name of a plant after the species term should be included if the information is known.

As far as I know, there is at least one mobile app for plant ID and you can check the reviews if its filters are intuitive or not so that you can change yours to not make the same mistakes when assuming the plant knowledge level of the users.

  • no im going to remove fungus. The target audience are vegetable and fruit gardeners. I don't think they will be too interested in growing mushrooms in their vegetable garden. Thanks for the info
    – Maurice
    Sep 8, 2018 at 15:40

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