APG Changes

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group has made some changes in the naming and organization of plants and their families

Historically, botanists have organized flowering plants based on morphology – the structure of the plants, i.e. the appearance of their parts. Modern technology has enabled botanists to better understand the plant kingdom based on genetics. The group of botanists who are working on establishing the new system is called the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG. (“Angiosperm” means flowering plant and “Phylogeny” refers to organization by genealogy.) APG’s first report was published in 1998. APG II, the second report, came out in 2003 and the most recent report, APG III, in 2009.

The changes resulting from the work of the APG include renaming of the species and/or genus of some plants and, in the case of some families, such as the Lily and Figwort Families, doing a complete reorganization, including the assigning species to new families.

Swamp Gentian

Swamp Gentian

The University of Washington Herbarium and most other herbariums have changed the arrangement of their collections to match the latest APG system. In 2018,the botanists at the University of Washington completed a major revision of Flora of the Pacific Northwest by C. Leo Hitchcock and Arthur Cronquist, which reflects the changes.

Because the focus of this site is to serve as an aid to the novice in identifying wildflowers, I will follow the old family system, with its emphasis on appearance. Where a family has been divided, the old family will become a “group,” and the photo galleries within that group will be organized according to the new system. Both old and new botanical names will be included on the species pages and either name can be used for searching.