The current version of Common Names of Colombian Plants is based on 85,000 records from our database, which comprise 18,600 different names applied to 6,700 species. Additionally, there are 5,683 species that have not yet been identified, or have been identified only to genus. Many of these species of unknown identity will probably turn out the same as species already identified; but, on the other hand, many of them will prove additional species. Thus, the figure of plants that receive a common name in Spanish will be probably close to 8,000, i.e., about one third of the 24,000 plant species estimated to occur in Colombia (Bernal et al. 2007).
Sixty-two percent of the named species have two or more common names; the remaining 38 percent have only one name. Conversely, about 76 percent of the common names are applied only to a single species (univocal names), whereas 25 percent of the names are applied to two or more species (equivocal names). A vast minority of the names, only about 3.5 percent, are biunivocal, i.e., they are applied to a single species, for which that name is the only one recorded. Table 1 shows the names that are applied to the largest number of species in Colombia.
|Common name||Number of species|
Species that receive the largest number of common names are major crops, as a result of the large number of varieties grown in Colombia. Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and manioc (Manihot esculenta) are particularly rich in common names (Table 2).
|Species||Reference name||Number of names|
|Saccharum officinarum||caña de azúcar||183|
|Musa x paradisiaca||plátano||165|
|Phaseolus lunatus||fríjol zaragoza||122|
|Phaseolus dumosus||fríjol cacha||72|
Plants receiving the largest diversity of common names, besides major crops, include a few ornamentals, some common weeds and roadside plants, and several widespread useful trees. The 15 species receiving the largest number of names are shown in Table 3.
|Species||Reference name||Number of common names|