In biology (botany and zoology), a genus (plural: genera) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes:

  • above species; and
  • below family.

In binomial nomenclature the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

Binomial Nomenclature

This is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms (although they can be based on words from other languages).

Simple Examples

Anigozanthos (genus) manglesii (species) is the binomial name for the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, the plant emblem of Western Australia.
Xanthorrhoea (genus) preissii (species) is the binomial name for the Grass Tree or balga.

Further Reading

Professor Alex George has revived Sharr’s Western Australian Plant Names And Their Meanings – A Glossary. It explains 1623 generic names, 5718 specific and 896 infraspecific epithets and is available locally.