[Biology] Taxonomical aids

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Taxonomical aids refer to procedures, techniques and stored information (collections of samples or preserved organisms) which aid in identification and classification of organisms.


Some salient taxonomical aids are as follows;


  • Herbarium serves as a depot for collections of preserved plant specimens and associated data for scientific study.
  • The plant specimens are preserved in a herbarium in the form of sheets known as herbarium sheets.
  • The labels on the herbarium sheets provide information regarding the place of collection, local and botanical names and family, etc.
  • A professor of Botany, Luca Ghini, designed the first herbarium at Pisa in Italy.
  • From small personal collections, herbaria have grown into large institutions of national and international significance.


  • It is a handbook providing complete information about the organisms found in a particular area with all the families, genera, species, and keys for their identification
  • A manual serve as a taxonomic aid by guiding individuals to identify and classify different plants and animals.
  • A taxonomic aid need not to be exhaustive, but should carry the essential information required for identifying and classifying flora and fauna.
  • The use of a manual is usually user-defined.
  • The information provided by a manual acts as a guide to identify a specific plant or animal and further help in its classification.


  • Catalogues are the books of libraries rich in botanical titles.
  • They have special value in taxonomic studies.
  • For referring to a catalogue, one should know full name of the author, exact title of the book, exact date of publication and the details of edition.
  • For Example:
    1. Catalogue of the Library of British Museum (of Natural History)
    2. Catalogue of the Library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.


  • The word museum is originated the Greek word mouseion.it was referred to the temple of Muses which is “the goddess of arts and sciences”.
  • Museum is an institution where artistic and educational samples are exhibited for the public
  • The materials available in exhibition for study are referred to as collections.
  • There are five main types of museums namely art museum, history museums, applied science museums and natural science museums.
  • Museum provide information about:
    1. Acquisition of materials
    2. Recording of materials
    3. Preservation of materials
    4. Research
    5. Exhibition of materials
    6. Education


  • The term key describes a set of alternate characters.
  • It helps in the identification of plants and animals by selecting and eliminating the characters on the basis of their presence or absence in the organism.
  • Different categories use different keys.
  • Each statement in the key is referred to as lead.
  • For example, keys for identification of some animals are as follows:
    1. Ear wings and mammary glands are present–  bat
    2. Beak, feathers, wings are present —  birds
    3. Mammary glands, pinna. and scales are absent.  Limbs and slimy skin is present – Frog


  • A Monograph is a complete global account of a taxon of any rank – family, genus or species at a particular time.
  • This comprises of existing taxonomic knowledge and all relevant information about the group such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Palynology, Chromosome Number and Phylogeny.
  • It also includes extensive literature review, all nomenclatural information, identification key to all taxa, citation of specimens surveyed and distribution map.
  • For Example:
    • The Family Lentibulariaceae by Peter Tylor.


Botanical Park

  • The Botanical Garden is a place where plants from diverse groups are grown for scientific study, conservation, public education, aesthetics, and recreation.
  • They usually have an inbuilt library, laboratory, herbarium, and museum.
  • They also provide teaching and training facilities.
  • The government or private organizations maintain the botanical gardens.
  • These organizations also employee botanists and gardeners to look after the plants.
  • Some famous botanical gardens of India are Shri Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy Botanical Garden in Hyderabad, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Howrah etc.

Zoological park

  • It is an enclosed place where wild animals are publicly exhibited. It is also known as a Zoological Garden or zoo.
  • The fundamental motive of any Zoological Park is to increase the public interest in the understanding of wildlife.
  • Zoo also provides recreation and education and is also involved in the preservation of endangered animals.
  • Protection of wildlife from extinction demands the conservation of natural habitat as well as the captive breeding of species.
  • Zoo authorities are responsible for taking proper care of animals.
  • Protection against natural disasters as well as starvation and diseases is also monitored.

img src="https://d10lpgp6xz60nq.cloudfront.net/physics_images/A2Z


  • To simplify the study of living organisms, they are organized into convenient categories on the basis of their characteristics, known as taxonomy. This information is obtained by referring to taxonomic aids.
  • The information gathered about the species needs to be stored for the future use.
  • Taxonomical hierarchy is made by using taxonomical aids
  • Taxonomic aids provide an accurate identification and classification of organisms.
  • Taxonomical aids are helpful in various areas such as agricultural, forestry, industry and in knowing our bio resources.


  • Arihant’s handbook of biology. The living world. Page no: 1-6.
  • NCERT biology; textbook for class 11. The living world. Page no: 1-62.
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