Signs of glaciers.
This large boulder was dropped in place by an ancient glacier, which carried it from afar.

G is for genus

Living things are given a scientific name consisting of two names, a genus name and a species name (called a binomial), from Latin or Latinized Greek. These two names together are always placed in italics. Only the genus name is capitalized. Common names may be capitalized, or not.

Acer ginnala (Siberian maple)

Curcurbita pepo (gourd)

Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)

Gavia immer (Common Loon)

Grus canadensis (Sandhill Crane)

When you see a list of species, such as these maples, only the first mention of the genus name is written in full.

Acer rubrum, A. saccharum, A. spicatum


  1. Using a field guide or an online search, identify the trees and birds you see around you during the day. Write out their common names and binomials, accurately.

Special reading assignment

  1. Glacial erratics are rocks, often large boulders with a rounded shape, carried and dropped in unusual places by a glacier.


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