Family (biology)

The hierarchy of biological classification's eight major taxonomic ranks. An order contains one or more families. Intermediate minor rankings are not shown.

Family (Latin: familia, pl.: familiae) is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy. It is classified between order and genus.[1] A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as the "walnut family".

The delineation of what constitutes a family, or whether a described family should be acknowledged, is established and decided upon by active taxonomists. There aren't strict regulations for outlining or acknowledging a family, yet in the realm of plants, these classifications often rely on both the vegetative and reproductive characteristics of plant species. Taxonomists frequently hold varying perspectives on these descriptions, leading to a lack of widespread consensus within the scientific community for extended periods. The continual publication of new data and diverse opinions plays a crucial role in facilitating adjustments and ultimately reaching a consensus over time.

  1. ^ "Taxonomy - Definition, Classification & Example". Biology Dictionary. 19 March 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2022.

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