Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks. Within a few weeks, Writing Tips will no longer be available.

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

capitalization: biological terms

Capitalize the scientific name of a phylum, order, class, family or genus:

  • the phylum Arthropoda
  • the order Rosales
  • the genus Sporotrichum

Do not capitalize common names or the epithets referring to a species or subspecies, even if they are derived from proper names:

  • The jaguar and the lion are members of the family Felidae.
  • the species Sporotrichum schenkii (second word denotes species)

Note: For rules governing the italicization of biological classifications, see ITALICS: MATHEMATICAL, STATISTICAL AND SCIENTIFIC MATERIAL.

Also, capitalize proper nouns modifying a common name, except where usage has established the lower case:

  • Grayson lily
  • Cupid’s-delight
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Judas tree
  • Canada goose
  • Dutch elm


  • timothy grass