I considered asking this on English.SE, but decided against it, since it strictly applies to biological nomenclature, which not many of them will know about - particularly that of plants.

So, in animals, all families end in the suffix -idae - e.g. Hominidae, Apidae, Canidae or Laridae. When referring to members of a family, you can use the suffix -ids - e.g. hominids, apids, canids or larids.

However, plant families are usually named with the ending "aceae" - such as Poaceae, the grass family. If I want to refer to members of Poaceae (without just saying the common name), what do I say?

  • $\begingroup$ Is this a question for an assignment or are you asking out of more general interest? $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Oct 25 '18 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Out of general interest, for the most part. Plus, it may come in handy in the future. $\endgroup$ – SealBoi Oct 25 '18 at 19:54

Since Poaceae is the plural of Poacea in Latin - like aquae is the plural of aqua - I would say a Poacea, but I'm not a native English speaker so I don't know if this form would be acceptable in English. My guess is that you will have to use the long form a member of Poaceae. In languages like Italian and French it's easier because the Latin nomenclature and grammar are translated. So in Italian you will say una Liliacea for the singular and due Liliacee for the plural, while in French it would be une Liliacée and deux Liliacées respectively.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems like most people just call them grasses (or they use the actual family name). I wouldn't suggest using Poacea. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Oct 25 '18 at 20:45

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