I have seen some people here say that they avoid common names. Well, that has scientific validity. But the problem with it is that taxonomists keep themselves occupied by doing revisions. Why are these studies called “revisions”? Because it is taken for granted that some taxa are going to be reclassified. If a researcher studied say, Tribe Anthuriae, and concluded that it was all correct just as it stood, well, then they would have nothing to publish, would they?
Snarkiness aside, this can make it difficult to do a proper survey of the literature on a taxon. Take Helminthotheca echioides. A very abundant weed here in the Bay Area – one of our most abundant, in fact. But I couldn’t find it in my Peterson Field Guide. Is it a recent introduction, i.e. post 1976? No. The trick is to go by common name. Look in the index for “Ox Tongue, bristly.” There it is, page 218 – as Picris echioides. So if I was doing a literature review on the taxon, now I would know how to find papers written prior to the most recent revision. The common name did not change.
Another example. I reared some Caribbean caterpillars, and tentatively IDed the resulting imagoes as Herpetogramma antillalis. Now, there is pretty much nothing on this taxon. I hoped that maybe finding the original species description would help me to verify the ID, but I couldn’t find it. It was only because someone in-the-know sent me a link with the original description of Psara antillalis that I was able to access it. Since this moth has no common name, I had no way to know, without being told, that these two binomials referred to one and the same taxon. A common name – if it was stable over time – would have helped.