Ecommerce Software by Shopify, click here to start your free 15 day trial
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Writing Plant Names - revisited 2011

  1. #1
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts

    Writing Plant Names - revisited 2011

    There are lots of people in this world, with different ways of looking at things, who desire different things from a plant naming system. There are many different plant namings systems, each with their own set of rules and originating organization.

    First systematic naming system, developed by Carl Linnaeus, derived from writings of Aristotle, Conrad Gessner, and several other early pioneers in the field. Carl Linnaeus, originally a poet, became an avid naturalist, who had vision and eventually synthesized the beginnings of our current binomial naming system, used for botany, not so much for horticulture, though it is the foundation for even horticultural names. Supported and developed as the ICBN (International Code of Botanical Nomenclature) by the International Botanical Congress (IBC).

    Second; is the primary naming convention to help administer and promulgate rules for names in horticulture. It is called ICNCP (International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants) developed by the (ISHS) International Society for Horticultural Science. Primarily responsible for developing what is known as the cultivar naming system.

    Third: Grex naming systems. Initially orchids, though composed of many genera of flowering plants, were given special attention from the early days of their collection and attention by horticulture. They were tracked and followed in the creation of their hybrids by use of a grex registering system, akin to a pedigree. More recently there are several other groups of plants, Nepenthes and Sarracenia, included, where similar grex naming systems have been proposed and attempts are being made to implement them.

    Fourth: Plant Patents. In many countries asexually propagated plants can be awarded a patent. Patents can grant very valuable exclusive rights to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced for a period of twenty years.

    Fifth: There is the Plant Variety Protection Act (1970), amended in 1994.

    Sixth: Here is an excerpt from an article about plant trademark names --> "When is a plant name not a plant name? The sad answer is more often than not in our current world, where marketing comes first and accuracy second. The current plant naming trend often violates the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP), US Trademark Law, and occasionally the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules concerning deceptive business practices."

    Seventh: There may be others that I am not yet aware of.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I provide the above references, in case I overlook some of the pertinent details when I attempt to synthesize them into a guide to modern plant naming. I certainly agree with anyone who feels that keeping track of plant names and the different systems in use to name plants is or can be confusing. It is, and doesn't appear to be on the verge of self-clarity. This is my attempt to help sort some of it out.

    This first post is just to give a, "heads up". My subsequent posts to this thread will contain my attempt at synthesis of the plant naming systems.

    ++ One of my pet peeves is for those who claim the existing naming systems do not meet their personal needs/expectations/desires, yet they seem to demonstrate that they don't even understand the naming systems that currently exist. Whenever I read their postings I can see that they often make little effort to use the existing naming conventions. Some seem to be creating their own issues. I've noticed that even among some advocates, for example, of the Nepenthes grex naming system (an extension of the usual plant naming systems), a failure to understand the basic ICBN and ICNCP naming systems, an understanding of which, is still required to properly utilize the grex naming system. I realize the different naming systems can be difficult to understand, but a basic understanding of them seems essential. I am going to make a concerted effort to help us all to understand the issue of plant naming more completely. By developing a better understanding we may find some of the many things we desire in a naming system, already in the systems that exist.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-19-2011 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Adding a statement about one of my pet peeves.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  2. #2
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts
    A simple example:
    If I were talking about Drosera capensis, I would need to remember that all of our plant names are, binomial names. This means that capensis, is not an abbreviation for Drosera capensis, or D. capensis. Here are a few other plants that share the same last name, capensis, as our own familiar Drosera capensis;

    Nymphaea capensis
    Tecoma capensis

    Typha capensis
    Elegia capensis
    Impatiens capensis
    Anisodontea capensis
    Anchusa capensis
    Rhodocoma capensis
    Stipa capensis.

    To avoid any possibility of confusing our cherished CP, we should learn the few, simple rules used when writing plant names, and use the resources available to be sure we spell them correctly. Cute or inaccurate abbreviations should be reserved for personal communication or when talking with oneself, only. Two resources that I find most useful are, CP Database and CP Photofinder.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  3. #3
    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Location
    Zone 6
    Posts
    5,303
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Joesph - this is very informative, and prudent for the sanctity of nomenclature. I'm going to sticky this thread so it stays visible (not that we get a lot of posts in the Articles section).

    xvart.
    "The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."

    "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

  4. #4
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts

    More nomenclature tidbits -

    Here are my layman's definitions of the following botanical and horticultural terms. Keep in mind that all scientific names begin at the binomial level, consisting of the genus and specific epithet, which comprise the first and second parts of the binomial scientific name.

    These first three I consider botanical terms, when used in horticulture they are just following their botanical uses. When a plant has a botanical subclassification such as, subspecies, variety, or form, it is then said to have a trinomial name.

    The botanical subclassifications, at ranks below the level of species (creating names that are trinomial), have three parts. There are several, including; subspecies (subsp.), variety (v.), and form (f.). I am not a botanical taxonomist, and I don't really understand the official nuances to these different infraclassifications used in botany (I'm just an interested layman). The best way I can describe these three botanical infraspecies classifications, is to ask you to examine the plants, so classified, that you may be familiar with and look up their original publications, to see if you can fathom the reasonings of the original author. There is only one that immediately comes to my mind, and seems logically appropriate, which is Sarracenia purpurea f. heterophylla, then you could also check out the other forms, varieties and subspecies of Sarracenia or other CP, which you can check out on the CP Photo Finder and/or the CP Database.

    I suppose I shall need to take a college course in botanical taxonomy, or at least obtain a college textbook for such a course, to familiarize myself with the official definitions. The distinctions between subspecies, variety, and form are not easy for me to discern - and I've been trying to discern them for a few decades. Sometimes it seems obvious, but other times the choices made by some authors of these infraspecies publications, seem arbitrary.

    I am, however, more familiar with the following three terms - I will include brief descriptions from my own understanding.

    - cultivar: The abbreviation for cultivated variety. A plant that is from a group listed in oversight by the ICNCP, and assigned an ICRA with an officiating ICR. Where plants demonstrating unique and reproducible characteristics can have their descriptions published along with a unique name, which can forever thereafter be associated with all plants who share those same unique characteristics, no matter how originated. Current nomenclature requires them to be written, thus --- Pinguicula 'Titan' or P. 'Titan', where the genus is followed by the cultivar name with initial capital letter and in single quotes. Single quotes being reserved for use in just this singular purpose. If the species or hybrid formula is also known, it can optionally be included in writing the name; i.e. Drosera spatulata 'Ruby Slippers', but it is just as correct when written, Drosera 'Ruby Slippers'. Other details are included in the list each ICR is required to maintain for the cultivars they accept into their registry.

    - grex: Some certain groups of plants, particularly all plants in Orchidaceae have an international organization that accepts hybrids for registry, providing them with a "grex" name. Slightly akin to a pedegree with animals. A grex (plural greges), is a name given to a particular hybrid cross. For example, Nepenthes "Ali'i", a grex registry for the hybrid lineage, N. [(kampotiana x maxima) x sanguinea]. So basically all grex naming accomplishes is substituting a short specific name in place of a specific hybrid formula.

    - clone: A clone is any group of plants that share the exact same genetic sequence. They are like identical twins among animals. They are usually (almost always), produced by vegetative propagation, though some other plants also clone themselves through their seed and a few other ways, which usually amount to various unique types of vegetative propagation. The totipotency theory - which says that the genetic information necessary to reproduce an entire plant is in each individual cell of that plant.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  5. #5
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts

    Official -vs- Unofficial Names

    With unofficial names:
    Imagine that you are visiting a botanical garden and you see the most amazing and desirable Nepenthes plant you've ever seen. You know you won't be able to get any from the botanical garden. So you ask them what it is called and where they got it, thinking you'd like to grow it too. They say, it's called N. "Slim Beast", and they got it from NN, back in 1984. Well, you know that NN went out of business in 1985, so you know you'll need to look somewhere else. You check your references, CP Photo Finder, CP Database, and ICPS Cultivar Registrations list. You only see it listed in the CP Photo Finder, it's in double quotes, so you know it's not a valid registered cultivar, and when you go to its individual page, you see no lineage, or any other identifying information, just a list of a few jpg images hosted on two or three different photobucket accounts. So you look at the various images posted there, thinking that maybe you can find a photo that resembles the plant you saw at the botanical garden, locate the owner, and obtain a cutting or division. But after carefully examining each and every photo, you realize that not a single one of these N. "Slim Beast" photos even remotely resembles the one you saw at the botanical garden. Obviously unofficial names; pet names; or nicknames for plants can be disappointing.

    With Official Names:
    Imagine that on your next visit to the same botanical garden you again see the same kind of amazing and desirable Nepenthes plant. You ask and are told they aren't propagating this particular plant. Then they tell you that it is the registered cultivar, N. 'Slammin Beast' which they obtained in 1984 from NN. And, of course, NN went out of business in 1985, so they’re no longer a source. You again check your references, CP Photo Finder, CP Database, and ICPS Cultivar Registrations list. But this time you discover N. ‘Slammin Beast’ is listed with all three, and the ICPS Cultivar Registration list has links to the published description and standard photograph. The description and standard match the plant you saw almost exactly. Woo Hoo, now you’re getting somewhere. You discover that several nurseries also carry this cultivar and theirs appear to match the official cultivar description, so you purchase mature plants from three different nurseries. On arrival, two of them appear to be the plant you’ve been looking for, N. ‘Slammin Beast’. But one looks entirely different, so you contact the nursery that one came from, explain to them the problem (the plant they sent does not match the standard), and they apologize for the mix-up and exchange the wrong plant for the right one. Now you have three specimens of N. ‘Slammin Beast’, and you enjoy them for the next thirty years.

    Without the official published standards, anyone can call any plant by any name, with impunity. Once a cultivar description is officially published, plants that don't match the description can be excluded by anyone who can objectively compare descriptions to live plants.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 02-15-2011 at 12:30 PM.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  6. #6
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts
    For me, one of the most important considerations when contemplating official nomenclature -vs- unofficial nomenclature:

    Unofficial, unregistered names, especially at cultivar level, are entirely unregulated, every grower that doesn't follow official rules of nomenclature, intentional or not, is encouraging the continuation of plant anarchy. Every grower that accepts, and grows plants with unregistered names, including "yours truly", is really part of the problem.

    From my perspective, growers that are unaware of the workings of the cultivar naming system can cause problems for themselves and other growers, intentional or not - I certainly experienced this, firsthand. Apparently many growers, and even professional nurseries distribute plants under their own unofficial, unregistered names. One major problem with this, is everyone can choose to use any name they like, many different growers can and sometimes do choose the very same names, or so similar they are sometimes confused.

    Having an official cultivar registration system with an ICRA, helps prevent duplication of names and/or descriptions. Really, who wants to grow two or more different plants all with the very same name?

    Communications in these circumstances can be difficult and complicated.
    *^*^*^*^
    Some believe that no attention should be given to legitimizing unofficial, unregistered "cultivar like" names, when it is free to register any and all CP with their own, unique, officially published, cultivar names, and I agree. Why continue creating unofficial/bogus names when any unique plants can have their own, official, published name, with descriptions and photographs - for free.

    So, if you're the guy that thinks all Dionaea muscipula look alike, no matter their "differences", that's okay. No one is going to force you to believe that there are significant and important differences between one cultivar and another. So what if grown in the same conditions, one is all green, D. 'Justina Davis' and another, D. 'Akai Ryu' is all red, those differences, may be insignificant to you. But some growers may consider them enough to qualify for publication as official cultivar status, which they have been. Acknowledging something, like the ICNCP cultivar registration system, does not mean that you must embrace everything about it. You may even be the grower who believes there are no plants worthy to be registered as cultivars, but please allow us our deceptions, while you enjoy yours. My main peeve are growers creating bogus names, bogus names really don't help anyone, except, perhaps someones sales figures. It may have been understandable before CP had their own ICRA, but now that they do, and, did I mention, it's free, why are there still so many bogus names. If a plant deserves a name, why not a valid one?
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 02-17-2011 at 08:24 PM.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  7. #7
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts

    Confessions

    I realize that correctly writing plant names can be challenging - it goes against our natural inclinations.

    I was once ignorant of the rules used for plant names. I once wrote plant names any way I liked, and thought that was quite acceptable. Then I became involved with orchids and joined the American Orchid Society and the Orange County Orchid Society, in Westminster, California. Not a single orchid grower was as lackadaisical about proper nomenclature as I had been. I was frequently and repeatedly coached about proper nomenclature, by everyone, until I had an understanding about how to correctly write plant names and knew why nomenclature was so important.

    The long and short of it, was: no one wanted to grow an unidentified or incorrectly identified, plant. For instance, there was an immense difference between a Cymbidium Lillian Stewart and a Cymbidium Lillian Stewart 'Coronation' FCC/RHS-AOS. Just a difference between sibling clones, but there could be a vast world of difference between those clones, appearance-wise and value-wise. Who would want the clone with only a grex name, when they could have the named cultivar with highest awards from both the American Orchid Society and the Royal Horticultural Society? Plants with these credentials almost always had a premium price and received the most attention.

    Most orchid growers took their hobby quite seriously and were always willing to educate any newbies about every detail of their passion, including correct nomenclature.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Joseph Clemens For This Useful Post:

    That One Guy (07-26-2014)

  9. #8
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts
    I just located an interesting document that gives a good basic explanation of plant taxonomy ---> here.

    In TerraForums and other informal writings, author and date, which are always included in scientific names in scientific writings are generally not used.

    We're almost there, but the second part of plant names, and the third (if there is one) are always lower case. And, if possible all parts should be in italics, except cultivar names, or the terms (subspecies) subsp., (variety) var., or (form) f.

    And species names are formulated so they are both singular and plural as written, this is so their spelling is never modified, in any way, or for any reason - ensuring the integrity of the name.

    Cultivar names follow the genus, or species name (if they are derived from a species), though the genus name is all that is required. The cultivar name follows the genus name and is enclosed in single quotes (this is what indicates it is a cultivar name), they aren't written in italics.

    For example, the following name could be written correctly in several ways, some of them are; Nepenthes maxima (giant, Tentena), Nepenthes maxima "giant, Tentena", or Nepenthes maxima - giant, Tentena. The first two parts are the scientific plant name, composed of the genus and specific epithet, the two together are the "species name". For me, the focus of accuracy is first on the scientific and cultivar names, if the plant has one, and for we growers (horticulturists) the other information like location data, descriptions of leaves, flowers, etc. is very helpful. But the focus should be to provide that information without confusing or compromising the scientific and cultivar names. So, you can see, that when the scientific and cultivar names are written correctly it is much easier to provide the other information without confusion, so long as the ancillary information is not formatted so as to appear to be part of the name of the plant.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  10. #9
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,456
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 18 Times in 16 Posts
    Update - 12 November 2014:

    I have been out of touch with the CP world for about the past seven years, or so. I am working to catch myself up. So please bear with me as I get myself back up to speed.

    So far, as was true in the past. Some suppliers appear to have confused the registration of cultivar names with grex names. Grex naming is where, whenever a hybrid is created, for instance, between (Pinguicula moranensis x Pinguicula ehlersiae), the first one to create a unique hybrid could then submit their proposed name for that grex/hybrid combination - afterwards any hybrids made with those parent species, or grex-species, or grex-grex combinations could be called by that same, new and unique grex name.. The parents did not need to be the same clones, for the grex name to be valid.

    However, unless something has changed, since I last was up-to-date on botanical and horticultural nomenclature (naming) only orchids and the genus Nepenthes had grex naming systems, functioning or proposed. There was and still isn't a grex naming system for the Pinguicula genus.

    Unfortunately, it seems as though some, who created/originated, or distributed, some of the commonly grown Pinguicula hybrids, mistakenly treated some of the first of this genus to be given cultivar names, as if those cultivar names were actually grex names. And they were mistakenly applied to any and all plants having the same parents. For example: Pinguicula 'Weser' and Pinguicula 'Sethos'. The former is a selection from the hybrid, (Pinguicula moranensis x Pinguicula ehlersiae) and the latter being a selection from the hybrid, (Pinguicula ehlersiae x Pinguicula moranensis). For most grex registration systems, the maternal parent (seed parent) is listed first. Regardless, which parent is maternal and which is paternal, it usually doesn't matter with grex naming systems. So, P. moranensis x P. ehlersiae, would be the same grex as P. ehlersiae x P. moranensis, this thought seems to be held by the original author of P. 'Sethos' and P. 'Weser'. So, since there is no grex naming system, and cultivars are only identified by their written descriptions and photographic standard. Each plant of a particular cultivar should be virtually identical to its description and standard - if it isn't, it can't be assumed to be that cultivar. Most generally, aside from cultivar groups, just plain cultivars are primarily clonal propagations (clones) of the initial cultivar plant, though the cultivar definition allows for any plant, no matter its origins, that matches the official published description and photographic standard, to be called by that cultivar name.

    One cultivar name, in particular, seems to be frequently misapplied. That would be Pinguicula 'Aphrodite'. I see a large variety among plants commonly labeled as this cultivar, with few of them matching the photographic standard.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Joseph Clemens For This Useful Post:

    Eric (11-12-2014), mato (11-13-2014)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •