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A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human manipulation, but some originate from wild plants that have distinctive characteristics. Cultivar names are chosen according to rules of the
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' (ICNCP), also known as the Cultivated Plant Code, is a guide to the rules and regulations for naming cultigens, plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional huma ...
(ICNCP), and not all cultivated plants qualify as cultivars. Horticulturists generally believe the word cultivarCultivar () has two meanings, as explained in ''
Formal definition Formal, formality, informal or informality imply the complying with, or not complying with, some set of requirements (form Form is the shape, visual appearance, or :wikt:configuration, configuration of an object. In a wider sense, the form is the ...
'': it is a classification category and a taxonomic unit within the category. When referring to a
taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechani ...
, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all plants that share the unique characteristics that define the cultivar.
was coined as a term which means "cultivated variety". Popular ornamental
garden plants A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, or enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature, as an ideal setting for social or solitary human life. The single feature identifying even the wildest wild ga ...
like
rose A rose is a woody perennial plant, perennial flowering plant of the genus ''Rosa'', in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears. There are over three hundred Rose species, species and Garden roses, tens of thousands of cultivars. They form ...

rose
s,
camellia ''Camellia'' (pronounced or ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organism ...

camellia
s,
daffodils File:Floral morphology Narcissus.jpg, thumb ''Narcissus'' is a genus of predominantly spring flowering perennial plant, perennial plants of the amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae. Various common names including daffodil,The word "daffodil" is ...
,
rhododendron ''Rhododendron'' (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following ...

rhododendron
s, and
azalea Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus '' Rhododendron'', particularly the former sections '' Tsutsuji'' (evergreen) and '' Pentanthera'' (deciduous). Azaleas bloom in the spring (May and June in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, and Dece ...

azalea
s are commonly cultivars produced by breeding and selection or as
sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. ...
, for floral colour or size, plant form, or other desirable characteristics. Similarly, the world's agricultural
food crop A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture Agriculture is th ...
s are almost exclusively cultivars that have been selected for characters such as improved yield, flavour, and resistance to disease, and very few wild plants are now used as food sources. Trees used in
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, ste ...
are also special selections grown for their enhanced quality and yield of
timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, sup ...

timber
. Cultivars form a major part of
Liberty Hyde Bailey Liberty Hyde Bailey (March 15, 1858 – December 25, 1954) was an American horticulturist Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturist ...
's broader group, the
cultigen A cultigen (from the Latin ''cultus'' – cultivated, and ''gens'' – kind) or cultivated plant is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection This Chihuahua (dog), Chihuahua mixed ...
, which is defined as a plant whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. A cultivar is not the same as a botanical variety, which is a taxonomic rank below
subspecies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interacti ...
, and there are differences in the rules for creating and using the names of botanical varieties and cultivars. In recent times, the naming of cultivars has been complicated by the use of statutory
patents A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...
for plants and recognition of
plant breeders' rights Plant breeders' rights (PBR), also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed A seed is an embryoni ...
.Also The
International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV (french: link=no, Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) is a non-United Nations ''sui generis'' intergovernmental organization with headq ...

International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
(UPOV – ) offers legal protection of plant cultivars to persons or organisations that introduce new cultivars to commerce. UPOV requires that a cultivar be "distinct, uniform", and "stable". To be "distinct", it must have characters that easily distinguish it from any other known cultivar. To be "uniform" and "stable", the cultivar must retain these characters in repeated propagation. The naming of cultivars is an important aspect of
cultivated plant taxonomy Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated ...
, and the correct naming of a cultivar is prescribed by the Rules and Recommendations of the ''
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' (ICNCP), also known as the Cultivated Plant Code, is a guide to the rules and regulations for naming cultigens, plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional huma ...
'' (ICNCP, commonly denominated the ''Cultivated Plant Code''). A cultivar is given a cultivar name, which consists of the scientific
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
botanical name followed by a cultivar
epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, ...
. The cultivar epithet is usually in a
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
language. For example, the full cultivar name of the King Edward potato is ''Solanum tuberosum'' 'King Edward'. 'King Edward' is the cultivar epithet, which, according to the Rules of the ''Cultivated Plant Code'', is bounded by single quotation marks.Cultivated Plant Code Article 14.1


Etymology

The word ''cultivar'' originated from the need to distinguish between wild plants and those with characteristics that arose in cultivation, presently denominated ''cultigens''. This distinction dates to the Greek philosopher
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
(370–285 BC), the "Father of Botany", who was keenly aware of this difference. Botanical historian Alan Morton noted that Theophrastus in his '' Historia Plantarum'' (''Enquiry into Plants'') "had an inkling of the limits of culturally induced (
phenotypic In genetics Genetics is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular inter ...

phenotypic
) changes and of the importance of genetic constitution" (''Historia Plantarum'', Book 3, 2, 2 and ''Causa Plantarum'', Book 1, 9, 3). The
International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'' (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical name A botanical name is a formal scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, ...
uses as its starting point for modern
botanical nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such ...
the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
names in
Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomi ...

Linnaeus
' (1707–1778) ''
Species Plantarum ' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...
'' (tenth edition) and ''
Genera Plantarum ''Genera Plantarum'' is a publication of Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a S ...
'' (fifth edition). In ''Species Plantarum'', Linnaeus enumerated all plants known to him, either directly or from his extensive reading. He recognised the rank of varietas (botanical "variety", a rank below that of
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
and
subspecies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interacti ...
) and he indicated these varieties with letters of the
Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script in history to have distinct letters for vowels ...

Greek alphabet
, such as α, β, and λ, before the varietal name, rather than using the abbreviation "var." as is the present convention. Most of the varieties that Linnaeus enumerated were of "garden" origin rather than being wild plants. In time the need to distinguish between wild plants and those with variations that had been cultivated increased. In the nineteenth century many "garden-derived" plants were given horticultural names, sometimes in Latin and sometimes in a vernacular language. From ''circa'' the 1900s, cultivated plants in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
were recognised in the Scandinavian, Germanic, and Slavic literature as ''stamm'' or ''sorte'', but these words could not be used internationally because, by international agreement, any new denominations had to be in Latin. In the twentieth century an improved international
nomenclature Nomenclature (, ) is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, a ...

nomenclature
was proposed for cultivated plants.
Liberty Hyde Bailey Liberty Hyde Bailey (March 15, 1858 – December 25, 1954) was an American horticulturist Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturist ...
of
Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
in
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
,
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
created the word ''cultivar'' in 1923 when he wrote that:
The cultigen is a species, or its equivalent, that has appeared under domestication – the plant is cultigenous. I now propose another name, cultivar, for a botanical variety, or for a race subordinate to species, that has originated under cultivation; it is not necessarily, however, referable to a recognized botanical species. It is essentially the equivalent of the botanical variety except in respect to its origin.
In that essay, Bailey used only the rank of species for the cultigen, but it was obvious to him that many domesticated plants were more like botanical varieties than species, and that realization appears to have motivated the suggestion of the new category of ''cultivar''. Bailey created the word ''cultivar''. It is generally assumed to be a blend of ''cultivated'' and ''variety'' but Bailey never explicitly stated the
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identi ...
and it has been suggested that the word is actually a blend of ''cultigen'' and ''variety''. The
neologism A neologism (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
''cultivar'' was promoted as "euphonious" and "free from ambiguity".This ignored its prior use as a transitive verb in
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
denoting "to farm, to cultivate, to grow, or to practice"
Online Spanish dictionary
, and in
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
denoting ''to cultivate, to husband, to farm, to plant, to polish, to reclaim, to improve''
Ectaco online Portuguese dictionary
.
The first ''Cultivated Plant Code'' of 1953 subsequently commended its use, and by 1960 it had achieved common international acceptance.


Cultigens

The words ''
cultigen A cultigen (from the Latin ''cultus'' – cultivated, and ''gens'' – kind) or cultivated plant is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection This Chihuahua (dog), Chihuahua mixed ...
'' and ''cultivar'' may be confused with each other. A ''cultigen'' is any plant that is deliberately selected for or altered in cultivation, as opposed to an ''
indigen In general usage the word indigen is treated as a variant of the word indigene, meaning a native. IndiGen Programme on Genomics for Public Health in India The IndiGen programme on Genomics for Public Health in India is led by the CSIR Institute of ...
''; the ''Cultivated Plant Code'' states that cultigens are "maintained as recognisable entities solely by continued propagation". Cultigens can have names at any of many taxonomic ranks, including those of grex,
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
,
cultivar groupA Group (previously cultivar-groupInternational Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants, 4th edition (1969), 5th edition (1980) and 6th edition (1995)) is a formal category in the ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants The ' ...
,
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
,
form Form is the shape A shape or figure is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external Surface (mathematics), surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, Surface texture, texture, or material type. A plane shape, ...
, and cultivar; and they may be plants that have been altered in cultivation, including by
genetic modification Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification or genetic manipulation, is the direct manipulation of an organism's gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Mendelian_in ...
, but have not been formally denominated. A cultigen or a component of a cultigen can be accepted as a cultivar if it is recognisable and has stable characters. Therefore, all cultivars are cultigens, because they are cultivated, but not all cultigens are cultivars, because some cultigens have not been formally distinguished and named as cultivars.


Formal definition

The ''Cultivated Plant Code'' notes that the word cultivar is used in two different senses: first, as a "classification category" the cultivar is defined in Article 2 of the ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' (2009, 8th edition) as follows: ''The basic category of cultivated plants whose nomenclature is governed by this Code is the cultivar.'' There are two other classification categories for cultigens, the grex and the
group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with ...
. The ''Code'' then defines a ''cultivar'' as a "taxonomic unit within the classification category of cultivar". This is the sense of ''cultivar'' that is most generally understood and which is used as a general definition.
''A cultivar is an assemblage of plants that (a) has been selected for a particular character or combination of characters, (b) is distinct, uniform and stable in those characters, and (c) when propagated by appropriate means, retains those characters.''


Different kinds

Which plants are chosen to be named as cultivars is simply a matter of convenience as the category was created to serve the practical needs of
horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, as well as or ...
,
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...
, and
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, ste ...
. Members of a particular cultivar are not necessarily genetically identical. The ''Cultivated Plant Code'' emphasizes that different cultivated plants may be accepted as different cultivars, even if they have the same genome, while cultivated plants with different genomes may be regarded as the same cultivar. The production of cultivars generally entails considerable human involvement although in a few cases it may be as little as simply selecting variation from plants growing in the wild (whether by collecting growing tissue to propagate from or by gathering seed). Cultivars generally occur as
ornamentals plant Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as houseplants, cut flowers and specimen display. The cultivation of ornamental plants comes under floriculture, which is a major ...

ornamentals
and food crops: ''
Malus ''Malus'' ( or ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including t ...

Malus
'' '
Granny Smith The Granny Smith, also known as a green apple or sour apple, is a tip-bearing apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the mos ...

Granny Smith
' and ''Malus'' '
Red Delicious The 'Red Delicious' is a clone of apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus ...

Red Delicious
' are cultivars of apples propagated by cuttings or
grafting Grafting or graftage is a horticultural Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and ...
, ''
Lactuca ''Lactuca'', commonly known as lettuce Lettuce (''Lactuca sativa'') is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds. Lettuce is most often used for salads ...
'' 'Red Sails' and ''Lactuca'' 'Great Lakes' are lettuce cultivars propagated by seeds. Named cultivars of ''
Hosta ''Hosta'' (, syn. ''Funkia'') is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription ...

Hosta
'' and ''
Hemerocallis A daylily or day lily is a flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders, 416 Family (biology), families, approxi ...

Hemerocallis
'' plants are cultivars produced by
micropropagation Micropropagation or tissue culture is the practice of rapidly multiplying stock plant material to produce many progeny plants, using modern plant tissue culture Plant tissue culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant c ...

micropropagation
or division.


Clones

Cultivars that are produced asexually are genetically identical and known as
clones Clone or Clones or Cloning or The Clone may refer to: Places * Clones, County Fermanagh * Clones, County Monaghan, a town in Ireland Biology * Clone (B-cell), a lymphocyte clone, the massive presence of which may indicate a pathological conditio ...

clones
; this includes plants propagated by
division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
,
layering Layering has evolved as a common means of vegetative propagation of numerous species in natural environments. Layering is also utilized by horticulturists to propagate desirable plants. Natural layering typically occurs when a branch touches th ...

layering
, cuttings,
grafts Grafting refers to a surgical procedure Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental ...
, and
budding Budding is a type of asexual reproduction Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is the biological process by which new individual organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Gr ...

budding
. The propagating material may be taken from a particular part of the plant, such as a lateral branch, or from a particular phase of the life cycle, such as a juvenile leaf, or from aberrant growth as occurs with
witch's broom , caused by the fungus ''Taphrina betulina'' Image:WitchsBroomYamaska20200207.jpg, 300px, Witch's broom in Yamaska National Park, QC Witch's broom or witches' broom is a deformity in a woody plant A woody plant is a plant Plants are ...
. Plants whose distinctive characters are derived from the presence of an intracellular organism may also form a cultivar provided the characters are reproduced reliably from generation to generation. Plants of the same chimera (which have mutant tissues close to normal tissue) or graft-chimeras (which have vegetative tissue from different kinds of plants and which originate by grafting) may also constitute a cultivar.


Seed-produced

Some cultivars "come true from seed", retaining their distinguishing characteristics when grown from seed. Such plants are termed a "variety", "selection" or "strain" but these are ambiguous and confusing words that are best avoided. In general, asexually propagated cultivars grown from seeds produce highly variable seedling plants, and should not be labelled with, or sold under, the parent cultivar's name. Seed-raised cultivars may be produced by uncontrolled pollination when characteristics that are distinct, uniform and stable are passed from parents to progeny. Some are produced as "lines" that are produced by repeated self-fertilization or inbreeding or "multilines" that are made up of several closely related lines. Sometimes they are F1 hybrids which are the result of a deliberate repeatable single cross between two pure lines. A few F2 hybrid seed cultivars also exist, such as ''Achillea'' 'Summer Berries'. Some cultivars are agamospermous plants, which retain their genetic composition and characteristics under reproduction. Occasionally cultivars are raised from seed of a specially selected provenance – for example the seed may be taken from plants that are resistant to a particular disease.


Genetically modified

Genetically modified plants with characteristics resulting from the deliberate implantation of genetic material from a different
germplasm Germplasm are living genetic resources such as seeds or tissues that are maintained for the purpose of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are organisms that form the Animalia. With few exceptions, animals , , are , can , and grow fr ...
may form a cultivar. However, the
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' (ICNCP), also known as the Cultivated Plant Code, is a guide to the rules and regulations for naming cultigens, plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional huma ...
notes, "In practice such an assemblage is often marketed from one or more lines or multilines that have been genetically modified. These lines or multilines often remain in a constant state of development which makes the naming of such an assemblage as a cultivar a futile exercise." However, retired transgenic varieties such as the fish tomato, which are no longer being developed, do not run into this obstacle and can be given a cultivar name. Cultivars may be selected because of a change in the
ploidy Ploidy () is the number of complete sets of chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, wh ...
level of a plant which may produce more desirable characteristics.


Cultivar names

Every unique cultivar has a unique name within its denomination class (which is almost always the genus). Names of cultivars are regulated by the ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'', and may be registered with an International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA). There are sometimes separate registration authorities for different plant types such as roses and camellias. In addition, cultivars may be associated with commercial marketing names referred to in the ''Cultivated Plant Code'' as "trade designations" (see below).


Presenting in text

A ''cultivar name'' consists of a
botanical name A botanical name is a formal scientific name In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specif ...
(of a genus,
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
, infraspecific
taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechani ...
, interspecific
hybrid Hybrid may refer to: Economics and finance * Hybrid market, a system allowing stock trades to be completed either electronically or manually * Hybrid security, a type of economic instrument Technology Electrical power generation * Hybrid generato ...
or intergeneric hybrid) followed by a cultivar
epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, ...
. The cultivar epithet is enclosed by single quotes; it should not be italicized if the botanical name is italicized; and each of the words within the epithet is capitalized (with some permitted exceptions such as conjunctions). It is permissible to place a cultivar epithet after a common name provided the common name is botanically unambiguous. Cultivar epithets published before 1 January 1959 were often given a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
form and can be readily confused with the specific epithets in botanical names; after that date, newly coined cultivar epithets must be in a modern vernacular language to distinguish them from botanical epithets. : Examples of correct text presentation: :: ''
Cryptomeria japonica ''Cryptomeria'' (literally "hidden parts") is a monotypic In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group ( taxon) that contains only one immediately subordinate taxon. A monotypic species In biology, a species is the basic unit of ...

Cryptomeria japonica
'' 'Elegans' :: ''
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ''Chamaecyparis lawsoniana'', known as Port Orford cedar or Lawson cypress, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
'' 'Aureomarginata' (pre-1959 name,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
in form) :: ''Chamaecyparis lawsoniana'' 'Golden Wonder' (post-1959 name,
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
) :: ''
Pinus densiflora ''Pinus densiflora'', also called the Japanese red pine, the Japanese pine, or Korean red pine, has a home range that includes Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle ...
'' 'Akebono' (post-1959 name,
Japanese language is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct terr ...

Japanese language
) :: Apple 'Sundown' : Some incorrect text presentation examples: :: ''Cryptomeria japonica'' "Elegans" (double quotes are unacceptable) :: ''Berberis thunbergii'' cv. 'Crimson Pygmy' (this once-common usage is now unacceptable, as it is no longer correct to use "cv." in this context; ''Berberis thunbergii'' 'Crimson Pygmy' is correct) :: ''Rosa'' cv. 'Peace' (this is now incorrect for two reasons: firstly, the use of "cv."; secondly, "Peace" is a trade designation or "selling name" for the cultivar ''R.'' 'Madame A. Meilland' and should therefore be printed in a different typeface from the rest of the name, without quote marks, for example: ''Rosa'' Peace.) Although "cv." has not been permitted by the
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' (ICNCP), also known as the Cultivated Plant Code, is a guide to the rules and regulations for naming cultigens, plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional huma ...
since the 1995 edition it is still widely used and recommended by other authorities.


Group names

Where several very similar cultivars exist they can be associated into a ''Group'' (formerly ''Cultivar-group''). As Group names are used with cultivar names it is necessary to understand their way of presentation. Group names are presented in normal type and the first letter of each word capitalised as for cultivars, but they are not placed in single quotes. When used in a name, the first letter of the word "Group" is itself capitalized.


Presenting in text

:: ''Brassica oleracea'' Capitata Group (the group of cultivars including all typical
cabbage Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea ''Brassica oleracea'' is a plant species that includes many common foods as cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabba ...

cabbage
s) :: ''Brassica oleracea'' Botrytis Group (the group of cultivars including all typical
cauliflower Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species ''Brassica oleracea'' in the genus ''Brassica'', which is in the Brassicaceae (or Mustard) family. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the ...

cauliflower
s) :: ''Hydrangea macrophylla'' Groupe Hortensia (in French) = ''Hydrangea macrophylla'' Hortensia Group (in English) : Where cited with a cultivar name the group should be enclosed in parentheses, as follows: :: ''Hydrangea macrophylla'' (Hortensia Group) 'Ayesha'


Legal protection of cultivars and their names

Since the 1990s there has been an increasing use of legal protection for newly produced cultivars. Plant breeders expect legal protection for the cultivars they produce. According to proponents of such protections, if other growers can immediately propagate and sell these cultivars as soon as they come on the market, the breeder's benefit is largely lost. Legal protection for cultivars is obtained through the use of Plant breeders’ rights and plant Patents but the specific legislation and procedures needed to take advantage of this protection vary from country to country.


Controversial use of legal protection for cultivars

The use of legal protection for cultivars can be controversial, particularly for food crops that are staples in developing countries, or for plants selected from the wild and propagated for sale without any additional breeding work; some people consider this practice
unethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ethics, alo ...

unethical
.


Trade designations and selling names

The formal scientific name of a cultivar, like ''Solanum tuberosum'' ‘King Edward’, is a way of uniquely designating a particular kind of plant. This scientific name is in the public domain and cannot be legally protected. Plant retailers wish to maximize their share of the market and one way of doing this is to replace the cumbersome Latin scientific names on plant labels in retail outlets with appealing marketing names that are easy to use, pronounce, and remember. Marketing names lie outside the scope of the ''Cultivated Plant Code'' which refers to them as "trade designations". If a retailer or wholesaler has the sole legal rights to a marketing name then that may offer a sales advantage. Plants protected by
plant breeders' rights Plant breeders' rights (PBR), also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed A seed is an embryoni ...
(PBR) may have a "true" cultivar name – the recognized scientific name in the public domain – and a "commercial synonym" – an additional marketing name that is legally protected. An example would be ''Rosa'' = 'Poulmax', in which ''Rosa'' is the genus, is the trade designation, and ‘Poulmax’ is scientific cultivar name. Because a name that is attractive in one language may have less appeal in another country, a plant may be given different selling names from country to country. Quoting the original cultivar name allows the correct identification of cultivars around the world. The main body coordinating plant breeders' rights is the
International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV (french: link=no, Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) is a non-United Nations ''sui generis'' intergovernmental organization with headq ...

International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
(, UPOV) and this organization maintains a database of new cultivars protected by PBR in all countries.


International Cultivar Registration Authorities

An ''International Cultivar Registration Authority'' (ICRA) is a voluntary, non-statutory organization appointed by the ''Commission for Nomenclature and Cultivar Registration'' of the International Society of Horticultural Science. ICRAs are generally formed by societies and institutions specializing in particular plant genera such as ''Dahlia'' or ''Rhododendron'' and are currently located in Europe, North America, China, India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Puerto Rico. Each ICRA produces an annual report and its reappointment is considered every four years. The main task is to maintain a register of the names within the group of interest and where possible this is published and placed in the public domain. One major aim is to prevent the duplication of cultivar and Group epithets within a genus, as well as ensuring that names are in accord with the latest edition of the ''Cultivated Plant Code''. In this way, over the last 50 years or so, ICRAs have contributed to the stability of cultivated plant nomenclature. In recent times many ICRAs have also recorded trade designations and trademarks used in labelling plant material, to avoid confusion with established names.Se
International Cultivar Registration Authorities
/ref> New names and other relevant data are collected by and submitted to the ICRA and in most cases there is no cost. The ICRA then checks each new epithet to ensure that it has not been used before and that it conforms with the ''Cultivated Plant Code''. Each ICRA also ensures that new names are formally established (i.e. published in hard copy, with a description in a dated publication). They record details about the plant, such as parentage, the names of those concerned with its development and introduction, and a basic description highlighting its distinctive characters. ICRAs are not responsible for assessing the distinctiveness of the plant in question. Most ICRAs can be contacted electronically and many maintain web sites for an up-to-date listing.


See also

*
Lists of cultivars __NOTOC__ The lists of cultivars in the table below are indices of plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, c ...
*
Plant variety (law) Plant variety is a legal term {{Short pages monitor