Cultivar

Cultivar

Overview

A cultivarCultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar.
is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation. Most cultivars have arisen in cultivation but a few are special selections from the wild.
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Encyclopedia

A cultivarCultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar.
is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation. Most cultivars have arisen in cultivation but a few are special selections from the wild. Popular ornamental garden plants like roses, camellias, daffodils, rhododendrons and azaleas are cultivars produced by careful breeding and selection for flower colour and form. Similarly the world's agricultural food crops are almost exclusively cultivars that have been selected for characters like improved yield, flavor, and resistance to disease: very few wild plants are now used as food sources. Trees used in forestry are also special selections grown for their enhanced quality and yield of timber.

Cultivars form a major part of Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey was an American horticulturist, botanist and cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science.-Biography:...

's broader grouping, the cultigen
Cultigen
A cultigen is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection. These "man-made" or anthropogenic plants are, for the most part, plants of commerce that are used in horticulture, agriculture and forestry...

, defined as a plant whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. Cultivar was coined by Liberty Hyde Bailey and it is generally regarded as a portmanteau of "cultivated" and "variety", but could also be derived from "cultigen" and "variety". A cultivar is not the same as a botanical variety
Variety (biology)
In botanical nomenclature, variety is a taxonomic rank below that of species: as such, it gets a three-part infraspecific name....

, and there are differences in the rules for the formation and use of the names of botanical varieties and cultivars. In recent times the naming of cultivars has been complicated by the use of statutory Plant Patents
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 and Plant Breeders' Rights
Plant breeders' rights
Plant breeders' rights , also known as plant variety rights , are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give him exclusive control over the propagating material and harvested material of a new variety for a number of years.With these rights, the breeder can choose...

 names.

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The current Secretary-General of UPOV is Francis Gurry....

 (UPOV – French: Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) offers legal protection of plant cultivars to people or organisations who introduce new cultivars to commerce. UPOV requires that a cultivar be distinct, uniform and stable. To be distinct, it must have characteristics that easily distinguish it from any other known cultivar. To be uniform and stable, the cultivar must retain these characteristics under repeated propagation.

The naming of cultivars is an important aspect of cultivated plant taxonomy
Cultivated plant taxonomy
Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity...

, and the correct naming of a cultivar is prescribed by the Rules and Recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants regulates the names of cultigens...

(the ICNCP, commonly known as the Cultivated Plant Code). A cultivar is given a cultivar name, which consists of the scientific Latin botanical name followed by a cultivar epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term 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, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

. The cultivar epithet is usually in a vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 language. For example, the full cultivar name of the King Edward potato is Solanum tuberosum 'King Edward'. The 'King Edward' part of the name is the cultivar epithet which, according to the Rules of the Cultivated Plant Code, is bounded by single quotation marks.

Origin of term



The origin of the term “cultivar” arises from the need to distinguish between wild plants and those with characteristics that have arisen in cultivation (what we now call cultigens). This distinction dates back to the Greek philosopher Theophrastus
Theophrastus
Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

 (370–285 BCE), the "Father of Botany", who was keenly aware of this difference. Botanical historian Alan Morton notes that Theophrastus in his Enquiry into Plants
Historia Plantarum
Historia Plantarum is Latin and literally means History of Plants, although in reality it means something closer to "on plants" or "treatise on plants". There has been more than one book by this title....

"had an inkling of the limits of culturally induced (phenotypic
Phenotype
A phenotype is an organism's observable characteristics or traits: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior...

) changes and of the importance of genetic constitution
" (Historia Plantarum
Historia Plantarum
Historia Plantarum is Latin and literally means History of Plants, although in reality it means something closer to "on plants" or "treatise on plants". There has been more than one book by this title....

III, 2,2 and Causa Plantarum I, 9,3).

The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature uses as its starting point for modern botanical nomenclature
Botanical nomenclature
Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is concerned with grouping and classifying plants; botanical nomenclature then provides names for the results of this process. The starting point for modern botanical...

 those Latin names that appeared in Linnaeus' publications Species Plantarum
Species Plantarum
Species Plantarum was first published in 1753, as a two-volume work by Carl Linnaeus. Its prime importance is perhaps that it is the primary starting point of plant nomenclature as it exists today. This means that the first names to be considered validly published in botany are those that appear...

(10th ed.) and Genera Plantarum
Genera Plantarum
Genera Plantarum is a publication of Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus . The fifth edition served as a complementary volume to Species Plantarum . Article 13 of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature states that "It is agreed to associate generic names which first appear in Linnaeus'...

(5th ed.). In Species Plantarum, Linnaeus (1707-1778) listed all the plants known to him, either directly or from his extensive reading. He recognized the rank of varietas (in English this is the botanical "variety", a rank below that of species and subspecies) and he indicated these varieties by using letters of the Greek alphabet such as α, β, λ in front of the variety name, rather than using the abbreviation var., which is the current convention. Most of the varieties listed by Linnaeus were of “garden” origin rather than being wild plants.

Over time there was an increasing need to distinguish between plants growing in the wild, and those with variations that had been produced in cultivation. In the nineteenth century many "garden-derived" plants were given horticultural names, sometimes in Latin and sometimes in a local language. From about the 1900s plants produced in cultivation in Europe were recognised in the Scandinavian, Germanic and Slavic literature through the words stamm or sorte but these words could not be used internationally since, by international agreement, any new terms had to be based in Latin. In the twentieth century an improved international terminology was proposed for the classification and nomenclature of cultivated plants.

The word cultivar was coined in 1923 by Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey was an American horticulturist, botanist and cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science.-Biography:...

 of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, New York State, when he wrote:

In this paper Bailey used only the rank of species for the cultigen but it was clear to him that many domesticated plants were more like botanical varieties than species, and that appears to have motivated the suggestion of the new classification category cultivar, which is generally assumed to be a contraction of the words cultivated and variety. However, Bailey was never explicit about the etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of the word, and it has been suggested that it is a contraction of the words cultigen and variety, which seems more appropriate.

The new word cultivar was promoted as ... euphonious. It is free from ambiguity. It serves a purpose.This ignored its prior existence as a transitive verb in Spanish, meaning to farm, to cultivate, to grow, or to practice.Online Spanish dictionary, and in Portuguese meaning to cultivate, to husband, to farm, to plant, to polish, to reclaim, to improve.Ectaco online Portuguese dictionary Its use was subsequently recommended by the first Cultivated Plant Code, which was published in 1953, and by 1960 it had achieved wide international acceptance.

Cultigens and cultivars




The terms cultigen and cultivar may be confused with each other. Cultigen is a general-purpose term for plants that have been deliberately altered or specially selected by humans, while cultivar denotes either a rank in a cultigen classification scheme, or a cultigen taxon
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

. Cultigens include plants with cultivar names and also those with names in the classification categories of Grex
Grex (horticulture)
The term grex , derived from the Latin noun grex, gregis meaning flock, has been coined to expand botanical nomenclature to describe horticultural hybrids of orchids, based solely on their specified parentage...

 and Group. The Cultivated Plant Code states that cultigens are deliberately selected plants that may have arisen by intentional or accidental hybridization in cultivation, by selection from existing cultivated stocks, or from variants within wild populations that are maintained as recognizable entities solely by continued propagation. Included within the group of plants known as cultigens are genetically modified
Genetically modified organism
A genetically modified organism or genetically engineered organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one...

 plants, plants with binomial Latin names that are the result of ancient human selection, and plants that have been altered by humans but which have not been given formal names. Nevertheless, almost all cultigens are 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
Grex (horticulture)
The term grex , derived from the Latin noun grex, gregis meaning flock, has been coined to expand botanical nomenclature to describe horticultural hybrids of orchids, based solely on their specified parentage...

 and the Group
Cultivar group
In naming cultivated plants, a Group is a formal classification category, under the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants :The term "Group" was introduced in the 2004 ICNCP, replacing the "Cultivar-group" of the 1995 ICNCP.A Group is united by some common trait; for example...

. 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.

Different kinds of cultivar



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
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

, agriculture
Agricultural science
Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. -Agriculture and agricultural science:The two terms are often confused...

 and forestry
Forestry
Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

.

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 garden and food crops: Malus
Malus
Malus , the apples, are a genus of about 30–35 species of small deciduous trees or shrubs in the family Rosaceae. Other studies go as far as 55 species including the domesticated Orchard Apple, or Table apple as it was formerly called...

'Granny Smith
Granny Smith
The Granny Ramsey Smith green apple is a tip-bearing apple cultivar, which originated in Australia in 1868. It is named after Maria Ann Smith, who propagated the cultivar from a chance seedling. The tree is thought to be a hybrid of Malus sylvestris, the European Wild Apple, with the domestic...

' and Malus 'Red Delicious
Red Delicious
The Red Delicious is a clone of apple cultigen, now comprising more than 50 cultivars, that was recognized in Madison County, Iowa, United States, in 1880...

' are cultivars of apples propagated by cuttings or grafting
Grafting
Grafting is a horticultural technique whereby tissues from one plant are inserted into those of another so that the two sets of vascular tissues may join together. This vascular joining is called inosculation...

, Lactuca
Lactuca
Lactuca, commonly known as lettuce, is a genus of flowering plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. The genus includes about 100 species, distributed worldwide, but mainly in temperate Eurasia....

'Red Sails' and Lactuca 'Great Lakes' are lettuce cultivars propagated by seeds. Named cultivars of Hosta
Hosta
Hosta is a genus of about 23–45 species of lily-like plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae, native to northeast Asia. They have been placed in their own family, Hostaceae ; like many 'lilioid monocots', they were once classified in the Liliaceae...

and Hemerocallis plants are cultivars produced by micropropagation
Micropropagation
Micropropagation is the practice of rapidly multiplying stock plant material to produce a large number of progeny plants, using modern plant tissue culture methods....

 or division.

Clones




Cultivars that are produced asexually are genetically identical and known as clones
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

; this includes plants propagated by division
Division (horticulture)
Division, in horticulture and gardening, is a method of asexual plant propagation, where the plant is broken up into two or more parts...

, layering
Layering
Layering is a means of plant propagation in which a portion of an aerial stem grows roots while still attached to the parent plant and then detaches as an independent plant. Layering has evolved as a common means of vegetative propagation of numerous species in natural environments...

, cuttings, grafts
Grafting
Grafting is a horticultural technique whereby tissues from one plant are inserted into those of another so that the two sets of vascular tissues may join together. This vascular joining is called inosculation...

, and budding
Budding
Budding is a form of asexual reproduction in which a new organism grows on another one. The new organism remains attached as it grows, separating from the parent organism only when it is mature. Since the reproduction is asexual, the newly created organism is a clone and is genetically identical...

. 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
Witch's broom
A Witch's broom is a disease or deformity in a woody plant, typically a tree, where the natural structure of the plant is changed. A dense mass of shoots grows from a single point, with the resulting structure resembling a broom or a bird's nest....

. 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
Chimera (plant)
Chimeras in botany are usually single organisms composed of two genetically different types of tissue. They occur in plants, on the same general basis as with animal chimeras...

 (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 cultivars grown from seeds produce highly variable seedling plants, and should not be labelled with, or sold under, the parent cultivar's name (see an article by Tony Lord
Tony Lord (photographer)
Tony Lord is a United Kingdom gardener, photographer and author. In 2005 the Royal Horticultural Society awarded him the Victoria Medal of Honour for his work as a garden photographer, horticultural consultant and writer....

 of The RHS
Royal Horticultural Society
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 in London, England as the Horticultural Society of London, and gained its present name in a Royal Charter granted in 1861 by Prince Albert...

 Plant Finder
).

Deliberately seed-raised cultivars can be produced by uncontrolled pollination provided the cultivar can be distinguished by one or more characters that are distinct, uniform and stable under propagation. They may be 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'.

Cultivars may arise as a result of 9ik9i, uuua change in ploidy
Ploidy
Ploidy is the number of sets of chromosomes in a biological cell.Human sex cells have one complete set of chromosomes from the male or female parent. Sex cells, also called gametes, combine to produce somatic cells. Somatic cells, therefore, have twice as many chromosomes. The haploid number is...

 level of a plant, and agamospermous plants that retain their genetic composition and characteristics under reproduction may form cultivars. 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 characters resulting from the deliberate implantation of genetic material from a different germplasm
Germplasm
A germplasm is a collection of genetic resources for an organism. For plants, the germplasm may be stored as a seed collection or, for trees, in a nursery.-See also:*Germ plasm, the germ cell determining zone...

 may form a cultivar. However, the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants regulates the names of cultigens...

 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
Fish tomato
Informally referred to as the "fish tomato", DNA Plant Technology's transgenic tomato is genetically engineered with a gene from the winter flounder....

, which are no longer being developed, do not run into this obstacle and can be given a cultivar name.

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
International Cultivar Registration Authority
An International Cultivation Registration Authority is an organization responsible for ensuring that each plant cultivar receives a unique, authoritative botanical name....

 (ICRA). There are separate registration authorities for different plant-groups 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
Botanical name
A botanical name is a formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and, if it concerns a plant cultigen, the additional cultivar and/or Group epithets must conform to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants...

 (of a genus, species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, infraspecific taxon
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

, interspecific hybrid or intergeneric hybrid) followed by a cultivar epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term 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, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

. The cultivar epithet is capitalised and enclosed by single quotes; it should not be italicized. 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
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 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 'Elegans'
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Aureomarginata' (pre-1959 name, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 in form)
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Golden Wonder' (post-1959 name, English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

)
Pinus densiflora 'Akebono' (post-1959 name, Japanese language
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

)
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.)

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.

Presenting in text

Brassica oleracea Capitata Group (the group of cultivars including all typical cabbage
Cabbage
Cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne of the Family Brassicaceae and is a leafy green vegetable...

s)
Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group (the group of cultivars including all typical cauliflower
Cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed...

s)
Hydrangea macrophylla Groupe Hortensis (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
Plant breeding
Plant breeding is the art and science of changing the genetics of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to more complex molecular...

 expect legal protection for the cultivars they produce. 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
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

.

Trade designations and marketing 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 (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 Fascination = 'Poulmax', the ‘Poulmax’ being the true scientific 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 code name allows the correct identification of cultivars around the world. The peak body coordinating Plant breeders rights is the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales, 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.

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.

External links