| NAMING DAHLIAS - Background
|The naming of plants is
frequently a source of confusion and disagreement amongst horticulturalists and
the following notes have been prepared to offer dahlia enthusiasts a clear guide
to the framing, styling and registering of cultivar names.
|The function of a cultivar name is to
recognise and distinguish plants exhibiting desirable characteristics so that
easy reference can be made to them. They appear at the end of the italicised
latin name and are made to stand out from the botanical element by being
enclosed in single quotation marks and not written in italics e.g. Dahlia
‘Glorie van Heemstede’
|Cultivar names are usually bestowed by
the raiser of a plant but the names that can be given to new plants are governed
by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). The
seventh edition of this work was published in 2004 and outlines rules concerning
the naming of horticultural and agricultural plants. A summary is provided
below of those articles effecting people wishing to name new dahlias.
|Art. 19.13 New names must comprise words
in a language other than Latin unless they are common phrases or the names of
people or places e.g. Dahlia ‘Variegata’ would
not be allowed but
Dahlia ‘Julius Caesar’ would.
|Art. 19.19 & Art. 19.20 New names should
not include the words form, variety, cultivar, grex, group, hybrid, maintenance,
mixture, selection, sport, series, strain, improved or transformed.
|Art.19.21 Punctuation marks should not
be used with the exception of the apostrophe, full stop, comma, exclamation
mark, hyphen, forward slash and back slash.
A cultivar name should not contain the name of the genus to which it belongs e.g.
‘Magnificent Dahlia’ would not be allowed.
|Art 19.25 A cultivar name cannot be established if it is so similar to an existing name that there may be confusion.
– Raisers should check with the RHS Dahlia Register.
|Art. 19.26 New names cannot exaggerate the merits of a plant so
Dahlia ‘Unsurpassably Blue’ would
|The expanding use of Plant Breeders’
Rights (PBR) has added confusion to the naming of plants. Although plants can
be registered for PBR under conventional cultivar names it has become customary
to register them under code or nonsense names. Such names, though unwieldy, are
the correct cultivar names and must, by law, be used on labels at the
point-of-sale. However, for marketing purposes it is sometimes necessary to
provide a selling name or trade designation. Examples of this kind of name
include Dahlia Royal Dahlietta Caroline (‘Dapavio’) and
Dahlia Royal Dahlietta Emily (‘Daparos’). Note that the trade designation is
distinguished by being printed in a different typeface while the cultivar name
is enclosed in single quotation marks.
|Series names are marketing devices and
should not be confused with classifications such as liliput, ball or
decorative. Plants included in a series usually have a common growth habit and
flowers in a range of colours, each colour with a different cultivar name.
Dahlia ‘Gallery Monet’ and Dahlia
‘Gallery Leonardo’ are included in
the Gallery Series for commercial purposes but they remain classified as
|REGISTRATION OF NAMES:
|The RHS Dahlia Register currently
contains around 17,500 names and is an invaluable resource in ensuring the same
name is not repeated, that very similar names are not used and that new names
conform to the ICNCP. In addition it provides information concerning the
classification, colour and raisers of registered dahlias. It is beneficial to
breeders and gardeners alike if new cultivars are registered before a new plant
|Registration forms are available from the Dahlia Registrar, RHS
Garden, Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB,
or obtain on line at:
RHS Dahlia Registration Form
as a downloadable pdf:
Dahlia Registration Form
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