BH&G Plant Name Style

Common names

Most stories don’t need to include a botanical name. Just use the common name and add the cultivar if we have it.

  • ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum
  • ‘Little Spire’ Russian sage

Some plants have the same name for common and botanical uses; all these should be lc Roman.

  • aloe
  • heuchera
  • coleus
  • lisianthus
  • hosta

Botanical names

When needed in a story about plantings or a more technical story, we can give both botanical and common names. This will be needed only when mentioning a special, unusual plant.

  • Holywood (Guaiacum santum)
  • Christmas heliconia (Heliconia angusta)

The genus and species names may be followed by:

Subspecies: a naturally occurring, distinct variant of a species, indicated by subsp. in roman type. This is a higher division than “variety.”

  • Prunus lusitanica subsp. azorica

Varieties and forms: minor subdivisions of a species, differing slightly in their botanical structure. Indicated by var. and f. in roman type.

  • The pink variety of the Pacific dogwood is Cornus florida var. rubra.

Hybrids (or crosses): naturally or artificially produced offspring of genetically distinct parent plants. Use a Dimension X to indicate hybrids.

  • Viola x wittrockiana

Cultivars: selected or artificially raised, distinct variants of species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and hybrids. Cultivars will not come true from seed, so are usually propagated asexually by cloning. Denoted by single quotes, capped, no ital. If punctuation follows the cultivar name, the punctuation is placed outside the single quotation mark:

  • Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’
  • Echinops bannaticus ‘Albus’

Also, it is possible to have a cultivar of a variety:

  • Berberis thunbergia var. atropurpurea ‘Chenault’

Mix, Series, Strain: Multiples of a single cultivar. Put in single quotes as we do cultivars.

Trademarked plants

Put in single quotes as we do cultivars.

  • ‘Black Nebula’ carrots Stay dark even after cooking. ‘Silver Queen’ okra An heirloom variety from long ago.
  • With so many varieties of tomatoes to choose from, it’s hard to pick one. For hybrid varieties, grow ‘Better Boy’, ‘Big Beef’, ‘Pink Girl’, and ‘Celebrity’.

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