My purpose is not to argue appropriateness of the rules or anything else
simply to present the code as printed and discussed in the publication of
There have been several suggestions at what the rules are for naming hostas
for registration most of which were incorrect in some manner. Although all
specific questions should be directed to David Stevenson, the official
registrar for the Genus Hosta, in his capacity as an employee of a co-
International Registration Authority ("IRA"), I will attempt to address some
of the questions that have been asked. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and
the American Hosta Society are the co-IRAs for the Genus Hosta. (In
daylilies, the American Hemerocallis Society is the IRA and Gretchen Baxter
is the registrar.
The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants ("ICNCP") is
promulgated by the International Commission for the Nomenclature of
Cultivated Plants. This committee is a subcommittee of the International
Union of Botanical Sciences ("IUBS") which in turn is a subcommittee of the
International Council of Scientific Unions ("ICSU") which in turn is a
subcommittee of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural
Organization ("UNESCO") which is a committee of the United Nations ("UN")
(Likewise there is an International Code of Botanical Nomenclature ("ICBN")
for species -- naturally occuring plants also promulagated pursuant to the
same authority.) Thus, the American Hosta Society is not to blame for the
rules. In fact the committee that drafted the rules had no member that was
also an IRA.
The purpose of the ICNCP and the ICBN is to ensure that their are consistent
rules for naming plants internationally so that a Hosta 'Francee' is the same
genus and cultivar wherever it is sold or traded. The ICNCP applies to what
are also called "fancy" names.
The Code was amended in 1995, prior to that the version being used was based
upon the amendments of 1980, and prior to that the amendments of 1959. The
code was amended in 1995 to accomodate changing language, usage, and the
volume of names.
The ICNCP is designed to provide the rules for IRAs to apply when registering
cultivars (cultivated varieties -- those that are the result of hybridization
or mutation), (the ICBN applies to naming species, or other levels of
naturally occuring plants).
The totality of the annotated rules run 39 pages and include: 2 pages of
Preamble; 3 pages of principles; 34 pages of rules divided into 32 Articles.
The principle Article that has been discussed on the robins is Article 17
which runs for 4-1/2 pages. The key provisions to the most recent discussion
are Article 17.10 which states in principle part "new cultivar epithets
(names) must consist of no more than 10 syllables and no more than 30 letters
or characters overall, excluding spaces and demarcating marks. Article 17.19
details what are demarcating marks, but includes apostrophes ( ' ) which
earlier versions of the code did not. There are also specific words and uses
of words which are prohibited by the code.
I am happy to answer any other questions but keep two things in mind 1) David
Stevenson is the registrar and should be consulted for specific registration
questions regarding a cultivar you wish to register and 2) I will leave for
Philadelphia in the morning and will be there for the next 4 days at the
daylily convention; so I may not get to your questions right away.
I hope this helps those who had questions.
Kevin P. Walek
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