Note: The JCRA launched a new Web site on March 1. Please visit us at This site,, is no longer being updated.

What's in a name?

Plant identification label

(1) Family

• A group of plants in related genera that share common reproductive characteristics

(2) Genus

• A group of species that share common characteristics

(3) Specific Epithet

• Word combined with a genus name, to define a species

(2)+(3) Species

• A group of plants that share a common gene pool and can freely interbreed
• Always binominal (two words): genus name + specific epithet

(4) Cultivar

• A cultivated selection of a species or hybrid

(5) Common Name

• Local name given to a plant
• Many plants have more than one common name or none

(6) Plant Origin

• Native range of the species
• "Garden Origin" means the plant originated through selection or hybridization by man

Sign Sponsored by the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict