CULTIVAR

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a cultivated variety

 

Cultivars come in to existence through careful breeding and selection. A cultivar is not the same as a variety on a species, it's a cultivated variety. The difference, a cultivar is man-made, selected for flavour, strength, resistance to pests, etc. Whilst a variation naturally occurs in nature.

A cultivar is an infraspecific taxa, meaning a subrank below species—it's also the lowest infraspecific taxa. A Group—capital 'G'—is a collection of cultivars with close resembling physical characteristics. Not all cultivars belong to Groups.

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Cultivar Names

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The name of a cultivar is written as such: Genus name specific epithet 'cultivar epithet' or Genus name 'cultivar epithet' (Genus species 'cultivar'). The cultivar name is held between single quotation marks, each word within capitalised (apart from conjunctions) and modern cultivar names (those given after 1959) should not include latin or latinised names. There's no 'connecting term', meaning an abbreviated (generic) infraspecific taxa, and the name is not written in cursive. Examples of connecting terms are: subsp. (subspecies), var. (variety), f. (form).

So, it delineates from the way we write other infraspecific taxa, which we write as such: Genus name specific epithet connecting term infraspecific taxa. For example: Genus species subsp. name of subspeciesGenus species var. name of variety, Genus species f. name of form.

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Examples

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+ Persea americana 'Hass' or Persea 'Hass' - Avocado, Hass cultivar - cultivated by amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass (around 1926). It has thick, knobbly skin which turns a very dark shade of green to almost black when ripe. The flesh is a buttery, pale green. It's the most grown cultivar of avocado worldwide.

+ Solanum lycopersicum 'Coeur-de-Boeuf' or Solanum 'Coeur-de-boeuf' - Tomato, Coeur-de-Boeuf cultivar (beefsteak type). The name means ox or beef heart in French.

Acer saccharum 'Legacy' or Acer 'Legacy' - Sugar maple, Legacy cultivar. Maple syrup is made from the sap of the sugar maple. The Legacy cultivar is hardy, and resistant to drought and pests.

Prunus avium 'Bing' or Prunus 'Bing' - Sweet Cherry, Bing cultivar. Cultivated at the Lewelling fruit tree nursery in Oregon (around 1875) and named for Seth Lewelling's Chinese foreman, Ah Bing. It's unclear wether Lewelling or Bing developed the cultivar, or if they did so together.

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Botanical Terms and Taxa mentioned

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Below are links to The Hungry Child's internal database on the terms and taxa that were used in this article, or might be useful alongside it. If you feel that something is missing or unclear, leave a comment or send me an email.

genus | epithet

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More on Taxonomy

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Last modified on 2016, February 21st

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