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21 April 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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2 - Plant names
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Cultivars and hybrids
A cultivar is any new plant that comes about in cultivation (rather than in the wild). This is regardless of whether the new plant was 'planned' - the result of a plant breeder deliberately hybridising (crossing) two plants of the same genus - or whether it is an accident - the result of plants doing it themselves! The cultivar name is written Genus species 'Cultivar', for example, Rosa rugosa 'Scabrosa'. Etiquette demands that a capital letter is used for the cultivar name and that it is in quotation marks.

Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'Sometimes the parents' names are not known, or have been lost in the mists of time, so only the Genus and Cultivar names are used. For example, Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff' or Phormium 'Sundowner'.

A hybrid is a new plant that is the result of a cross between two botanically distinct species. The name x Genus species. Most crosses occur at species level. For example; Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood', which is as a result of crossing Forsythia suspensa with Forsythia viridissima.

Relatives
Another great benefit of Latin names is that you can see quickly which plants are related as they have the same Genus name. There are more than 3,000 types of rose available in the UK.

And if you really 'get into' names you'll find that every Genus belongs to a bigger group called a family. So, believe it or not, tomatoes, potatoes, chillies and deadly nightshade all belong to the same family, called Solanaceae. Then there are roses, strawberries, pears, apples, and hawthorn - they're members of the Rosaceae family.

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2. Understand plants

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Plant types
Plant names
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