Council calls for end to plant name confusion

Incorrect plant names need to be addressed after name mix-ups.

The nursery trade has been called on to prevent plants being given incorrect names. National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens (NCCPG) board member Margaret Easter said standards must be raised before customers lose faith in experts naming plants that have already been given other names. She said: “It’s a big problem. It is down to people who find plants and cannot find the name for them. Much of it is done completely out of innocence. They can’t find a name so they create one.” Easter was drawn to highlight the problem in the NCCPG’s publication, Plant Heritage, when she became a victim of confusion. In the publication, she mentioned a Thymus supposedly collected in northern Spain and given the name Thymus citriodorous ‘Vila Nova’, only to discover it was the popular cultivar ‘Golden King’. It had been obtained from a German nursery in 1997 but the provenance had been lost and it had been renamed after its original name could not be found. Easter said Inverness-based Highland Liliums made a similar mistake when it named a silver variegated creeping thyme discovered in Sunderland as Thymus ‘Highland Cream’. It was actually Thymus ‘Hartington Silver’ but had no label. Easter, who holds a national collection of Thymus at LW Plants in Hertfordshire, said: “It’s often ignorance but it’s unfair on gardeners. They buy a plant only to find out it’s the same as one they’ve got and they feel cheated. We are letting the customer down. It’s about keeping standards up.” She said people must share knowledge more to stop problems.

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