Ask a Question forum: Best Reference to obtain correct current Plant Names.

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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Nov 11, 2017 3:08 PM CST
Hi all:

I got ahold of an incorrect id, on a website. I hate when that happens, so I am making an effort to make sure I know where to get accurate information. I am turning to NGA asking you share your favorite resources for name and id info.

My favorite book "GROWING BEAUTIFUL HOUSEPLANTS" by Robert Herwig, is so old, most of the names are only half correct any more. But in it's day it was the best available, Problem is it's day was 1997. Ahem. Let's leave age out of this,

I have found going to the internet for name and identification info is like getting lost in maze of confusion and contradiction. I am careful to make sure the site is from 2017 when researching a correct name but that is no guarantee. You can still get inaccurate info, it's just currently incorrect, which is worthless. I don't know what sites I can trust. If you do, please share them, as well as any book that you love as well. I know a really good book is expensive, and though I am frugal, I am also a book worm, and will pay for the best.

I am excited to hear from everyone.
Laurie B




Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
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greene
Nov 11, 2017 3:11 PM CST
Are you wanting the common names? or the botanical names? Either way, they change all the time. The minute a book is printed, it's already out of date.

Two good online sources are Catalogue of Life and The Plant List - they do their best to keep up with the constant changes.

Edited to add:
When I was new here, I asked about the 'correct' plant names and received the reply that there is no such thing as a 'correct' name; only a currently accepted name.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Nov 11, 2017 3:50 PM CST
I agree with Greene 100%
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums Spiders!
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Ursula
Nov 11, 2017 6:26 PM CST
I usually check here for the accepted name and synonyms.
http://wcsp.science.kew.org/pr...
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Nov 11, 2017 6:52 PM CST
For botanical names (genus, species) NGA primarily uses the Catalogue of Life that greene mentioned:

http://www.catalogueoflife.org...

For cultivar names you can try the ICRA (International Cultivar Registration Authority) for the genus if there is one. Some, like the American Hemerocallis Society, have online databases where you can look up registered names.

Where a plant patent may be involved then check the US Patent and Trademark Office which can be searched online.

Some cultivar names are not that easy to confirm, but just bear in mind that a trademark is not a name and that a trade designation will typically have a cultivar name that is different. One that came up in another thread here today was Lavandula Phenomenal TM (actual cultivar name 'Niko').
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Nov 11, 2017 10:28 PM CST
Nice. It will take me a minute to learn how to utilize some sites if all I have is a common name. Looks like I have some studying ahead. Any and all others welcome. Thank you.

[Last edited by lauriebasler - Nov 11, 2017 10:43 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1584398 (6)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Nov 12, 2017 6:02 AM CST
You can get the botanical name by searching on the common name from Tropicos (Missouri Botanical Garden). Then you can search for that botanical name in the NGA database because it includes synonyms. In the unlikely event you don't find the plant in the NGA database you could then search Catalogue of Life for the botanical name you got from Tropicos and see if it differs:

Tropicos:
http://www.tropicos.org/
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Nov 12, 2017 11:45 AM CST
I like the idea of gardening sites stating which several major sources they use in recognizing cultivar names.

Several sites, I've asked at, include the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as a major source.

Personally, I do check cultivar names, on-line, with the RHS Plant Finder site when unsure.

Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Nov 12, 2017 12:30 PM CST
Thank You! Guys
I really needed to find sites for this information. There was a time when I seldom ran across a plant whose genre and cultivar I could not name. But that was 20 or so years ago, I learned pretty quickly here, my knowledge was outdated and dusty. Not only do I need to learn the new names, I have to forget the old ones, and with a much blurrier brain. lol.

@greene, you have helped me here so many times, I am always amazed at your knowledge, and energy. All that and your hilarious. Thank you for always helping me here. Your sites were immediately saved. Thank you!
@ursula, @Daisyl, thank you, I bookmarked your sites. I will use them for certain.
@SunnyBorder, I agree, it would be nice to know what references are the favorite used by the mentors on these garden sites. Your RHS Plant Finder is scheduled to be my Sunday morning guilty pleasure. It looks interesting.
Sue @sooby, you completely nailed the solution to managing these other sites for me. I really thank you for completing the puzzle. I absolutely had to have the other suggestions, but with Tropics, it is 1,000 times easier. Thank you for the help.
I will be checking back just in case there is more shared. But this is wonderful. Hurray!

[Last edited by lauriebasler - Nov 12, 2017 1:08 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1584639 (9)
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
Plant Identifier Rabbit Keeper Composter Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
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greene
Nov 12, 2017 1:08 PM CST
Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

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