Plant Database forum: Name confusion

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
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Bonehead
Mar 28, 2018 6:45 PM CST
I apologize in advance if I am being obtuse. I have been researching a particular plant for a particular reason and am becoming more and more confused about how our database works. An unrelated example: Salvia greggii 'Variegata' is not listed as such, but instead is listed as Salvia greggii Desert Blaze TM. I kind of understand that trademarking a name is a marketing ploy, but then wonder why our database doesn't simply stick with the actual botanical name as the primary entry, with the trademark info below it (in that box). I also get that the folks trademarking a plant often pick a rather non-sensical cultivar name, but still, isn't using that more accurate and consistent? A search for the trademark name would still pull up the plant. Am I missing something?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Mar 28, 2018 7:52 PM CST

Plants Admin

It could be more accurate and consistent (although I disagree with that because accuracy and consistency depend on the database rules, and the rules of our database differ from your proposed model), but how useful or logical would it be? The trade name is given pride of place because it is then the name under which the plant will be listed in alphabetical order. I think most people don't use the search tool to find plants. They'd rather look through the alphabetical listings of cultivars. One of the plants recently added to the database is Calibrachoa Chameleon™ Plum Cobbler. Would it be preferable to list it alphabetically by the cultivar name? Calibrachoa 'Wescachapluco'? I think it would not. We'd have alphabetical lists of meaningless names, and people would be forced to use the search tool for every plant, taking care to spell the name correctly, instead of simply looking the plant up in the alphabetical listings.

Million Bells (Calibrachoa Chameleon™ Plum Cobbler)
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
Mar 28, 2018 8:51 PM CST
Thanks Zuzu. I don't agree with the reasoning, but apparently the pretty name wins. Makes me wonder why Autumn Joy sedum is listed as Herbstfreude... I guess because Autumn Joy is not trademarked? I just like consistency and accuracy, and it seems that picking and choosing which name to use accomplishes neither. But, not my website, not my battle. Carry on.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Mar 28, 2018 9:02 PM CST

Plants Admin

It's not just a "pretty name." It's usually the only recognizable name and the only name people usually use. If I'm showing people around my garden and they ask for the name of a Calibrachoa I'm growing, I'll tell them it's Calliope Plum Cobbler, not Wescachapluco.

The choice of Herbstfreude has nothing to do with trademarks. That's the original name of the plant. Autumn Joy is the name by which it's sold in English-speaking countries.
Denver, CO (Zone 5b)
Region: Colorado Xeriscape
GoCart
Mar 29, 2018 8:44 AM CST
I think part of the confusion arises from classification names vs common names as well. Would Autumn Joy be considered more of a common name? I'm not sure either way. At least with trademark names or 'pp' numbers you're identifying a specific plant strain and it is the original (named) version of the plant. I could see the argument for Autumn Joy not being included if the moniker was applied later, however, just because it's "the name by which it's sold in English-speaking countries" shouldn't discount its importance. This is an English-written forum after all. If Autumn Joy is applied to that specific plant variety only, I could see Bonehead's argument for its importance in the listing as well.

Regardless, what I certainly do appreciate is that standards for consistency have been set for the database, no matter what the rationale is.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
Mar 29, 2018 9:50 AM CST
But that's the rub, it isn't consistent. Sometimes the database uses the botanical name, other times the trademark name. That makes no sense to me. Shrug. I was just looking for clarity, guess there really isn't any. No problem - I typically search by entering the first 4 letters of the genus and the first 4 letters of the cultivar. Even if the entry is under the trademark name, my search should still pick up the correct entry because the cultivar name will also be included in the data.

The actual example that created my confusion was searching for a maple, Acer rubrum 'Franksred.' I searched Acer Frank and got a listing for Red Sunset (the trademark name), which threw me off until I looked at the other names. If anyone asks me what the tree is (once I get it planted), I'll refer to it as Frank's red maple, not Red Sunset. But, that's me.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Mar 29, 2018 11:39 AM CST

Plants Admin

We do strive for consistency, and if you find examples of inconsistency, please bring them to our attention. We use the trademarked name for alphabetization if there is a trademarked name. Otherwise, the entry is alphabetized under the cultivar name. Other names are also present in the entry as "also-sold-as" names or alternative cultivar names, but they aren't alphabetized under those names in the alphabetized listings. 'Herbstfreude' was a well-established name long before the name 'Autumn Joy' was invented for the English-speaking market, and even in the English-speaking market the plant is still sold as 'Herbstfreude' by some vendors. 'Autumn Joy' is included in the 'Herbstfreude' entry as an also-sold-as name, so it is included in search results.

Your use of the term "botanical name" is misleading, Deb. The botanical name is the Latin name of the plant. In your example, it's Acer rubrum. It does not include trade names or cultivar names.

The "cultivar name" can be a denomination code the hybridizer uses for registration and patenting, sometimes before the plant is given a marketing name. It can often be unpronounceable and immemorable, and I suspect that it isn't even remembered by the high-volume hybridizer after a more memorable name is chosen, so it wouldn't make much sense to alphabetize our plants under those codes.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
Mar 29, 2018 12:08 PM CST
Thanks for the clarification, Zuzu, I didn't realize the cultivar name was not part of the botanical name. So, now I wonder why the hybridizers don't just figure out what their final name is going to be and just use that as the cultivar name. Oh well. My red maple will be Frankie.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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