Registration Of Cyclamen Cultivars
The Cyclamen Society has been appointed by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS – Societe Internationale de la Science Horticole) as the International Registrar of Cultivar Names for all cyclamen species except florists’ cultivars of Cyclamen persicum. Registration is the responsibility of the Registrar (currently Trevor Wiltshire) who may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at the address on the form below.
Registration should be carried out using this attached form. Registration Form
Ideally a registrant should complete the form and provide:
a detailed description of why the cultivar is unique;
herbarium material (several flowers and leaves);
several good photographs showing the unique features of the cultivar; and
confirm that the cultivar is stable and comes true from seed (the Registrar considers 75% true should be the minimum standard).
Anecdotal notes on why the name was chosen and any general background story on the origins of the cultivar are also interesting.
The Registrar can give guidance on naming to avoid duplication and confusion and also has a set of RHS colour charts, to enable colour information to be recorded where registrants provide fresh plant material.
In order to complete the registration of a cultivar, the information listed above should be put into the attached registration form. This can be done electronically using (currently free) Adobe Acrobat software or by printing the form and writing instead. The completed form can be sent by email to email@example.com or by post to the address on the form.
Why Register Your Cultivar?
True-to-type plants of named cultivars are sought by enthusiasts for their plant collections but it has always been a problem for gardeners and horticulturists alike when, all too often, the plant disappoints, as it fails to meet expectations by not conforming to the description of the cultivar which attracted the purchaser in the first place.
The Cyclamen Society encourages the registration of cultivars, especially those which are an improvement on existing ones, in order to help nurserymen and amateur growers be aware of what is available and to discourage the needless multiplication of names for the same cultivar, with the confusion this can cause (such as happened with apple cultivars more than a century ago).
In the case of cyclamen there is an additional hurdle, in that vegetative propagation is a difficult process, not currently economic for nurserymen, and so propagation is almost exclusively by seed. This is why one of the Registrar’s recommended criteria is that a cultivar should come 75% true from seed and why Dr C Grey-Wilson (2002) wrote about a C. hederifolium that had been given a cultivar name but which the grower admitted was unstable with reversion from type in a considerable proportion of seedlings:
“It is my opinion and I am sure of many horticulturists that such unstable plants should never be given a cultivar name in the first instance. The establishment of formal registration of Cyclamen species cultivars (excluding C. persicum) will not necessarily limit the over-zealous naming of cultivars in the future; unfortunately in the real world, there is no law that prevents anyone applying a name, however fanciful, should they wish to do so but it is to be hoped that those selecting new cultivars and proposing new names will do so with careful consideration and a good deal of restraint.”
There are a lot of named selections of the various species. However, many of them have not been maintained since registration by meticulous rogueing of successive generations of seedlings, until they no longer come sufficiently true from seed and the original character of the cultivar has been lost. As a consequence many are no longer available, though it is hoped, by obtaining photographs of the originals, that plants sufficiently like them may be identified and new strains, bred from these, may be accorded the original cultivar name.
Obtaining RHS Plant Awards
The RHS does not give plant awards for cultivars above Preliminary Commendation nor give a listing in the annual RHS Plant Finder until plants are available in the trade. A good place to start this process is to make good quantities available at Cyclamen Society shows. The RHS keeps a herbarium of garden plant cultivars and so is keen for the Registrar to provide them with a duplicate set of descriptions, photographs and herbarium specimens.