Plant Names & Identification

To say we’re a bit anal about correct plant naming (nomenclature), would be the understatement of the century. We use all means at our disposal to make sure the plants are named using correct horticultural nomenclature. This does not mean that we always use the latest, greatest botanical name. Often, plants are renamed incorrectly, such as the genus Sauromatum. In 2003, the Genus Sauromatum was decommissioned and its sole member Sauromatum venosum moved to Typhonium venosum. We remained unconvinced based on our experience, and in 2010, two new scientific publications reinstated the Genus Sauromatum, and added many new members. Just because a bandwagon goes by and everyone you know jumps on, doesn’t make it correct. We are still holding out for the return of the genus Cimicifuga from Actaea, and several others.

Our primary references include the Index Kewensis, The BONAP Database, Mobot's Tropicos Database, England's The RHS Plant Finder, The Genus Hosta, The Hosta Registrar On-Line, The Hosta Handbook, The World Checklist of Conifers, an array of worldwide floras and monographs, and many National Collection holders in the UK. Special thanks also to our friend Barry Yinger for his invaluable contribution with Japanese plants, and Wilbert Hetterscheid, a committee member for the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. If no information exists on a plant (which often happens) we throw a cookout for the neighbors, who after a few drinks begin throwing darts at Jelitto's Perennials I & II, along with the remainder of Hortus III. When botanists differ on correct nomenclature, we hop in the pickup, find a few taxonomists, and throw Cylindropuntia…or is that Opuntia, ( a.k.a. prickly pear) fruit, at them.

You can read more about plant naming in our Guide to Using the Catalog.