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Cultivar status?

I would like to ask the groups' opinion as to what qualifies a sarracenia for cultivar status. I understand it needs to be a plant of particular note and be exceptional but, what point system or criterial is used to judge it? I also understand that in needs to be stable in cultivation and it is desirable if it can be reproduced in tissue culture. Your thoughs on the matter?

Hi Brooks,
You can contact the ICPS about registering a plant for cultivar status. They have some guidelines..
For Sarracenia, and all other carnivorous plants for that matter, there is no point system or judging criteria. I know it sounds vague but, a plant simply needs to be unique from the typical to warrant being a cultivar. To give a cultivar relevance, the plant should be distributed. As for propagating the cultivar through tissue culture, it isn't necessary. Usually, cultivars must be propagated asexually to maintain their "uniqueness". However, there are some cases whereby, the cultivar can be propagated sexually.
As Mike King recommends, read the information on the ICPS website.

I just talked to Barry about cultivars and he said that if I felt the plant in question was unique and I wanted to apply for cultivar status then that was what I should do. So it seems that it is all up to the grower
Thanks Guys,
And Pyro, thanks too. I wanted to hear what yall thought. I know there are guide lines within ICPS. I have heard comments about sarrs that a particular sarr. did not deserve cultivar status. What would yall( sarracenia growers) think was exceptional? What would you like to see developed?

I really don't think that anyone can judge whether a plant deserves cultivar status. It really comes down to taste. What is the cliche? Tastes are like butts, everybody has one.
Perhaps there should be some kind of judging criteria but, how could you make it fair?
If you think about the hybrids that Adrian Slack made over twenty years ago, you might find them "dull," compared to some of the newer hybrids. Yet, they all deserve equal credit as cultivars.
I enjoy Sarracenia hybridizing. When I think about making crosses, I usually consider a hybrid that I like. Then I think about making improvements/changes to the hybrid. That's just the way that I consider my crosses.
As you already know, a cultivar doesn't have to be a hybrid. There are several cultivars that are species.
Exactly! This is the sort of lively debate I want to here from other sarracenia growers! What do YOU personally feel is good? The early hybrids were important yes. They are the early parents of some of the more spectacular hybrids and have set the ground work for the hybrids we have today.I agree, this is a matter of personal taste. We all think we have the prettiest baby. I would love to hear what some of yall are working on (Hybrids) and what you hope to achieve. I have found several natural crosses that I think are worthy of cultivar status but how can I, a neophyte, upstart think that I can just waltz in a present these as 'CULTIVARS' and think that I will not be stepping on someones toes?
I really wouldn't worry too much about "stepping on toes." If you keep in mind that a cultivar should be unique, you'll know what should be established as a cultivar. Someone new to Sarracenia would have trouble realizing what this means. It's not until you've seen thousands of flava x purp hybrids, could you be certain that you've got something unique.
I do want to mention something again. The significance of having a plant named as a cultivar has as much to do with distribution. If only a few people are going to grow this plant, it's not important to have the plant named. Plants that are widely distributed, should be named as cultivars. If for no other reason, to have a record of origin. There are several Sarracenia and vft clones that are widely distributed but, not named officially. These plants are known by a wide range of names and their origins are becoming forgotten. This is a point that shouldn't be taken lightly.
You ask about personal tastes. Well, I find Alan Hindle's Sx'Judith Hindle' one of the most beautiful hybrids produced. I really admire it's large undulating lid with it's bright colors. Unfortunately, it has poor disease resistance. Another beautiful cultivar is Dr.Mellichamp's Sx'Dixie Lace.' This plant has wonderful veining and color. I don't like it's constant dividing properties. It takes years before it'll produce large pitchers because most of the energy is diverted into dividing. John Hummer has produced some noteworthy plants. His Sx'Okee Classic' is stunning. It produces large lids with bright yellow/orange color. The plant pitchers very well and makes a wonderful display at maturity. The photo that was included with it's publication in the CPN is really a poor representation of the plant. He has another hybrid that should be named this year. It's another one of my favorites.
Another personal taste of mine has to do with pitcher shape. When I look at species, I look for a plant that is nicely shaped. I like flavas that have very wide and flared pitcher openings. I try to find a plant that is flared as significantly as a trumpet. Significant flaring like a trumpet is quite rare.
Hope this answers some of your questions,
  • #10
I do agree that anyone has the right to name a cultivar if he/she believes it merits that distinction. But I think there is a fine line between when and when not to name a plant. Like imduff said, I think the big key is distribution. If the plant is not going to be widely available, it makes no sense to give it a name. I could be wrong, but it seems at least some of the cultivars over the past few years have been bred solely to be nice, compact, easy-to-grow plants for the nursery mass-market trade, which I think is wrong. It's just my personal opinion, but I don't think growth habit should be considered when determining cultivar status. I think it should be based on color, shape, etc.
As far as what I personally would like to see. I think unique shapes are what I would be most interested in. You could have 1000 leuco/flava based hybrids, all nice and big with lots of color, but when you get down to it, they all have a similar shape and pretty much look the same. I would like to see more psittacina-based hybrids, not primary hybrids though. I've got two plants: a leuco x (psitt x rubra) and a leuco x (psitt x leuco) that have very unique shapes to them, not to mention the coloration. That is definitely an area I want to get into breeding, making plants that are 25% psittacina.
  • #11
Thanks Sarracenia and Imduff! Yes, I agree with you both. What good is a cultivar if just a few have it? Distribution is important. I know a local grower that wants to name a cultivar but cannot get it to tissue culture. i.e. limited distribution. What are your thoughts on 'found' plants(naturally occuring hybrids) where the exact parantage is unknow for cretain but may warrant cultivar status? I have two in mind that I think are complex moorei crosses. Moorei crosses can be nice but not outstanding. Both of these however, are stunning plants! I am interested to see what you guys think of these.



  • #13
The exact parentage of a hybrid does not need to be known to be established as a cultivar. I don't have to mention the ethics of collecting from the wild but, the plants that we grow are at least descendants of wild collected plants. This is not exclusive to CP. Thankfully, artificial propagation has filled a void in the market for these plants. Having mentioned that, I know there are cultivars that originated from the wild. I've even seen "wild" plants that are stunning. If you have something that you feel is worth naming, then "go for it." I'd be happy to view any photos that you send me. It's not for me to judge but, I can at least mention if I've seen anything similar.