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Hello! I need some scientific help. I am writing a novel and in it a gardener names a new kind of hellebore after one of the characters. I need to write the name in the way it would be registered according to it's genus etc. Would this be right: Helleborus orientalis –  Ranunculaceae  Hellebore cv. (name the gardener has chosen) ? 
I've been researching and can't seem to find a definitive answer. Can anybody help me? I would be extremely grateful. Many Thanks, Jenni  


  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 4,049
    edited April 2022
    It would be correct to write Helleborus 'John Smith' 
    ie: the Latin bit must be in italics or underlined (not both). In general, if it's typed you would use italics, if it's handwritten you would underline.
    The cultivar name should be in quote marks, never italicised / underlined.
    With the Latin names, the first should be capitalised (ie: Helleborus) but the species name never. If the character knew exactly which hellebores s/he had crossed, it might be possible to use a species or hybrid name but tbh that's unlikely and you're much better missing it out. Really don't get caught up in cv or subsp or any of that, it's bound to be incorrect!

    PS if you're planning to describe the appearance or behaviour of the plant, then even more important to either miss out or check any species / hybrid details. I'd leave them out.

    Here's an example of just genus and cultivar name, as used by the RHS

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,677
    Ranunculaceae is the family. Botanical gardens usually include it on plant labels but most domestic gardeners wouldn't bother, and you wouldn't include it every time when writing about a plant.
    Subsequent mentions (eg in the same magazine article) commonly abbreviate the genus, something like H. "Your Name" if it's clear they're still talking about hellebores and not hebes or helianthemums.

  • This is brilliant stuff LG! Thank you so much. I cannot tell you much I appreciate your help. And thank you for your swift response. 

    All my very best,

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