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AngieRAngieR Posts: 345

This may, too some of you, be a silly question but just what is the difference between a cultivar and hybrid? I get the Genus and 'species' bit but I then get confused!  Also, the term variety?  Is that another name for the cultivar or something completely different.


  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 7,650

    Cultivar. A plant that differs in some way from the species, but not enough to be a separate species.

                   Tends to be used to refer to cultivated variety, ie bred by man, but can occur in the wild.

    Hybrid. A cross between 2 different species.

    Variety. A rank in the classification system, beneath species

                 Genus - Species - Variety - sub species.

    Not sure whether I have explained that well.

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  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,091

    I think that fairly sums it up punkdoc, except to say that a species will seed to produce another the same. Hybrids and cultivars can only be reproduced vegetatively (eg cuttings, splitting, grafting)

  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,970

    When you see plant names, the variety name is usually in italics and the cultivar name in quotation marks eg

    Polemoniaceae Phlox drummondii v. alba 'White Princess'

    the first name is the family name, followed by the genus, the species, the variety name meaning white and then the cultivar name. 

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  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 2,416

    Not quite right, hogweed.image

    That should be Phlox drummondii v. alba 'White Princess'.

    A botanical name consists of the genus name (Phlox) plus the specific epithet (drummondii) which together make up the species name (Phlox drummondii) which is always italicized (Phlox drummondii).

    To answer the OP's question and complete punkdoc's explanation, here's a link to What's in a (Plant) Name? site:

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
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