Register New Varieties of Rhododendrons and Azaleas
By J. Harold Clarke
A Registry of new American varieties of rhododendrons was recommended in the July, 1949, Bulletin by the A. R. S. Committee on Nomenclature and Registration. At that time the A. R. S. Code of Nomenclature was first printed in preliminary form. More recently an International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants was adopted by the International Horticultural Congress of 1952. The International Code is quite technical and it is suggested in the introduction that "specialist societies should use it as a basis for their own code of nomenclature." Because of this and because the International Code permits the use of the group names which have caused so much confusion in the rhododendron field the A. R. S. Code as revised (Rhododendrons 1956, p. 144) forms the basis for the registering of American varieties. However, names which conform to the A. R. S. Code will also conform to the International Code.
At the 1955 International Horticultural Congress provision was made for International Registration Authority and the Royal Horticultural Society was designated as the I. R. A. for the genus Rhododendron. There is also provision for cooperation between the I. R. A. and national plant societies. After much correspondence and study it now seems feasible to launch a Registry for American varieties. The details of registration will be handled by the A. R. S. and proposed names will he forwarded to the I. R. A. for final determination as to whether they have been used before.
Dr. H. R. Fletcher (Registrar for the I. R. A.) of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, is preparing for publication a check list of Rhododendrons and Azaleas which probably contain close to 10,000 names. This list points up the urgent need for registration of variety names as it records many which have been used more than once, some 5 and even 6 times for different clones.
It would be possible, of course, for American breeders to send names directly to the I. R. A. Such names, however, unless also accepted for registration by the A. R. S., would not he printed in future lists of "Varieties registered by the A. R. S." as the requirements for registry by the A. R. S. are somewhat more strict, especially with respect to description of the plant.
For the present Dr. J. Harold Clarke, Long Beach, Washington, is serving as Registrar for the A. R. S. and new rhododendron names proposed for registration should he sent to him.
Registration of Azalea Varieties
The American Horticultural Society, through its Committee on Registration, has for several years been working on the problem of the registration of azaleas. It is our understanding that this group is now ready to register new varieties of azaleas on much the same basis as herewith set forth for rhododendrons. New azalea names should, therefore, be sent to Dr. Henry Skinner, Director, U. S. National Arboretum, Washington, D. C.
It should be understood that the acceptance of a name for registration, and its appearance in a list of registered varieties, indicates nothing about the quality or value of the plant in question, only that it is a new name and that it conforms to the Code of Nomenclature.
Rules For Registration
1. Registration is voluntary but desirable for breeder, fancier, and the general public.
2. Only superior selections should be named.
3. Breeders should submit names, which they would like to give to new rhododendron varieties, to the Registrar of the A. R. S. for checking as to conformity with the Code, and as to whether or not they have been used before, as indicated by the check list of the I. R. A. If a name is not acceptable the breeder will be asked to submit a new one.
4. Breeders who submit names will be asked to fill out descriptive cards which may be obtained from the Registrar. When these cards, properly filled out, have been checked and the names found to be acceptable the breeder will be notified that Registration is complete.
5. The parentage of registered varieties, when known, should be included in the description, with the female parent written first.
6. Acceptable names, of American varieties, already in use, but not registered, may be registered by application and approval as for new names.
7. There is no charge for this service at the present time. Costs will be borne by the A. R. S. as a service to its members, practically all of whom are interested in new varieties.
8. Descriptions filed by breeders should be semi-technical, factual, and serve to describe the variety rather than to praise it. Color descriptions should be based on an acceptable color chart, if possible, as R. H. S., Ridgeway, Munsell, etc.
9. Short descriptions of newly named and registered varieties will be published in the Bulletin.
10. Lists of American varieties, as complete as possible, will probably be published about every 5 years in a Rhododendron Book. Such lists would be published in 3 parts as-A. Registered varieties. B. Varieties named and published before this registration service was available. C. Varieties named and published since registration service was available, but which were not registered.
11. Lists of names should not be submitted for blanket approval, to he used later, but each name submitted should be for a definite clone to be released for general distribution within a reasonable time.
12. Breeders about to submit names should read the A. R. S. Code of Nomenclature. to be found in "Rhododendrons 1956." Briefly some of the most important requirements are: Name only clones, not groups. There is no objection to naming an outstanding seedling of a species or an unknown cross. No name previously used for a rhododendron or azalea clone or group should be used again. Names used for rhododendrons should not be used for azaleas and vice versa. Names should be simple, preferably one word, although two, or rarely three, are permissible. Meaningful or descriptive names are good. Do not use Latin names or names formed by combining parts of the Latin names of the parents. Avoid names including single letters, the Articles A or The and titles such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc. Names of States or Countries, without another word, should not be used. Names likely to be confused, as Caroline and Carolina, and those which exaggerate, as "Best of All" should be avoided. A variety should not be named after a living person without his consent.