How do you read plant labels at NYBG?
Plant labels carry quite a bit of information. For complete information and illustrations, see our guide Understanding Plant Labels at NYBG.
Usually, the following are listed (from top to bottom):
Common name of plant (if it has one) -- Common names can sometimes be confusing as a plant may have more than one and multiple plants can have the same common name; the botanical name is more definitive:
Botanical name i.e. genus and species -- Sometimes a subspecies name will also be added. See this link for a detailed description of botanical nomenclature.
Cultivar name -- If the plant is a cultivated variety (i.e. developed by a gardener) then this will be indicated in single quotes. Or the name given to the cultivar by the developer will be given. If the plant is a hybrid then the name will have an “x” and some indication of the parents of the hybrid.
Family -- The family to which this genus belongs will be listed, usually in capital letters.
Country of origin -- Sometimes the country to which the plant is native to will be given.
Finally, the label may have the date when the specimen was planted.
An example label would be:
Tanyosha or umbrella pine – common name.
Pinus densiflora - genus and species.
‘Umbraculifera' – cultivar name
PINACEAE – the family to which pines belong.
This label would probably not list the country of origin as it is not the native species.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information
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