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Concise labeling: You say 'Heuchera,' I say 'H. americana'

17 years ago

[cross-posted with "Botany"]

I'm interested in what people leave in, and what they leave out -- assuming you can't get a plant's full name on a relatively small zinc marker, and assuming you're not working for a botanic garden but simply want to communicate some basic information to yourself and others a good few years from now.

I want to keep the cultivar names, because they're descriptive and handy. The main issue is the first line with genus and species. There's no room to write names out in full. So, yes, I could write "H. americana," instead of "Heuchera americana," but it seems a shame to effectively omit the much more recognizable and meaningful genus, in favor of the species. I'd know what "H." means, but most others wouldn't. And while "americana" isn't especially crucial, because it coers most common heucheras, what about those where the species is more up-for-grabs, such as Clematis? I'm trying to strike some balance between scientific thoroughness, user-friendliness and consistency.

So what do you think:

1) "Heuchera" or "H. americana" ?

2) "Clematis" or "C. Terniflora"?

3) "Astilbe" or "A. arendsii"?

4) "Pieris" or "P. japonica"?

5) "Campanula" or "C. Portenschlagiana"?

And what the heck do I do to condense Athyrium niponicum var. pictum aka 'Ursula's Red'?!?

Yours in taxonomic gratitude,


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