How to use the cultivar checklist

Skip to: How you can help // Searching, sorting and filtering // Cultivar details

How you can help

The checklist can always be improved. I’m constantly researching and working on it, but you can help too. If you notice a mistake or something missing, get in touch and let me know! I particularly want to hear about:

  • Typos, formatting problems, broken links, and other simple issues.
  • Cultivars classified as synonyms which shouldn’t be – or vice versa.
  • Names which are missing from the list.
  • Cultivars classified as the wrong species.
  • Cultivars with missing information about their origins or history.

For any improvement to the information in the list (not including things like typos), I need to rely on sources. That means I can’t just add information because you tell me it’s true. I need an external place to refer to, like a book, scientific paper, gardening magazine, nursery website or catalogue.

It’s also worth remembering that the list is currently exclusive to the Tradescantia genus. A lot of plants get labelled as “tradescantia” even though they belong to other genera in the same family. So if a name is missing from the list, it might be because it’s not in the Tradescantia genus at all.

Searching, sorting, and filtering

By default, the complete list shows every name that I’ve ever documented, in date order (newest first). That includes lots of invalid or unpublished names, trade names, duplicates, and cultivars that don’t exist anymore.

Just show me all the real cultivars I can collect today!

There are various ways to narrow down how you see the list using the tools in the sidebar (top of the page on mobile).


Show only names which contain certain words. The search is limited to the cultivar name, so it won’t include words which are only in the description.


Choose the order to display names in. You can choose to sort:

  • Alphabetically by name (A-Z).
  • Alphabetically by name (Z-A).
  • By publication date (oldest first).
  • By publication date (newest first).

Default is by publication date (newest first).

Name status

Filter to only show certain types of names.

  • Accepted name – valid names which refer to unique cultivars. If you want to see how many real different types of plant there are, these are the only names you want to see.
  • Established synonym – names which have been published but that actually refer to an existing plant which already has a different name.
  • Established uncertain name – names which have been published, but there’s not enough information to be sure whether they are synonyms or refer to unique plants.
  • Invalid name – names which were never published, or break the rules in some other way. Most of these are trade names used for online selling, or names which were reused for multiple plants.


Filter based on how widespread plants are in cultivation.

  • Lost – plants which were last documented before the year 2000, and almost certainly don’t exist anymore.
  • Rare – plants which were last documented before the year 2020, and are probably difficult or impossible to get hold of.
  • Locally produced – plants which circulate among collectors or small nurseries. They may be available only in some countries, or only appear occasionally, but they definitely exist alive today.
  • Mass produced – plants which are widely sold by commercial wholesalers. They are likely to be easily available across much of the world.
  • Not applicable (synonym) – all invalid names or synonyms are in this category. If the name doesn’t refer to a unique plant, this filter has no meaning. You’ll find the accepted name for the plant listed with its real availability.


Filter based on the species, hybrid, or cultivar group the plant belongs to. The list is in alphabetical order, and you may need to scroll to see the whole thing. Cultivars of unknown species or hybrids are listed with just the genus. As with availability, only valid unique names are included in these filters – there is a “Not applicable (synonym)” category which includes all synonyms and trade names.

Cultivar details

Every cultivar page has information laid out in the same sections.

Full name or correct name

Each cultivar page is associated with a particular name. That means that there are sometimes multiple pages associated with the same unique plant, and there are sometimes multiple unique plants mentioned on the same page.

The full name or correct name is the most complete and accurate way to refer to the plant. The name will include the genus (e.g. Tradescantia), the species or hybrid if it’s known (e.g. zebrina), and the correct cultivar name (e.g. ‘Violet Hill’).

  • If the page is for a valid name, the full name will be the same as the title of the page, but with the species addeed.
  • If the page is for a synonym or trade name that always refers to another plant, the correct name will be different from the title of the page.
  • If the page is for a trade name that can refer to multiple different plants, the correct name will be unspecified – there’s no way to be sure of the correct name for a plant with this label.

If your plant was originally labelled with the title of the page, then the full or correct name is always what you should put on your own label to be as accurate as possible.

Name status

This section explains whether or not the page name refers to a unique plant. The section always starts with one of the following:

  • Accepted. This means it is the correct and valid name for a unique, specific plant. It’s a “real” cultivar.
  • Established synonym. This means the name was published, but it actually refers to a cultivar that already has a different accepted name.
  • Established but questionable. This means the name was published, but there’s not enough information to be sure whether it refers to a unique specific plant (i.e. it’s a “real” cultivar), or whether it actually refers to a cultivar that already has a different accepted name.
  • Invalid. This means the name was never published (or was published in a way that broke the rules). Usually this would be a trade name which is used to sell a cultivar that already has a different accepted name. Occasionally it’s a name which seems to refer to a unique plant, but has never been described.

This section will also give a source for the earliest known uses of the name. In situations where there’s any confusion, the section will also include:

  • For accepted names, a list of synonyms and trade names that refer to the same plant.
  • For invalid names, a list of the cultivars that the name may be used for.
  • For duplicated names, a list of other cultivars which have identical or extremely similar names to avoid confusion.
  • An explanation for why one name was accepted over any others (for example, because it is the most widely-used, or the least amibuguous, or the first to be published in hardcopy).


This section is only included for accepted names (valid, unique cultivars). It gives any available information about the plant’s history:

  • How it originated (e.g. through breeding, or a sport mutation).
  • When and where it originated.
  • Who discovered or created it.
  • Who named it and how the name was chosen.
  • Who introduced it into cultivation.


This section is only included for accepted names (valid, unique cultivars). It gives information about the botanical classification of the plant. It will explain any uncertainty about the species or hybrid that the plant belongs to. It also mentions commonly-used synonyms for the species, so that it’s easy to recognise old names which refer to the same plant.

Legal protection

This section is only included for accepted names (valid, unique cultivars). It gives any plant patents or plant breeder’s rights registrations for the cultivar, and which countries they apply to.


This section is only included for accepted names (valid, unique cultivars). It describes how widespread the plant is in cultivation today, grouped into four rough categories:

  • Lost. The plant has not been documented in cultivation since before the year 2000.
  • Rare. The plant has not been documented in cultivation since before the year 2020.
  • Locally available. The plant is definitely in cultivation today in at least some places.
  • Mass-produced. The plant is widely in cultivation today and is produced at a commercial scale, often worldwide.

For rare or lost plants, there will also be a source for the last known mention of the plant in cultivation. For locally available plants, it will explain if there are any particular places where the plant is more or less common.