Anyone can make up a name for their plant and start selling it if they want. But the ICRA system exists to make the whole process more organised and systematic, and easier for everyone to benefit from. If you make a new cultivar, you can register it and the ICRA will help you:
- Make sure the name you choose follows the rules.
- Publish your name so that it becomes established and official, and no-one can override it later.
- Keep a permanent archive of information about your plant, so that anyone in the future can find out about it.
This entire process is free and has nothing to do with money, trademarks, or patents. The information is freely publicly available for anyone to benefit from. And people creating new cultivars get help to publish and document them. Everybody wins!
To register a new cultivar, there are some things you need to consider in preparation. If you’re not sure about anything, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and I can walk you through the whole process.
- Is your cultivar definitely new? Can you explain objectively how to distinguish it from other similar cultivars that already exist? Be particularly mindful of the fact that tradescantias can change their appearance dramatically in different conditions, and something that seems to be a new sport may be within the natural variation of an existing cultivar.
- Decide what name you want to give to the cultivar. I’ll check it to make sure it follows the rules, which you can read in full here.
- Gather together information about where your cultivar came from. Who bred or found it? Who chose the name? And who introduced it into cultivation by selling or distributing it?
- Take lots of quality photos of the plant, making sure to show any characteristics that make it unique. Be aware that when you submit photos with registration, you must give permission to publish them online and in hardcopy with credit to you.
- It’s a good idea (but not required) to submit a sample of the plant for documentation. Ideally this would be a fresh, live sample to compare to other living plants of similar cultivars in order to describe it. I’ll then use it to make a herbarium specimen to define a nomenclatural standard for the cultivar.
- I’ll publish and formally establish your cultivar after you register it, but this might take some time. If you want to be sure your name gets priority, you may want to publish it yourself immediately after registering.
- Be aware that your name and address will be permanently stored in the (non-public) cultivar register, along with the names and addresses of anyone else involved with the cultivar. Your name, city, and country will be published online and in hardcopy.
Once you’re ready, fill in the form with all your information and send it. It’s easiest to do this online but you can also send a paper copy by post if you prefer.
I’ll then process the form and get in touch to arrange delivery of a plant sample if you’re sending one. If there are any problems I’ll explain any changes you need to make. If everything is fine, I’ll officially register the cultivar, publish it at the next opportunity, and add it to the checklist permanently.
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