Mentha .information on mint plants
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Glossary of some terms used on this site


This page is still being developed, so will be changed and added to from time to time.

accession   cultivar   family   form   genus   hybrid group   nothomorph   primary hybrid   rhizome   runners   species   stolon   taxa   variety    

accession An accession is what each individual plant is called within a Plant Collection. It could have the same name and even actually be the same mint as several others within the Collection. Each accession is usually given a unique number or letter/number combination, so that that plant and any subsequent propagated material can be identified from any other plant, even if names and sources are the same. One of the advantages of this is that if this plant is subsequent found to be different in any way from others of the same name, there is a means of separating stock and renaming whilst still keeping the original accession number.   
cultivar A cultivar is a plant variant that has appeared in cultivation (not in the wild), or a variant in the wild that is propagated and so persists in cultivation whereas it may not persist in the wild. A cultivar could be a hybrid (a variant that has been grown from seed) or a sport (a variant that has appeared from a mutation in cell division within one of the plant buds). A cultivar should written as with a capital first letter and within single quotation marks e.g. Mentha arvensis 'New Fancy'. If there are no single quotation marks the word may not be a true cultivar name: it may be a Trade Mark name for a series of plants or the individual plant; or a selling name which may not be used by any other source; or a common name being used to identify this plant at this source and not necessarily the same as in use elsewhere.  
family    
form Form (or forma, in the correct botanical language) is a level of description and naming of wild plants, below variety (varietas, the correct botanical language). Within written plant names it is abbreviated to f. and not italic. It is also used as a description and name of the variants from within a hybrid group, between two or more wild species. The word nothomorph ( shortened to nm.) is also used by some learned institutions. Don't ask me why it is allowed to have two possible ways of writing the level, because it is far from helpful! e.g. Mentha villosa f. alopecuroides and Mentha villosa nm. alopecuroides.  
genus    
hybrid group    
nothomorph    
primary hybrid    
rhizome This a plant stem which also acts as a storage area for plant nutrients. In irises they look quite like they have a specialised function, but in mints they are very similar to stems, except they grow horizontally mostly under the soil surface, which makes them pale although if exposed to light they become greener. The rhizome is the part of mint that survives the winter underground or at soil level, whereas the more vertical stems die down, unless we have a very mild winter. Some people have been known to call mint rhizomes "stolons", or "runners" , which are normally explained as having different functions.  
runners    
species    
stolon    
taxa The accurate term used to describe the number of plants, which are different, in the collection (although not always yet given a botanical or horticultural name). In general gardening the terms "variety" or "form" are often used, but these do have specific botanical meanings which are very different, and very vague meanings in colloquial use, so to avoid confusion they will not be used except where accurate. If referring to only one plant, "taxon" is the singular of taxa.  
variety Variety (or varietas, in botanical latin) is a level of description and naming of wild plants, below species (or subspecies) and above form (forma, in botanical latin). Within written plant names it is abbreviated to var. and not italic.  
     
     
     
     

accession   cultivar   family   form   genus   hybrid group   nothomorph   primary hybrid   rhizome   runners   species   stolon   taxa   variety    

  

  



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