• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Labelling Plants

Page history last edited by Gardener 13 years, 7 months ago

Label plants to mark plant location, to identify the plant, to note the date planted, where purchased, and moisture and light requirements. Scientific names use italic print. Buying plants by their scientific name is the best way to know you have purchased the plant you desire. Different plants may have the same common name but each plant has only one scientific name. Common names are helpful on a plant stake to familiarize people with the proper scientific name of the plant.


Plants are classified on the basis of similar botanical characteristics, such as flower, fruit, and leaf structure. Different plants with broadly similar structures are grouped into classes known as families. Family names end in "aceae", pronounced ayseeay, such as Rosaceae for the Rose Family. Generally, closely related interbreeding plant populations defines a species. Plants species are given a binomial, or two-part name in Latin so that the name is recognized throughout the world. The first part of the binomial name identifies the genus which is always capitalized and represents a specific group of similar species. The plants in the genus Prunus all have a fruit with a single hard pit. The second name of a plant species binomial is referred to as the specific epithet and is written in lower case. For example, Prunus americana is the species or scientific name of our wild plum which is in the Rosaceae or the Rose family. Prunus persica is the scientific name for peach. 


Sometimes plants include a third or fourth name. If var. precedes the third name it refers to a variety or population of plants which exhibit forms that are different in some characteristic such as plant size, flower color, or fruit size. These may occur naturally or with human intervention. Succeeding generations of the variety should show the same specific characteristic. Prunus persica var. nucipersica is a nectarine which is a variety of peach.


A fourth name is the cultivar designation which refers to a cultivated variety or a collection of cultivated plants which are readily distinguished by certain characteristics and retain these characteristics when reproduced but only occur under cultivation, with human intervention, not in nature. The plants are the result of specialized propagation techniques. These names are shown in quotes with the first letter of both words capitalized or cv is written between the name without quotes. Prunus persica 'Redhaven' or Prunus persica cv Redhaven is such an example. 


The terms "variety" and "cultivar" may be used incorrectly or interchanged in practice, but the correct usage is stated above.


Hybrids result when two species are crossed. These plants are typically either sterile or do not breed true. The generic name is the same but both specific epithets are lost and a new one is named. An example is Gallardia X grandiflora which is the hybrid of Gallardia aristata and Gallardia pulchella.


Sometimes the exact species of a plant is unknown. In this situation one should state just the genus followed by "sp." for example, Crategeus sp., which means the species of Crategeus or Hawthorne is unknown.


Many products are available to label plants. One system that works well are metal markers from EON Industries in Liberty Center, OH. Pictured are C 15---15 inch Rose marker and Replacement Plate E on bottom. If you desire just one marker Nursery Marker E-15 may work. If a scientife plant name involves a third or fourth name the latter will not work. The scientific name should be italicized and placed above the common name. The plate is the same size as the Replacement Plate E shown above. Weather resistant labels were made on a Brother P-touch printer, PT-1950, which easily stores all label info on a computer. Brother P-touch TZ 1/2 inch width labels are more economical in a two pack of durable, laminated, crack & peel tapes which are available at stores such as Staples. Whittled sticks may also work.


Plants such as Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly-weed, shoot up late so it is helpful to have the plant location marked to avoid damaging the unseen plant when working in the garden. Plant markers prevent crushed plants and soil compaction by human feet. Visitors to your garden may desire to know where you purchased various plants. Labels on the plants enable one to readily read the source. In the above photo the source is stated above the year planted. Moisture symbols are useful when you are watering or when someone else is watering your plants. A large raindrop symbol catches one's eye. In the lower right corner of the label above, there is a sun symbol with one side black. This means partial shade; the plant receives 3 - 5 hrs. of sun during the growing season.


Reference: Possum in the Pawpaw Tree, Rosie Lerner & Beverly S. Netzhammer, Purdue University Press, 1994, p16-18.

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.