A cultigen (from the Latin cultus – cultivated, and gens – kind) is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection. These man-made or anthropogenic plants are, for the most part, plants with commercial value used in horticulture, agriculture or forestry. Because cultigens are defined by their mode of origin and not by where they are growing, plants meeting this definition remain cultigens whether they are naturalised in the wild, deliberately planted in the wild, or growing in cultivation. Cultigens arise in the following ways: selections of variants from the wild or cultivation including vegetative sports (aberrant growth that can be reproduced reliably in cultivation); plants that are the result of plant breeding and selection programs; genetically modified plants (plants modified by the deliberate implantation of genetic material); and graft-chimaeras (plants grafted to produce mixed tissue, the graft material possibly from wild plants, special selections, or hybrids).
Cultigens may be named in any of a number of ways. The traditional method of scientific naming is under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, and many of the most important cultigens, like maize (Zea mays) and banana (Musa acuminata), are so named. Although it is perfectly in order to give a cultigen a botanical name, in any rank desired, now or at any other time, these days it is more common for cultigens to be given names in accordance with the principles, rules and recommendations laid down in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) which provides for the names of cultigens in three classification categories, the cultivar, the Group (formerly cultivar-group), and the grex.[nb 1] From that viewpoint it may be said that there is a separate discipline of cultivated plant taxonomy, which forms one of the ways to look at cultigens. The ICNCP does not recognize the use of trade designations and other marketing devices as scientifically acceptable names, but does provide advice on how they should be presented.
Not all cultigens have been given names according to the Cultivated Plant Code. Apart from ancient cultigens like those mentioned above there may be occasional anthropogenic plants such as those that are the result of breeding, selection, and tissue grafting that are of no commercial value and have therefore not been given names according to the ICNCP.
A cultigen is a plant whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity.
Interest in the distinction between wild and cultivated plants dates back to antiquity. Botanical historian Alan Morton notes that wild and cultivated plants (cultigens) were of intense interest to the ancient Greek botanists (partly for religious reasons) and that the distinction was discussed in some detail by Theophrastus (370–285 BCE) the "Father of Botany". Theophrastus was a pupil of both Plato and Aristotle and succeeded the latter as head of the Peripatetic School of Philosophy at the Lyceum in Athens. Theophrastus accepted the view that it was human action, not divine intervention, that produced cultivated plants (cultigens) from wild plants and he also "had an inkling of the limits of culturally induced (phenotypic) changes and of the importance of genetic constitution" (Historia Plantarum III, 2,2 and Causa Plantarum I, 9,3). He also noted that cultivated varieties of fruit trees would degenerate if cultivated from seed.
The word cultigen was coined in 1918 by Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858–1954) an American horticulturist, botanist and cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science. He was aware of the need for special categories for those cultivated plants that had arisen by intentional human activity and which would not fit neatly into the Linnaean hierarchical classification of ranks used by the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature (which later became the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants).
In his 1918 paper Bailey noted that for anyone preparing a descriptive account of the cultivated plants of a country (he was at that time preparing such an account for North America) it would be clear that there are two gentes or kinds (Latin singular, gens; plural, gentes) of plants. Firstly, those that are of known origin or nativity "of known habitat". These he referred to as indigens. The other kind was:
" ... a domesticated group of which the origin may be unknown or indefinite, which has such characters as to separate it from known indigens, and which is probably not represented by any type specimen or exact description, having therefore no clear taxonomic beginning."
He called this second kind of plant a cultigen, the word derived from the conflation of the Latin cultus – cultivated, and gens – kind.
In 1923 Bailey extended his original discussion emphasising that he was dealing with plants at the rank of species and he referred to indigens as:
"those that are discovered in the wild"
and cultigens as plants that:
"arise in some way under the hand of man"
He then defined a cultigen as:
"a species, or its equivalent, that has appeared under domestication"
Bailey soon altered his 1923 definition of cultigen when, in 1924, he gave a new definition in the Glossary of his Manual of Cultivated Plants as:
" Plant or group known only in cultivation; presumably originating under domestication; contrast with indigen "
This, in essence, is the definition given at the head of this piece. This definition of the cultigen permits the recognition of cultivars, unlike the 1923 definition which restricts the idea of the cultigen to plants at the rank of species.
In later publications of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, Cornell, the idea of the cultigen having the rank of species returned (e.g. Hortus Second in 1941 and Hortus Third in 1976): both of these publications indicate that the terms cultigen and cultivar are not synonymous and that cultigens exist at the rank of species only.
"A cultigen is a plant or group of apparent specific rank, known only in cultivation, with no determined nativity, presumably having originated, in the form in which we know it, under domestication. Compare indigen. Examples are Cucurbita maxima, Phaseolus vulgaris, Zea mays ".
Recent usage in horticulture has, however, maintained a distinction between cultigen and cultivar while nevertheless allowing the inclusion of cultivars within the definition (see "Usage in horticulture" below).
Cultigen and cultivar may be confused with one another. Cultigen is a general-purpose term encompassing not only plants with cultivar names but others as well (see introductory text above), while cultivar is a formal classification category (in the ICNCP).
Although in his 1923 paper Bailey used only the rank of species for the cultigen, it was clear to him that many domesticated plants were more like botanical varieties than species and so he established a new classification category for these, the cultivar. Bailey was never explicit about the etymology of the word cultivar and it has been suggested that it is a contraction of the words "cultigen" or "cultivated" and "variety". He defined cultivar in his 1923 paper as:
... "a race subordinate to species, that has originated and persisted under cultivation; it is not necessarily, however, referable to a recognised botanical species. It is essentially the equivalent of the botanical variety except in respect to its origin".
This definition and understanding of cultivar has changed over time (see current definition in cultivar).
In botanical literature the word cultigen is generally used to denote a plant which, like the bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is of unknown origin, but presumed to be an ancient human selection. Plants like bread wheat have been given binomials according to the Botanical Code and therefore have names with the same form as those of plant species that occur naturally in the wild, but it is not necessary for a cultigen to have a species name, or to have the biological characteristics that distinguish a species. Cultigens can have names at any of various other ranks, including cultivar names, names in the classification categories of grex and group, variety names, forma names, or they may be plants that have been altered by humans (including genetically modified plants) but which have not been given formal names.
The year 1953 was an important one for cultivated plant taxonomy because this was the date of publication of the first International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants in which Bailey's term cultivar was introduced. It was also the year that the eponymous journal commemorating the work of Bailey (who died in 1954), Baileya, was published. In the first volume of Baileya taxonomist and colleague of Bailey, George Lawrence, wrote a short article clarifying the distinction between the new term cultivar and the variety. In the same article he also tried to clarify the critical term taxon which had been introduced by German biologist Meyer in the 1920s but had only just been introduced and accepted in botanical circles. This brief article by Lawrence is useful for its insight into the understanding of the meaning of the word cultigen at this time. He opens the article:
In 1918, L.H. Bailey distinguished those plants originating in cultivation from the native plants by designating the former as cultigens and the latter as indigens (indigenous or native to the region). At the same time he proposed the term cultivar to distinguish varieties originating in cultivation from botanical varieties known first in the wild.
In horticulture the definition and use of the terms cultigen and cultivar has varied. One example is the definition given in the Botanical Glossary of The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening which defines cultigen as:
" A plant found only in cultivation or in the wild having escaped from cultivation; included here are many hybrids and cultivars, "...
The use of cultigen in this sense is essentially the same as the definition of the cultigen published by Bailey in 1924.
The Cultivated Plant Code, however, states that cultigens are "maintained as recognisable entities solely by continued propagation", and thus would not include plants that have evolved subsequent to escape from cultivation.
Wider use of the term cultigen as defined here has been proposed for the following reasons:
Potential misunderstandings and questions arising from the definition of cultigen given here have been discussed in the literature and are summarised below.
A botanical name is a formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) and, if it concerns a plant cultigen, the additional cultivar or Group epithets must conform to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). The code of nomenclature covers "all organisms traditionally treated as algae, fungi, or plants, whether fossil or non-fossil, including blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria), chytrids, oomycetes, slime moulds and photosynthetic protists with their taxonomically related non-photosynthetic groups (but excluding Microsporidia)."The purpose of a formal name is to have a single name that is accepted and used worldwide for a particular plant or plant group. For example, the botanical name Bellis perennis denotes a plant species which is native to most of the countries of Europe and the Middle East, where it has accumulated various names in many languages. Later, the plant was introduced worldwide, bringing it into contact with more languages. English names for this plant species include: daisy, English daisy, and lawn daisy. The cultivar Bellis perennis 'Aucubifolia' is a golden-variegated horticultural selection of this species.Botanical nomenclature
Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is concerned with grouping and classifying plants; botanical nomenclature then provides names for the results of this process. The starting point for modern botanical nomenclature is Linnaeus' Species Plantarum of 1753. Botanical nomenclature is governed by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN), which replaces the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). Fossil plants are also covered by the code of nomenclature.
Within the limits set by that code there is another set of rules, the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) which applies to plant cultivars that have been deliberately altered or selected by humans (see cultigen).Cultivar
A cultivar (cultivated variety) is an assemblage of plants selected for desirable characteristics that are maintained during propagation. More generally, a cultivar is the most basic classification category of cultivated plants in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). Most cultivars arose in cultivation, but a few are special selections from the wild.
Popular ornamental garden plants like roses, camellias, daffodils, rhododendrons, and azaleas are cultivars produced by careful breeding and selection for floral colour and form. Similarly, the world's agricultural food crops are almost exclusively cultivars that have been selected for characters such as improved yield, flavour, and resistance to disease, and very few wild plants are now used as food sources. Trees used in forestry are also special selections grown for their enhanced quality and yield of timber.
Cultivars form a major part of Liberty Hyde Bailey's broader group, the cultigen, which is defined as a plant whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. A cultivar is not the same as a botanical variety, which is a taxonomic rank below subspecies, and there are differences in the rules for creating and using the names of botanical varieties and cultivars. In recent times, the naming of cultivars has been complicated by the use of statutory patents for plants and recognition of plant breeders' rights.The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV – French: Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) offers legal protection of plant cultivars to persons or organisations that introduce new cultivars to commerce. UPOV requires that a cultivar be "distinct, uniform", and "stable". To be "distinct", it must have characters that easily distinguish it from any other known cultivar. To be "uniform" and "stable", the cultivar must retain these characters in repeated propagation.
The naming of cultivars is an important aspect of cultivated plant taxonomy, and the correct naming of a cultivar is prescribed by the Rules and Recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP, commonly denominated the Cultivated Plant Code). A cultivar is given a cultivar name, which consists of the scientific Latin botanical name followed by a cultivar epithet. The cultivar epithet is usually in a vernacular language. For example, the full cultivar name of the King Edward potato is Solanum tuberosum 'King Edward'. 'King Edward' is the cultivar epithet, which, according to the Rules of the Cultivated Plant Code, is bounded by single quotation marks.Cultivated plant taxonomy
Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. Cultivated plant taxonomists do, however, work with all kinds of plants in cultivation.
Cultivated plant taxonomy is one part of the study of horticultural botany which is mostly carried out in botanical gardens, large nurseries, universities, or government departments. Areas of special interest for the cultivated plant taxonomist include: searching for and recording new plants suitable for cultivation (plant hunting); communicating with and advising the general public on matters concerning the classification and nomenclature of cultivated plants and carrying out original research on these topics; describing the cultivated plants of particular regions (horticultural floras); maintaining databases, herbaria and other information about cultivated plants.
Much of the work of the cultivated plant taxonomist is concerned with the naming of plants as prescribed by two plant nomenclatural Codes. The provisions of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Botanical Code) serve primarily scientific ends and the objectives of the scientific community, while those of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (Cultivated Plant Code) are designed to serve both scientific and utilitarian ends by making provision for the names of plants used in commerce—the cultigens that have arisen in agriculture, forestry and horticulture. These names, sometimes called variety names, are not in Latin but are added onto the scientific Latin names, and they assist communication among the community of foresters, farmers and horticulturists.
The history of cultivated plant taxonomy can be traced from the first plant selections that occurred during the agrarian Neolithic Revolution to the first recorded naming of human plant selections by the Romans. The naming and classification of cultigens followed a similar path to that of all plants until the establishment of the first Cultivated Plant Code in 1953 which formally established the cultigen classification category of cultivar. Since that time the classification and naming of cultigens has followed its own path.Cynara
Cynara is a genus of thistle-like perennial plants in the sunflower family. They are native to the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, northwestern Africa, and the Canary Islands. The genus name comes from the Greek kynara, which means "artichoke".Among the better known species in this genus include:
Cynara cardunculus is the cardoon, artichoke thistle, or wild artichoke. The stems of cultivated varieties are used as food around the Mediterranean. It is a common source of a coagulant used as an alternative to rennet in the manufacture of cheese, with the advantage that the cheese is then fully suitable for vegetarians; many southern European cheeses are traditionally made in this way. The more commonly eaten globe artichoke is usually considered to be an ancient cultigen of this plant. Cardoon is an invasive species in United States, Argentina, and Australia.
Cynara humilis is a wild thistle of southern Europe and north Africa which can be used in cheesemaking like C. cardunculus.
Cynara scolymus (syn. C. cardunculus var. scolymus) is the common edible globe artichoke. It differs from C. cardunculus in that the leaf lobes and inner bracts of involucre are less spiny.
Cynara cornigera leaves and flowers are eaten raw or cooked in Crete.Cynara species are used as food plants by the larvae of many lepidopterans, such as the artichoke plume moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla), a pest of artichoke crops.C. cardunculus is being developed as a new bioenergy crop in the Mediterranean because of its high biomass and seed oil yields even under harsh conditions.Horticultural flora
A horticultural flora, also known as a garden flora, is a plant identification aid structured in the same way as a native plants flora. It serves the same purpose: to facilitate plant identification; however, it only includes plants that are under cultivation as ornamental plants growing within the prescribed climate zone or region. Traditionally published in book form, often in several volumes, such floras are increasingly likely to be produced as websites or CD ROMs.Index of forestry articles
This article is the index of forestry topics.Indigen
In general usage the word indigen is treated as a variant of the word indigene, meaning a native.International Association for Plant Taxonomy
The International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) promotes an understanding of plant biodiversity, facilitates international communication of research between botanists, and oversees matters of uniformity and stability in plant names. The IAPT was founded on July 18, 1950 at the Seventh International Botanical Congress in Stockholm, Sweden. Currently, the IAPT headquarters is located in Bratislava, Slovakia. Its current president, since 2017, is Patrick S. Herendeen (Chicago Botanic Garden); vice-president is Gonzalo Nieto Feliner (Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid); and secretary-general is Karol Marhold (Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava).
Both the taxonomic journal Taxon and the series Regnum Vegetabile are published by the IAPT. The latter series includes the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, Index Nominum Genericorum, and Index Herbariorum.International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP), also known as the Cultivated Plant Code, is a guide to the rules and regulations for naming cultigens, plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. Cultigens under the purview of the ICNCP include cultivars, Groups (cultivar groups), and grexes. All organisms traditionally considered to be plants (including algae and fungi) are included. Taxa that receive a name under the ICNCP will also be included within taxa named under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, for example, a cultivar is a member of a species.Perilla
Perilla is a genus consisting of one major Asiatic crop species Perilla frutescens and a few wild species in nature belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. The genus encompasses several distinct varieties of Asian herb, seed, and vegetable crop, including P. frutescens (deulkkae) and P. frutescens var. crispa (shiso). The genus name Perilla is also a frequently employed common name ("perilla"), applicable to all varieties. Perilla varieties are cross-fertile and intra-specific hybridization occurs naturally. Some varieties are considered invasive.Plant breeding
Plant breeding is the science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. It has been used to improve the quality of nutrition in products for humans and animals. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to methods that make use of knowledge of genetics and chromosomes, to more complex molecular techniques (see cultigen and cultivar). Genes in a plant are what determine what type of qualitative or quantitative traits it will have. Plant breeders strive to create a specific outcome of plants and potentially new plant varieties.Plant breeding has been practiced for thousands of years, since near the beginning of human civilization. It is practiced worldwide by individuals such as gardeners and farmers, and by professional plant breeders employed by organizations such as government institutions, universities, crop-specific industry associations or research centers.
International development agencies believe that breeding new crops is important for ensuring food security by developing new varieties that are higher yielding, disease resistant, drought tolerant or regionally adapted to different environments and growing conditions.Prunus incisa
Prunus incisa, the Fuji cherry, gets its scientific name from the deep incisions on the leaves. A dainty slow-growing, early white-flowering cherry, it is a century-old cultigen from Hondo, Japan. It is highly regarded as an ornamental but the wood has no industrial value. It is hardy to -20 °C, and crossed with Prunus speciosa, has yielded the cultivar Prunus 'Umineko'. It is in the ornamental section Pseudocerasus of the cherry subgenus Cerasus of the genus Prunus. Ma et al. classified it in a group with Prunus nipponica.
'Kojo-no-Mai' is a cultivar suitable for the very small garden, as with judicious pruning it can be kept to a maximum size of 1.5–2 m (5–7 ft). In a large pot it will produce a dome of twiggy growth, and has the added bonus of brilliant autumn colour.Raceme
A raceme ( or ) is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers (flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels) along its axis. In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inflorescence-like racemes, the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit. A plant that flowers on a showy raceme may have this reflected in its scientific name, e.g. Cimicifuga racemosa. A compound raceme, also called a panicle, has a branching main axis. Examples of racemes occur on mustard (genus Brassica) and radish (genus Raphanus) plants.Red Delicious
The Red Delicious is a clone of apple cultigen, now comprising more than 50 cultivars, first recognized in Madison County, Iowa, in 1880. According to the US Apple Association website, it is one of the fifteen most popular apple cultivars in the United States.Saccharum officinarum
Saccharum officinarum, sugarcane, is a large, strong-growing species of grass in the genus Saccharum. It originated in New Guinea. It arrived in the New World with the Spanish and is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries worldwide for the production of sugar and other products.Salvia divinorum
Salvia divinorum (also known as sage of the diviners, ska maría pastora, seer's sage, yerba de la pastora or simply salvia) is a plant species with transient psychoactive properties when its leaves are consumed by chewing, smoking or as a tea. The leaves contain opioid-like compounds that induce hallucinations. Because the plant has not been well-studied in high-quality clinical research, little is known about its toxicology, adverse effects, or safety over long-term consumption.
Its native habitat is cloud forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico, where it grows in shady, moist locations. The plant grows to over a meter high, has hollow square stems like others in the mint family Lamiaceae, large leaves, and occasional white flowers with violet calyxes. Botanists have not determined whether Salvia divinorum is a cultigen or a hybrid because native plants reproduce vegetatively and rarely produce viable seed.Mazatec shamans have a long and continuous tradition of religious use of Salvia divinorum to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions.Its chief active psychoactive constituent is a structurally unique diterpenoid called salvinorin A, a potent κ-opioid agonist. Although not thoroughly assessed, preliminary research indicates Salvia divinorum may have low toxicity (high LD50). The effects are rapid in onset and short-lasting.Salvia divinorum is legal in some countries and certain US states, while other states have passed laws criminalizing it.Sunshine, Louisiana
Sunshine is a northern neighborhood of the city of St. Gabriel in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, United States. Located approximately 15 miles south of Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River, the community was originally named Forlorn Hope by inhabitants but was given its current name by Oscar Richard, Sr., who was the post master of the Forlorn Hope, La. post office. He petitioned the federal government for permission to change the name of the post office to Sunshine, La., in order to give it a more uplifting name. As frequently happens, the villages took the name of the local post office; hence, the name of the village and community became known as Sunshine, La. The community was annexed to St. Gabriel in 1987.
The "Sunshine" type of vetiver grass, whose roots have long been used in Louisiana as an insect repellent, was given that name by the USDA in 1989 for Sunshine, Louisiana, where Eugene LeBlanc Sr. grew a heritage clone given to his grandparents by Felix Perilloux, who in turn had acquired it from his wife Myrthee Froisy Perilloux in the 1860s. Vetiver was clonally introduced throughout the tropics in the 19th century, and DNA fingerprinting has shown that almost all the vetiver grown worldwide for perfumery, agriculture, and bioengineering is essentially the same nonfertile cultigen as Sunshine. This type of essential-oil vetiver is known by various names in different locations (e.g., 'Monto' in Australia), but because "Sunshine" was the earliest name used in modern times, that is how it is collectively known throughout the world today.Synanthrope
A synanthrope (from the Greek syn-, "together with" + anthropos, "man") is a member of a species of wild animals and plants of various kinds that live near, and benefit from, an association with humans and the somewhat artificial habitats that humans create around them (see anthropophilia). Those habitats include houses, gardens, farms, roadsides, garbage dumps, and so on.
The category of synanthrope includes a large number of what humans regard as pest species. It does not include domesticated animals such as cattle, honeybees, pets, poultry, silkworms and working animals.Examples of synanthropes are rodents, house sparrows, rock doves (pigeons), lice, urban ferals, and other urban wildlife.
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