correctly writing pinguicula names

Joseph Clemens (USA) and Eric Partrat (France)



The informations below comes mostly from the following links and exemples with carnivorous plants have been added.


The system of nomenclature used today is based on the binomial system of nomenclature, developed by Linnaeus in the late 1700's. The binomial system of nomenclature is structured so that the scientific name of a plant consists of two names:

(1) the genus or generic name, and (2) the specific epithet or species name. There are rules to follow when writing a scientific name.


  1. The genus name is written first.

  2. The genus name is always underlined or italicized.

  3. The first letter of the genus name is always capitalized.

Example : Pinguicula or Pinguicula


  1. The specific epithet is written second.

  2. The specific epithet is always underlined or italicized.

  3. The first letter of the specific epithet name is never capitalized.

Example: moranensis or moranensis


The scientific name of this plant would appear as follows:

Pinguicula moranensis or Pinguicula moranensis


The evolution of plant life is based on mutations, which are constantly occurring. Very often a particular individual of a species will mutate to a different color, size, or growth habit. These characteristics are passed on to its progeny (offspring). When this happens, a population of pants exists with the same scientific name, but a sub-group exhibits different characteristics. If the mutated group is significantly different from the parents and is stable (the traits are passed on from generation to generation), then this new group of plants is often assigned a variety name.


1.  Variety names are given when the mutation occurs in nature.

Examples: a mutation occurs in Mexico

2.  The abbreviation var. is used to signify that the mutation is a variety. var. is placed after the specific epithet and is not underlined or italicized.


Example: Pinguicula moranensis var.

3.  The variety name is written after var.

4.  Capitalize the first letter of the variety name only if it is a proper noun.


5.  Underline or italicize the variety name.

Example: Pinguicula moranensis var. neovolcanica or Pinguicula moranensis var. neovolcanica

Mutations can also occur because of human interventions such as breeding, applying mutagens, propagation, or by cultural practices.

In these cases, the new group of mutated plants is called a cultivar. "Cultivar" is an abbreviated form of cultivated variety. The mutated plants are assigned a cultivar name.


1.   Cultivar names are given when the mutation occurs due to human influence.


Examples: a mutation occurs in a greenhouse

2.  The abreviation cv. is used to signify that the mutation is a cultivar. cv. is placed after the specific epithet and is not underlined or italicized.


Example: Pinguicula moranensis cv.


or single quotes are used instead of cv.


Example: Pinguicula moranensis 'Superba'

3.   The cultivar name is written after cv. or within the single quotes.

4.   Capitalize the cultivar name.

5.   Never underline or italicize the cultivar name.


Example: Pinguicula moranensis cv. Superba or Pinguicula moranensis 'Superba'


Hybrids are the result of crossing two or more species. Their names can be written in this way :

Pinguicula moranensis x Pinguicula ehlersiae is an hybrid very frequently grown among carnivorous plants growers.

One of the hybrid selected was registred meaning that a common name ‘Weser’ was given to one of the crossing and all the information about its parentage, registrors, description can be found in the registration information. The ICPS is the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) for cultivated carnivorous plants, appointed by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) on November 10, 1998. In order to promote uniformity, accuracy and stability in the naming of cultivated carnivorous plants, all names of carnivorous plant cultivars and cultivar-groups must be registered with the ICPS. If you have a carnivorous plant that you want to be a cultivar, you must go to : (- link -).

It was once acceptable to use the "x" to indicate that the plant, even a cultivar, was of hybrid origins. This is no longer correct. The convention has been changed so that only single quotes are placed before and after the cultivar name and the name is written with the first letters capitalized and the cultivar name is never underlined or italicized.

For example: Pinguicula 'Weser' is correct and Pinguicula x Weser or Pinguicula x 'Weser' are not correct.


This article gives birth to a new game :


Finding the uncorrectly writing plant names in this website ... and sending a mail to


I will try to correct all the names in this website soon.


Nobody is perfect...and I am very far from perfection...


                        Eric Partrat