Mis-naming

in horticultural commerce

Mis-naming of commercially-available plants is widespread in the U.K., despite readily-available sources of good information to enable correct naming by sellers.

The RHS Plant Finder” (available on-line) gives correct nomenclature and is an easy guide to up-to-date Latin names for species and hybrids whose traditional names in horticulture are incorrect or have been revised. (E.g. Cistus x hybridus is still widely sold as C. x corbariensis; C. x dansereaui is still sold as C. x lusitanicus, or, worse still, as C. x loretii, which is downright wrong; C. inflatus is still grown as C. psilosepalus or even as C. hirsutus; Halimium calycinum is still sold as H. commutatum or even as H. libanotis.)

Many cultivars are attributed to the wrong species or hybrid (E.g. Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’ – probably the most widely sold of all cultivars – is still sold as C. crispus.) “The RHS Plant Finder” can help here too.

There are countless mis-identifications caused by simple ignorance.

Any cultivar with blotched, white petals is likely to be sold as C. ladanifer. Usually these prove to be hybrids of this species: C. x cyprius, C. x dansereaui, etc. (Incidentally almost all are superior to the typical form of this species as garden plants.)

C. ‘Grayswood Pink’ masquerades as ‘Silver Pink’ and as C. parviflorus. ‘Peggy Sammons’ and C. x skanbergii are also sold as ‘Silver Pink’.

x Halimiocistus sahucii is sold as the much rarer x H. revolii.

The name Cistus x florentinus has been applied to almost anything with unblotched white flowers, especially Cistus ‘Enigma’. Treat any plant sold under the name Cistus x florentinus with suspicion, except for the cultivar ‘Fontfroide’, which is generally sold true to name and is a very good form of the true hybrid.

N.B. I do not sell plants on internet auction sites. If you see my photos used to illustrate such items beware. The plant on offer may not be true to name. (Copyright policy)

Help and advice in identifying cistus and halimiums

Apart from “The Plant Finder”, my bibliography pages may point you to useful information, especially my own published works, including an up-to-date guide, available by mail order.

I am also willing to give an opinion on the identity of your plant if you send me a flowering sample with mature foliage or a very good, detailed photograph. Please contact me first by telephone or email.

  • Telephone: 0113 2504243, +44 113 2504243 (from outside the U.K.)
  • Email: Robert G Page