I.Cl.S. - Book Reviews


Book Reviews by Members of the I.Cl.S. in Clematis International 2003

  1. The International Clematis Register and Checklist 2002 - Victoria Matthews
  2. Clematis du 3e millénaire - Raymond J. Evison
  3. Clematis - Climbers of the Future - M.A. Beskaravainaya
  4. Clematis the Genus - Christopher Grey-Wilson


The International Clematis Register and Checklist 2002 - RHS, compiled by Victoria Matthews, International Clematis Registrar

First published in 2002 by The Royal Horticultural Society, 80 Vincent Square, LONDON, SW1P 2PE, Great Britain. Web site: http://www.rhs.org.uk/ ISBN 1-902896-18-1 Price £19.95 + post & packing.

Reviewed by Wim Snoeijer

[Editor's note: Victoria Matthews responded to this review in Clematis International 2004 in order to try and dispel some of the confusion illustrated by Wim's comments.]

The International Clematis Register and Checklist 2002The long expected International Clematis Register is now published. The title is Clematis Register and Checklist, and indeed, covers more information than apparently prescribed by the International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS) Commission for Registration and Nomenclature as published in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants.

The book contains 368 pages. It includes several chapters starting with 'Introduction' which is divided into several paragraphs, 'Horticultural Classification', 'The Register & Checklist', 'Generic Synonymy', 'Glossary', 'Abbreviations of Books and Journals' and 'Raisers and Registrants'. The bulk of the book is the alphabetical list of Clematis names, starting on page 15 ending at page 350.

The Register and Checklist (further called Register) is strongly connected with the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants - 1995 (ICNCP). This means, inevitably, that the Register has to follow the rules of the ICNCP. Since the publication of the ICNCP much debate is going around the world about many of its rules. Hence much debate is expected on this Register.

Becoming an International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) is by writing an application to the ISHS. The ISHS will appoint the party as ICRA and the party has to appoint a Registrar. The task of the Registrar, prescribed in the ICNCP, is to register cultivar and cultivar-group names, hence the name ICRA. These records should be published on a regular basis in a so called Register which starts with 'The Register' to be followed by 'Supplements'.

In this Register many cultivars are linked to a species, however the cultivar in question was not published being linked with a species by the breeder/introducer. In my view this is a judgement and judgements are excluded from the tasks for a Registrar as prescribed in the ICNCP.

Also the listing of species is not part of the tasks for a Registrar (see above). There is, however, a good reason to include the species that are in cultivation and for many users of the Register it will clarify a lot on this level. But by including species it can also lead to comments and critics as not all the used references for the species are botanically accepted.

From this Clematis Register you might get the feeling that anyone breeding and introducing new cultivars is obliged to contact the ICRA. However it is wise to do so to avoid misunderstanding of a proposed new name, it is not a law to do so. When you do not follow the Register or the ICNCP no one can bring you to court to sue you.

This also means that the Register should not be read and used as being the 'Holy Bible'. The Register should actually work the other way around; to suit the breeders, introducers, the trade, the gardeners and the general public in the first place. An example of that the Register is published as being the 'Holy Bible' is the fact that the Register does not follow the Namelists published by the Experimental Station in Boskoop, Holland. These Namelists have been accepted by the European Nursery Association (ENA), who also advises the European Union, and therefore they should have been used as basis in this Register. This is not so and now we have to deal with differences in nomenclature.

Another clear difference in views is the use of the botanical term sepals in the Register. Internationally, the term tepals is used in scientific publications and anyone using the New RHS Dictionary of Gardening (1992) will learn from the Glossary that the term tepals is the correct term. The only relevant information the Register provides reads as follows: "In some publications they are erroneously referred to as 'petals' or 'tepals'." If there is anything erroneous about the Register then it is the use of the term sepals instead of tepals.

The main problem for the Registrar is that the genus Clematis is so long in cultivation and heavily hybridised in the last 150 years without hardly any Register-like publication that it is almost impossible to publish a Register which is complete, correct and pleasing to all those who will use it. With probably 5000 cultivar names known it is simply impossible. But differences in understanding and applying the ICNCP rules are easily found throughout the Register. Thus it will be useful if I address some of these to you.

Horticultural classification

Being a Register, a cultivar classification is very important and is prescribed by the ICNCP. The Registrar refers to the reference used but this reference is not followed completely. New is that the cultivar groups are divided into 'Small-flowered Cultivars' and 'Large-flowered Cultivars'. This is not acknowledged in the ICNCP and will certainly not be approved by certain ICNCP Committee members.

Another comment on this classification is that the 2 groups in the 'Large-flowered Cultivars' have been named in a modern language (English) while all the other groups in the 'Small-flowered Cultivars' have a species related name. These 2 groups are named 'Early Large-flowered Group' and 'Late Large-flowered Group'.

'Heliotrope' versus 'Pansy'
The cultivar epithet 'Heliotrope' is unacceptable because of the ICNCP-1995 article 17.13 as referred to in the Register. This ICNCP article says (in short) that a botanical, common or vernacular name cannot be used as cultivar epithet. Both 'Heliotrope' and 'Pansy' are common English names for plants but there is no reference in the Register as if the epithet 'Pansy' is unacceptable. This example shows that in such large number of epithets, consistency of applying the ICNCP is very difficult.
'Evitwo' versus ARCTIC QUEEN
The Registrar has included 'trade designations', which is a trade name only to be used by a limited group of nurseries under a contract. But, any cultivar should have a cultivar epithet so that the plant can be identified and so two names are in use for one cultivar. Unfortunately, trade names are becoming more and more used in Clematis which might put off the customer simply because it is too confusing. But as the task of the Registrar is to register only cultivar epithets, the plant in question is quite rightly alphabetically listed under the cultivar epithet, in this example under the e of 'Evitwo' and not under the a of ARCTIC QUEEN.
'Ladybird Johnson' versus 'Lady Bird Johnson'
This cultivar raised by Barry Fretwell and named 'Ladybird Johnson' is rewritten in the Register as 'Lady Bird Johnson'. The motivation for this reads in the Register as follows : "Misspelling: 'Ladybird Johnson'. This name was originally published as 'Ladybird Johnson', but it was named after Lady Bird Johnson, so under ICNCP Art. 29.2, the name must be corrected to 'Lady Bird Johnson'.)"

This ICNCP article 29.2 reads as follows: "An unintentional etymological error in a cultivar or cultivar-group epithet is to be corrected."

There are two reasons why the epithet 'Ladybird Johnson' should not have been 'corrected':

1 - The breeder had by no doubt a good reason to choose for this writing and so there is a good chance this writing was deliberate. Next to this is the fact that in the Register there is no reference in the description that the breeder was consulted for the proposed 'correction'. My view is that the breeder's/introducer's choice should be respected and without consultation a name should never be corrected.

2 - The difference of interpretation of the ICNCP article 29.2 by the RHS (being involved in the ICNCP) is remarkable, as in the motivation in the Register the term 'name' is used while the ICNCP article reads 'epithet'. When the ICNCP article is about the epithet, then this article is quite clear because the term epithet covers the complete cultivar name, so every part written in between the single quotation marks. When this article is about the name in the sense of a person's name or a name of a place, then this part should be corrected when it was incorrectly published. The name 'Ladybird Johnson' is in honour of Claudia Alta Taylor, wife of former USA president Johnson. The part of the cultivar epithet 'ladybird' is not part of her name, neither her name of birth or her name when she married, and the spelling Johnson was correctly published by Fretwell (the h in the right place, with one s, etc.). So there is no reason to rewrite the part 'ladybird' being no part of her name.

A future problem by applying this ICNCP article is when modern names are used for new introductions, like for instance 'I Luv U', 'All 2Get+her' or 'VViM Snoeije?'. I hope such names are not 'corrected', either by the Registrar or the Editor of this Journal.

'Durandii' versus Clematis × durandii

A hybrid between two species may be written as Clematis × durandii or Clematis 'Durandii', according ICNCP article 16. Such a botanical hybrid is written like a species with a multiplication sign. The writing used in the Register for Clematis 'Durandii' is Clematis × durandii, because, as referred to in the Register, the origin of the hybrid is Clematis integrifolia × Clematis lanuginosa, two species. In my view, such botanical hybrid written like a species should be applied only to hybrids occurring in wild locations. The plant in question is clearly bred and raised in cultivation and so should have been regarded as a cultivar. Lack of information on one of the parents (was the integrifolia used for this breeding a white flowering plant or a blue one?) does not necessarily mean that the plant used should be regarded as 'a species'. The description on the flower colour of the species Clematis integrifolia in the Register reads "blue-mauve to dark violet, rarely pink or white". I suppose not all colours were used for this crossbreeding but only one selection, and a selection in cultivation is called a cultivar, including its offspring.

'Aljonushka' versus 'Alionushka'
The cultivar 'Aljonushka' was raised by Volosenko-Valenis and Beskaravainaya in 1961 and named in 1963. On a visit to Mrs Beskaravainaya, Mr John Fopma was given a plant and the name was spelled out as 'Aljonushka', a transliteration from the original Cyrillic name also presented by the breeder. Fopma introduced the plant in Western Europe quickly under the provided name, so this cultivar is known in the 'western world' as 'Aljonushka' for over 30 years.

Article 28 of the ICNCP prescribes how to deal with non-Latin names. This article, published in 1995, has a retroactive status, which means it also deals with cultivar epithets published before 1995. So what should we choose? The Register provides the answer, which reads as follows: "An unaccepted spelling is one that results from the transliteration of a name, using a system not specified by ICNCP. It is not intrinsically incorrect, but is not accepted in the Register & Checklist. E.g. 'Alionushka' is accepted [in the Register] but 'Aljonushka' is not." This explanation implies we can choose either 'Aljonushka' or 'Alionushka'.

I think it is impossible to accept a new spelling of a name introduced in 1963 because it is overruled in 1995. Again (see 'Ladybird Johnson'), respect for the breeder/introducer has preference, so for me it is 'Aljonushka'.

Published reference

One item used within a description is that of 'published reference'. This information is of incredible value. Unfortunately, the reference listed under a particular name is not always the correct place and should have been presented elsewhere.

For instance; Clematis 'Tibetan Gem' is referred to Clematis tibetana subsp. vernayi var. laciniifolia 'Tibetan Gem' with the 'published reference' being the Clematis Catalogue 1991 of Jan van Zoest. I am the compiler of this catalogue and I never had and never will publish such a name as Clematis tibetana subsp. vernayi var. laciniifolia 'Tibetan Gem'. So the published reference given is not correct. In fact, it is the first publication of such a combined name and so the Register itself should have been stated as 'published reference'.

I do not understand that the Registrar will link a cultivar to such a botanical name. It is unusable for authors of books and articles, unusable for breeders, introducers, nurseries and label companies and the gardening public will certainly not understand such a name.

The used example is just one of the many epithets linked to a species (a judgement made by the Registrar but which is not a Registration task) and using the wrong reference. Any one should bear in mind that many combinations of a cultivar linked to a species are in fact published for the first time in this Register while this cannot be learned from the caption 'published reference'. Other examples are for instance: Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens 'Jingle Bells' has the BCS Spring Supplement 1995 as 'published reference' but this name was not published as such by the introducer Robin Savill, and Clematis × diversifolia 'Heather Herschell' has John Howells' 1998 book (Trouble Free Clematis; The Viticellas) as 'published reference' but this name was not published as such by the author, etc.

Lack of consistency in this matter is the question why 'Tibetan Gem' is referred as it is and 'Nelly Moser' not, because the latter should, for consistency, be linked with Clematis patens but it is not.

Nomenclature
Being the first Register published on the genus Clematis I would expect an international and modern approach of the nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Register shows a rather conservative approach, which for me being non British, is so typically English. Normally a Register is not rewritten and will be used for many decades. Supplements to the Register are used mainly for new introductions and usually contain no changes in views on nomenclature. This conservative approach will be by no doubt widely accepted in the UK but I wonder how the rest of the world will respond, with reference to the earlier mentioned Namelists from the Experimental Station in Boskoop.

But to conclude I must say at once that for the Registrar, Mrs Victoria Matthews, this work is a tremendous achievement. Knowing just a little of the expected (including computer) problems that only with outstanding effort it was possible to publish the Register. Being a long cultivated genus, any publication would be large with so many cultivars, but with the addition of extra information the Registrar fulfilled a major task.


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Clématites du 3e millénaire (Clematis of the 3rd Millennium) - Raymond J. Evison

Published in May 2002 by Mauryflor s.a., 45330 Malesherbes, France, ISBN 2-9509816-4-X Price about 34 Euro.

Reviewed by Fiona Woolfenden

Clématites du 3e millénaireA welcome book from Raymond Evison, in French, with a similar format to some of his previous books. I think that this is the first major clematis book produced in this language for a number of years and will perhaps re-awaken an interest in the country that gave us so many great clematis in the past.

There is one chapter that is different from his previous books. It details which clematis cultivars grow in the different European climates and which other plants to grow in association with Clematis.

When recommending Clematis to grow in the different European climates Raymond identifies four climatic zones from Seville to Stockholm. These are the Continental, Mountainous, Mediterranean and Atlantic Coast regions. He discusses which clematis of each group will grow well in each of these climatic zones.

A number of plant associations are suggested for growing in the different climatic zones relevant for the other plants that grow in that zone. For example, in the Continental Climate Zone a number of associations for clematis with trees, shrubs, roses, as ground cover, and over apple and pear trees and with conifers are given. However, in the Mediterranean Region just associations with trees and shrubs are given.

All in all I think that this is a well presented book that I hope will re-awaken an interest in French gardeners for Clematis.


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Clematis - Climbers of the Future - M. A. Beskaravainaya

Published in 1998 by 'Kvarta' Printing House, Voronezh, 176 pages. ISBN 5-89609-001-3. Currently only available in Russian.

Reviewed by Kartashova L.M., Ph.D. (Biology), Senior Research Fellow at Voronezh State University Botanic Garden

[Editor's note: This book was reviewed previously in Clematis International 1999 on page 111 (see web page 'Other Book Reviews'). I have included this second review since it gives greater detail of the content.]

Clematis - Climbers of the Future by M.A. Beskaravainaya

This book summarises the results of long-term successful introduction, selection and genetic experimental research in Clematis biology, conducted by the author in Nikitsky State Botanic Garden (NSBG) on the Southern Crimean Coast (SCC, Yalta, Ukraine).

This book contains quite a complete set of information on Clematis prevalence and utilisation, the history of their culture, classification and taxonomy, the features of their evolution and living forms, morphology, bio-ecology, etc. In particular, the data is presented regarding the duration of development and vegetation periods, florification terms in different Clematis species and varieties, the morphology of florets and anomalies in their structure are described; the features of seed germination as well as resistance to drought and low temperatures, fungal diseases and vermin and anti-fungal activity are also presented. For the first time scientifically developed recommendations are given in Clematis selection and primary investigation of varieties, as well as in usage of experimental mutagenesis in their selection.

The results achieved allowed the development of a scientific basis for Clematis selection, including experimental mutagenesis and immunity; the study of the variability of floret coloration and the composition of their pigments with the use of biochemical methods and experimental mutagenesis; appearance of heterosic effect in some interspecific hybrids, cytogenetic investigation of some types and varieties aimed at clarification of their low fertility, cytological examination of some varieties, perspective for selective work. The author of the book gives convincing evidence that Clematis varieties, different in morphological and biological features, in evolution progress and ecologo-geographical origin, can and should serve as modelling objects for investigation of many theoretical and practical issues in biological science.

In this book the assortment of the perspective Clematis species, varieties, and forms of Russian and foreign selection (approximately 100 names), agro-technical features of their cultivation in different natural and climatic zones of Russia, the methods of accelerated seed reproduction of species and vegetative reproduction of varieties and forms, genetic variety of Clematis in Russia is presented.

As a result of a long-term work in Clematis introduction and selection the author developed scientific recommendations in their selection, sort investigation, assortment selection, etc. About 50 new Clematis cultivars and forms of NSBG selection were delivered to the State for sort trial, from which 29 cultivars were earmarked for the first time in Russia and received the authorship certificates, and 32 species have International Certificates. Included in the supplements are: the list of the Clematis collection in NSBG (to 1988), the table for definition of 33 Clematis varieties, the morphology of florets of species, varieties and forms in NSBG, perspective variants of cross-breeding of different Clematis varieties, types and forms.

The list of the literature cited includes 164 references. The book represents a fundamental investigation, includes wide variety of facts, extensive information on the biological features of Clematis, original principles and methods of selection work with Clematis, etc., viewed for the first time and necessary for further efficient work in Clematis introduction and selection. It is well illustrated and contains many pictures, photographs, and colored slides. This book is directed towards a wide circle of specialists in biology, selectionists, flowergrowers, decorators as well as amateur gardeners and other admirers of nature.


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Clematis The Genus - Christopher Grey-Wilson

Paperback edition first published 2002 by B. T. Batsford Ltd., 8 Blenheim Court, Brewery Road, London, N7 9NT, UK. ISBN: 0 7134 8726 7. Price £17.99.

Clematis The Genus - Christopher Grey-Wilson [Editor's note: The hardback edition of this book was first published in 2000 and comprehensively reviewed in Clematis International 2001 on page 134 (see web page 'Other Book Reviews').

This paperback edition is identical in page size, page format and content. The only two differences are that it is a paperback edition and it costs less.

As with any paperback book, it will not be as durable as a hardback and, with frequent use, must eventually suffer the consequences. However the cost savings are significant, this version is priced at 60% of the cost of the hardback, making it much more affordable.

Our original reviewer commented that it was for people who were not afraid of the price. I think that B.T. Batsford Ltd. should be congratulated for producing this edition since it puts this comprehensive work within the means of many more clematis lovers.]


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