Registration Guidelines



Published by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants


You have a new cultivar and you wish to name it. Do not attempt to name a cultivar before it has bloomed for at least two years. Often the plant's first bloom is not necessarily an accurate example of how the plant will flower as it matures.

Many hybridizers will take cuttings from a plant, grow and bloom them to ensure that the plant can be propagated easily from a cutting, and that it blooms consistently. This also helps ensure the survival of the new cultivar. Your new cultivar should also be propagated and grown successfully under different conditions and environments. Don't register plants that exhibit undesirable growth characteristics such as: weak growth, heavy spotting, susceptibility to fungal or bacterial rot, or being extremely difficult to grow. Chances are it will eventually become extinct.


There is no point in going through the registration process if your cultivar doesn't have some unique quality or characteristic, or represent an improvement over an existing cultivar. Perhaps your new cultivar has a unique color or color combination, or an unusual shape or form. Maybe it blooms off-season or several times a year, or is extremely floriferous or fragrant. It could also have growth that is vigorous, compact and clean or branches that have interesting form or crenation. All of these are important characteristics to look for as we attempt to improve the quality and expand the variety of our hybrids.

Your new cultivar must be distinguishable from those already in existence. Registering a flower that is too similar to an existing cultivar will only cause confusion for those who follow us and hamper our ability to properly identify cultivars that may have lost their names. The only way to make this determination is by comparing your flower to those from existing cultivars. Once you are satisfied that you have a cultivar that meets the criteria outlined above, decide if you want to give it a cultivar name.


Coining a new and original cultivar name is not easy, especially in groups which historically have had hundreds or even thousands of cultivars. An ideal name is both easy to spell and pronounce in the various countries in which the cultivar may be distributed.

Cultivar names are always written within single quotation marks so that they stand out – for example ‘American Sweetheart’. The rules for creating a new name allow you to use or make up any word or words you want. The following checklist contains all the pertinent rules and regulations for naming your cultivar.

  1. New cultivar names must be in a language other than Latin.
  2. Make sure that your name has no more than 10 syllables and no more than 30 characters, excluding spaces and the single quotation marks.
  3. Avoid names only made up of simple descriptive words (i.e. naming your plant simply ‘Pink’, ‘Pretty’, ‘Cactus’). A name will not be allowed if it is likely to cause confusion with an existing name.
  4. Make sure your name does not consist of a single letter or solely of numerals.
  5. Each word of a cultivar name must start with a capital letter unless linguistic custom demands otherwise. Exceptions are words after a hyphen unless they are proper nouns. (ex. Commander-in-Chief)
  6. A cultivar name should be as short as practical and should not consist of, nor contain overly long words that may be difficult to write or pronounce. (i.e. ‘Diplomgartenbauinspektor’).
  7. Do not use any punctuation marks except for the apostrophe (’), the comma (,), a single exclamation mark (!), the hyphen (-) and the period (.). • Make sure that your name cannot be confused either in spelling or pronunciation with an existing cultivar.
  8. Do not use fractions or symbols unless they are specifically permitted.
  9. Avoid names that might resemble terms used in the market place.
  10. Make sure that your name is not, or does not contain, the Latin or common name of a genus or the common name of any species in a genus if use of such might lead to confusion – do not use words like “epiphyllum”, “epicactus”, “anguliger” etc. as part of your distinct cultivar name.
  11. Make sure that your name could not be interpreted as being likely to exaggerate the merits of the cultivar (i.e. do not use superlatives such as ‘Best Ever’, ‘The Greatest’, 'Improved' or ‘Largest of All’).
  12. A cultivar name that contains the name of a living person should not be used unless that person has given permission for their name to be used.
  13. Make sure that publication of the cultivar’s name is not against the wishes of its raiser or breeder.
  14. Avoid names that give a false impression as to its raiser, breeder or origins. (i.e. don’t use the names of hybridizers of the past in your cultivar name).
  15. Avoid names that imply that the cultivar is derived from another when this is not the case. (i.e. ‘Padre Junior’, ‘Padre’s Pride’ or similar type of name when the plant is not descended from ‘Padre’.)
  16. Do not use either trademarked names or abbreviations.
  17. Do not use the names of international organizations.
  18. Do not use any of these banned words in any language: “hybrid”, “cultivar”, “grex”, “group”, “form”, “maintenance”, “mixture”, “selection”, “sport”, “series”, “variety” (or the plural form of these words in any language) or the words “improved” or “transformed”.
  19. Do not use names which might be offensive in the country where a cultivar is to be marketed.

The Epiphyllum Society of America has been designated as the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) by the Royal Horticultural Society. Since 1940, the ESA has maintained and published a register, The Directory of Species and Hybrids, which contains the most comprehensive list of names and descriptions available. To ensure that your name is unique – check the latest Directory and subsequent addenda . Our registrar, Dick Kohlschreiber, will be happy to assist you to see if your proposed name meets the registration guideline requirements. You may contact him directly at:

Remember, your new cultivar should be unique, distinct and stable in bloom and growth habit.


Once you have determined that you have a distinct cultivar and selected a name, it's time to complete the registration form. We strongly encourage all epiphyllum hybridizers to register their hybrids with the ESA. Upon approval of your registration, your newly-registered cultivar will enjoy a permenent place in the Directory of Species and Hybrids, and the name you have selected is protected from being registered by anyone else.

Plant registration forms are currently being revised and should be available from the ESA website in a downloadable form sometime in 2015. Old forms will be accepted until the new form becomes available. A photograph of the bloom being registered should be submitted with the form. See form for further details.

A $10 USD fee is now required with each new plant registration. For ESA members ONLY the registration fee is $5 USD per each new cultivar registration. Payment can be made by USD Checks, Money Orders or through Square Market or Paypal. If using Paypal, please send your payment to:

Submit all registrations forms and payment to:

Geneva Coats

ESA Treasurer

13674 Geranium St.

Chino CA 91710-5080

All submitted forms will be checked by the ESA Registrar and the ESA Registration Committee before they are published. You may be contacted if we need to clarify any information you provide us on the registration form. You may also be required to provide a different name if it is determined that your submitted name is in conflict with any of the rules outlined above. Additional rules are currently under consideration and will be published in the ESA Bulletin if and when they are approved by the Registration Committee.

International Registrar:

R.W. Kohlschreiber –

Registration Committee Members:

Geneva Coats –

Robert Kuettle –

Jerry Moreau -

Galen Pittman –