About the Register

The desire to create a Register of all camellia names, worldwide, both valid and invalid, was the prime reason for the formation of the ICS. Leading members of the camellia societies of several countries were regularly in contact, and agreed to proceed, also to apply for recognition as the International Registration Authority for the genus. This was granted by the 1962 Brussels Congress of the International Committee for Horticultural Nomenclature, and carries with it the responsibility of following the Rules established by their Congresses as to acceptable nomenclature.

Dr Ralph Philbrick, of the Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, USA, had already commenced a checklist, funded by a grant from Longwood Gardens, but he soon moved to other employment, and Tom Savige of Australia took over the monumental task of producing the first edition of the register. This was published in 1991, consisting of 2209 pages divided into 2 volumes. Mr Savige also produced the First Supplement of 386 pages in 1997.

The remaining  entries to the Register have been made by Neville Haydon of New Zealand, who continues in the position of Registrar at present, and published the Second Supplement in 2011. Thus the Register has been edited by only 3 people over its 50 year history, although they each have had invaluable help from distinguished volunteers too numerous to be enumerated here. We have also co-operated with the national camellia societies in transferring their  published registrations into the International Register.

Register entries also include references to paintings and photographs published in the hundreds of books devoted to camellias published over the centuries. This is a valuable resource for checking cultivar identities.

In 2008 the ICS Board decided to make the Register available online, free of charge. Prof. Gianmario Motta of Pavia University, Italy, supervised this and continues to do so. That the decision was a wise one is shown by the approx. 600,000 visits up to January 2013.

Communication in past centuries was not what it is today, and a priority has been to examine and eliminate the twin problems which then became rampant -  many names given to the one camellia, and several camellias with the same name. We now ask for everyone’s co-operation in making it generally known that before naming a camellia, a quick perusal of the online Register’s alphabetical lists will show whether the name, or one close enough to cause confusion. Has already been used, and therefore should not be re-used.

For those with a sense of history, the Register is also a priceless record of the original publication of each cultivar, described in the raiser’s own words whenever available.

Please go to the Register here.




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