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Cultivar Names

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. This is a mini-botany lesson and it is might be helpful as gardening catalogues are filling up our mailboxes. Although Linnaeus developed the binomial system of classification that identifies an organism by just two names, the genus and species, you’ll find a third name for many plants being sold.  Usually the third name is a cultivar which means it was selected or developed by growers and usually has to be vegetatively propagated as most often they don’t come true from seed. Magnolia grandiflora has hundreds of cultivars, two very popular ones today are the work of South Carolina horticulturists. Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’ developed at Head Lee Nursery in Seneca and ‘Kay Parris,’ the work of  Spartanburg Community College’s Kevin Parris, and named for his mother. Another fine cultivar ‘Claudia Wannamaker’ was developed at Shady Grove nursery in Orangeburg by Johnny Brailsford. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.