Many plants in gardens require no other name than that which would be attributed to them if they were found growing in the wild. However, where plants which possess distinct, desirable characteristics, which can be maintained through a process of controlled propagation, are selected or bred, some additional means of identification and communication is required.
Prior to the publication of the first edition of the ICNCP in 1953, the unregulated application of names to cultivated plants led to widespread confusion and a lack of clarity regarding the status implied by a name.
The ICNCP (sometimes called the Cultivated Plant Code) offers principles, rules and recommendations concerning the formation, establishment and styling of the names of cultivars, Groups and grexes. It also contains sections on registration and nomenclatural standard specimens.
Over the years the ICNCP has been altered and added to following International Symposia on the Taxonomy of Cultivated Plants. The latest version (the 9th edition
) was published in 2016 following the Symposium in Beijing, China in July 2013.