Recommended standards of scientific nomenclature for seed swapping software?

Are there any recommended current standards or conventions for the naming of seeds? I'm asking because I'm now working on adding a "scientific" classification option to the WordPress SeedBank plugin, software that turns a WordPress-powered website into a community seedbank or seed library.

I've already found the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) and I'm wondering if this would be a good standard on which to base this aspect of the software. What do people here think?

My requirements are relatively simple: I need a way to unambiguously categorize a given seed entered as inventory into the software for the purposes of communicating the genetics of the seed as accurately as possible among users. However, I also want to make it possible for a user to enter as much or as little information as they have; this means I need a nomenclature that is cumulative. For example, if you only know the seed's genus, but not its species, you should be able to communicate that. If you know both the genus and the species, you should be able to communicate both of those things. If you know the genus, species, and cultivar epithet, you should be able to enter all of those things.

Also, am I correct in assuming that the ICNCP is rigidly hierarchical? That is, does a given cultivar epithet (like "Granny Smith") ALWAYS AND ONLY apply to a certain kind of genus and species? Or are there situations in which a Group, grex, or cultivar name may apply to more than one genus/species?

Thanks for your help understanding this.

See also: Devon's "Metadata Project."

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi maymay,

The fields I prefer include genus, species, common name, AND ethnic name. Here are the fields (required entries have a red asterisk) that I have set up on my database for KustomNote:

I'm also interested in feedback on these fields. For what it's worth, I think most people checking out from seed libraries are searching and exchanging by common names. I'm interested to hear what others think.

Devon Grissim said:

The fields I prefer include […] ethnic name.

Devon, what is "ethnic name"? I haven't encountered any references to such a term in my research.

It's a field that's I've come across while traveling to Arizona at Native Seeds/SEARCH, and it is a term I'm discussed with Rebecca Newburn of Richmond Grows. Sometimes the tribal names of seeds will differ from the American English names of seeds. It just allows for a more inclusive and less hierarchical system of reference.

For those following this conversation, I've recently released an update to the WP-SeedBank plugin that has support for "Scientific Names" in version 0.4 and above. Get the plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository and enjoy. Hopefully I can add support for more metadata in future releases. If you're a developer, too, patches are welcome. :)

There really needs to a digital standard for seeds both in fields and in file format. The format from kew & co don't include agronomic information with is what most folks need.

Is it using mysql or another database? There is discussion on github around making a standardized format for plant data for a couple farming planning software projects. Last i heard they were considering some json variant or yaml. 


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