The term cultivar most commonly refers to an assemblage of plants selected for desirable characteristics that are maintained during propagation. More generally, cultivar refers to the most basic classification category of cultivated plants governed by the ICNCP, most cultivars have arisen in cultivation, but a few are special selections from the wild. Popular ornamental garden plants like roses, camellias, daffodils, rhododendrons, trees used in forestry are also special selections grown for their enhanced quality and yield of timber. Cultivars form a part of Liberty Hyde Baileys broader grouping. Cultivar was coined by Bailey and it is regarded as a portmanteau of cultivated and variety. A cultivar is not the same as a variety, a taxonomic rank below subspecies. In recent times, the naming of cultivars has been complicated by the use of statutory plant patents, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants offers legal protection of plant cultivars to people or organisations who introduce new cultivars to commerce. UPOV requires that a cultivar be distinct, uniform and stable, to be distinct, it must have characteristics that easily distinguish it from any other known cultivar. To be uniform and stable, the cultivar must retain these characteristics under repeated propagation, a cultivar is given a cultivar name, which consists of the scientific Latin botanical name followed by a cultivar epithet. The cultivar epithet is usually in a vernacular language, for example, the full cultivar name of the King Edward potato is Solanum tuberosum King Edward. The King Edward part of the name is the cultivar epithet, the origin of the term cultivar arises from the need to distinguish between wild plants and those with characteristics that have arisen in cultivation. This distinction dates back to the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, the Father of Botany, botanical historian Alan Morton notes that Theophrastus in his Enquiry into Plants had an inkling of the limits of culturally induced changes and of the importance of genetic constitution. In Species Plantarum, Linnaeus listed all the known to him. Most of the listed by Linnaeus were of garden origin rather than being wild plants. Over time there was an increasing need to distinguish between plants growing in the wild, and those with variations that had produced in cultivation. In the nineteenth century many garden-derived plants were given names, sometimes in Latin. In the twentieth century an improved international terminology was proposed for the classification and it is essentially the equivalent of the botanical variety except in respect to its origin. However, Bailey was never explicit about the etymology of the word, and it has suggested that it is a contraction of the words cultigen and variety
Osteospermum 'Pink Whirls' A cultivar selected for its intriguing and colourful flowers
Bread wheat, Triticum aestivum, is considered a cultigen, and is a distinct species from other wheats according to the biological species concept. Many different cultivars have been created within this cultigen. Many other cultigens are not considered to be distinct species, and can be denominated otherwise.