International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP)

Definition - What does International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) mean?

The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants system is used for naming plants that have specific desirable characteristics that are maintained through selective breeding or controlled through distinctive growing practices. This naming code does not use the traditional Linnaean hierarchical system and is more specific than the generic names given to plants growing in the wild.

The ICNCP has three categories they use for giving names and classifications:

  • Grex
  • Group
  • Cultivar

This code is applied to hybrid grapevines and wineries that grow customized vines in an effort to produce original, distinct or new wines.

WineFrog explains International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP)

The ICNCP codes, first published in 1953, are typically reserved for commercial horticulturists, forestry and agriculture. The plants included under this system are selected and altered so that they no longer express their regular or Latin name and require new classification. This system segregated cultivated and wild plants from each other and provided names for those plants which are primarily used/bred selectively by mankind for economical purposes.

The "grex" classification is the first using the names of hybrid species, within it is the "group name" that describes their shared characteristics and then "cultivar" (the most specific) describing the individual plant. The most recent edition (8th) was published in 2009 following the International Symposia on the Taxonomy of Plants which is responsible for the rules, registration and customization of the plant’s new names.

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