Botanical Criticism of Medium

Rhodoendron augustinii ‘Marion MacDonnell’

Rhododendron augustinii ‘Marion MacDonnell’

Anybody comparing the caption beneath my scan of a rhododendron from my garden might notice something is not quite right. In the rules of botanical nomenclature the second pert of the name in this case that of Rhododendron, augustinii, the italics denote that the plant in question is a species and can be found in the wild. This is in contrast to a cultivar or plant that has been cultivated and or propagated in a garden. Sometimes (this happens often) a species will suddenly manifest variations, all on their own. When this happens in a garden a qualified person will “select it” and give it a cultivar name. In the case of the species Rhododendron augustinii, Vancouver plantsman Alleyne Cook noticed in a park that one of the augustiniis he had planted as a member of the Vancouver Plants Board was looking a bit more blue that the usual. He selected it, propagated it and named it after a woman famous in Vancouver for introducing the Himalayan Blue Poppy, Meconopsis betonicifolia.

It would be nice if Medium, in its race to literary and botanical accuracy would enable the use of italics in captions.

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at: