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Copyright 1997, 2014. Laurence C. Hatch. All Rights Reserved.
Please visit www.cultivar.org for more resources
This is our most recent update of this 1997 file, with thousands of named cultivars, now more useful than ever

This page is a carefully written thesaurus to help developers of ornamental plants think up fresh and interesting cultivar names for their creations. We spent many hours with a favorite thesaurus, dictionary, word finder software, nursery catalogs, nursery websites, and cultivar checklists in the compilation of these lists. There was also about a dozen hours of fairly productive brainstorming in gardens, greenhouses, and even a zoo. Of course if you have a suggestion (or twenty) those are most welcome and will expand the page in the near future. Thanks in advance for your ideas. Kudos to thesaurs.com in 2013 for helping us augment the original file. 

Just browse the alternative adjectives and nouns and try a few in various combinations. For example you might pick a few terms from a color listing and combine them with words from another category for shape or form. The number of combinations is rather large. We hope you get an idea or two that may prove helpful.

Please consult with a cultivar registrar or taxonomist in your area before naming any plants to avoid duplication of existing names, violating nomenclature codes, trademark infringements, and other problem areas. They will not charge for their services so it only costs your time to get it right. Call your local Cooperative Extension Service if you need help in finding a local expert on plant names. Lots of great plants have gotten ignored only because they were named with a misleading or existing name out of simple ignorance. Some of the following names may be trademarked in a particular plant group or in certain combinations with other words, so please research your chosen name(s) using both legal and scientific resources. Some people have spent thousands of dollars to patent and trademark new plants and they are not going to be very happy if you unknowingly reuse their name or use something confusingly close. We live in a big, complicated world and naming plants needs to be done with respect for other people and corporate identities; particularly if you plan to actively market your new plant.


Alba = see White

Aurea = see Golden

Bark of interest Brocade, Picasso, Ribbon, Tiger, Stripe,
Alligator, Peeler, Map, Fresco, Winter, Tapestry, Picasso,
Masterpiece, Quilt, Fantasy, Marble, Mosiac, Ribbon, Snake,
Snowspot, Calico, Clouds, Corky, Shimmer, Checkerboard,
(see also Variegated, Multicolored, or
a specific color below)

Beige to white Wheat, Ivory, Gainsboro, Antique White,
Old Silk, Southern Cream, Old Lace, Sand,
Sandy, Dirty Blonde, Seashell,

Best or superior Paramount, Eminent, Ultra, Apex, Summit
Pinnacle, Choice, Delight, Pick, Refined,
Pride, Zenith, Advancement, Breakthrough,
Master, Pleasure, Prize, Splendor, Ideal,
Supersonic, Secret, Marvelous, Elite, Ace,
Prestige, Charmer, Charming, Prominent,
Superb, Caprice, Triumph, Aristocrat,
Rapture, Dandy, Heavenly, Nifty, Winner,
Magnificent, Extraordinaire, Dream, Finesse,
Ecstacy, Rapture, Jubilation, Paradise,
Noble, Grand, Majestic, Renown, Sublime,

Bigger flowers = see Large

Black = see Dark

Blue Aqua, Azure, Cobalt, Indigo, Teal, Topaz,
Sapphire, Turquoise, Navy, Ocean, Navy,
Cool, Ice Blue, Denim, Blue Jean, Aquamarine,
Indiglo, Slate, Bluejay, Bay, Wave, Steel,
Clear Day, Wedgewood, Blue Suade Shoes,
Morning Glory, Skies, Cornflower, Cadet blue,
Seagreen, Cyan, Powder Blue,

Breakthrough plant Pioneer, Nova, First, Prize, Wonder, Find,
Miracle, Leader, Discovery, Strike, Luck,
Fortune, Blessing, Surprise, Break,
Advance, Frontier, New World, Forerunner,

Brown Chocolate, Coffee, Toffee, Mahogany,
Cinnamon, Ale, Brown Sugar, Whiskey,
Desert Sands, Sweet Tea, Fig, Mink, Tea,
Double Fudge, Brownie, Tan, Acorn, Mocha,
Dirt, Earthen, Devil's Food, Cocoa,
Earthtone, Warm, Chestnut, Auburn, Java,
Espresso, Cafe au Lait, Capuccino, Latte,
Molasses, Bear, Beige, Brunette, Cordovan,
Khaki, Fulvous, Lion's Mane, Grand Canyon,
Desert, Dark eyes, Gingerbread, Caramel,
Terra, Burlywood,

Cold Hardy Arctic, Winter, Snow, Ice, Cold, Durable,
Hardy, Frost, [northern state or province],
Freeze, [northernmost city hardy in], Dura,
Northern, Sub-zero, Polar, Durable, Adapter,
Endure, Frigid, Frosty, North Pole, Polestar,
Boreal, Surmount, Perpetual, Persist, Prevail,
Conquer, Primal, Prairie, Dura- (prefix),

Columnar Spire, Needle, Pencil, Column, Tower,
Pole, Post, Skyscraper, Skyrocket, Skinny,
Erect, Narrow, Fastigiate, Upright, Thin, Spear
Tall, Ascending, Ascendent, Upward, Candle,
Vertical, Straight, Pillar, Antenna, Spike,
Pagoda, Belltower, Beanpole, Sentinel,
Guard, Obelisk, Monument, Missle, Needle

Compact = see Dwarf

Cream colored Ivory, Bone, Off White, Putty, Khaki, Foam, Eggshell
Ecru, Southern Cream, Almond, Beige, Antique, Cornsilk, Ghost
Seashell, Vanilla, Smoke, Smokey,

Curled, Twisted, or Wavy Twister, Curly Locks, Wavy, Convoluted,
Spiral, Helix, Sine Wave, Convex, Concave,
Zigzag, Lightning Bolt, Frilly, Petticoats,
Hem, Lacy, Rollercoaster, Crest, Crested,
Curvaceous, Flex, Flexuous, Undulant,
Billow, Breaker, Surge, Ripples, Bunch,
Parsley, Swirl, Hurricane, Ruffles, Knot,
Wound Up, Twirl, Meandering, Serpentine,
Tortile, Contorted, Rise and Fall, Loops, Screwed Up
Corkscrew, Wanderer, Confused, Flip, Perm,
Shockwave, Medusa, Ringlets, Random,
Winding, Askew, Circuitous, Tangent, Wild
Complexity, Intertwine, Hooks, Rampant

Cut or lacy foliage Fern, Lace, Lacy, Mist, Incised, Fine,
Embroidery, Spray, Points, Needle, Airy,
Finepoint, Spearpoint, Shredded, Filigree,
Light, Feather, Ribbons, Tails, Parsley,
Ethereal, Fringed, Fluffy, Airy, Light, Needlepoint

Dark Midnight, Night, Ebony, Murky, Onyx, Dank
Coal, Navy, Opaque, Darkstar, Stealth, Dusky,
Velvet, Witch, Ink, Raven, Sable, Ninja, Dark
Panther, Crow, Stain, Antique, Cinders, Black Hole,
Charcoal, Scorch, Obscure, Shadowy

Dwarf or compact Petite, Mini, Midget, Pygmy, Minor, Tiny,
Teeny, Eeny, Weeny, Micro, Compact, Dense,
Tuft, Baby, Micron, Short, Miniature, Mound,
Liliput, Subatomic, Minimal, Minute, Wee,
Little, Modicum, Pipsqueak, Small, Sweety,
Munchkin, Iota, Puff, Marble, Gem, Jewel,
Button, Tiny Tim, Tom Thumb, Thumbelina,
Hedgehog, Runt, Cherub, Elf, Elfen, Bun,
Ity Bity, Itsy Bitsy, Pixie, Trinket, Mite, PeeWee
Tidbit, Bambino, Dainty, Liliput, Rosette.
Tightwad, Nest, Rock Garden, Rockery,
Tabletop, Pincushion, Tight, Dainty,
Curio, Speck, Rumpelstiltskin, Nano-,
Tidy, Neat, Knickknack

Eyespot or eyezone Dot, Halo, Ring, Ocular, Core, Zone,
Spot, Pupil, Throat, Center, Centre, Stamp,
Bicolor, Twotone, Pinwheel, Heart of [color],
Target, Bullseye, Aim, [animal] Eye,

Fall (color) Autumn, Final, Late, [see Multicolor]

Female Lady, Princess, Empress, Belle, Dutchess,
Girl, Gal, Ballerina, Heiress, Sorcerass,
Maid, Maiden, Vixen, Enchantress, Debutante,
Temptress, Actress, Damsel, Grand Dame,
Queen, Ingenue, Bella Donna, Mademoiselle,
Miss, Missy, Mistress, Jeune Fille, Goddess,
Her, My [name],

Fern-like foliage = see Cut

Fragrant Perfume, Scent, Cologne, Ambrosia, Aroma, Perfume
Savory, Fresh, Spice, Citrus, Mint, Anise, Aromatic, Perfume
Potpourri, Pungent, Cachet, Sachet, Musk, Delectible
Vanilla, Cheery, Ambrosia, Fresh, Bouquet, Odorifica
Heavenly, Clove, Nose, Wafting, Air, Subtle, Balmy,
(no Spice World please).
Glauca = see Blue

Globose or Rounded mound Mountain, Globe, Marble, Ball, Thunderhead,
Snowball, Sphere, Globe, Dome, Top, Table-
top, Mound, Peak, Nest, Rotund, Hills, Dome
Gumball, Bowler, Bowling Ball, Arena, Orb,
Sierra, Crown, Roundball, Meatball,

Glossy Shine, Lacquer, Crystal, Sheen, Shimmer,
Mirror, Diamond, Luminous, Luster, Radiance,
Patina, Glint, Glimmer, Lucent, Lustrous,
Wax, Veneer, Polish, Glaze, Coat, Syrup,
Sparkle, Finish, Reflections, Silk, Satin,
Laser, Necktie, Lustre, Solar Panel, Green
Chrome, Acrylic, High Gloss, Semi-gloss,
Nitid, Burnished

Golden Sun, Sunny, Solar, Treasure, Midas,
Chartreuse, Honey, Cheddar, Cream Sherry,
Lion, School Bus, Caution, Canary, Inca,
Treasure, Blondie, Citrus, Aztec, Ray,
Radiance, Jackpot, Luminous, Luminosity,
Lamplight, Lemonade, Amberglow, Sunfull,
Au Gratin, Postit, Yeller, Butterscotch,
Butter, Dandelion, Banana, Champagne,
49ers, Nugget, Caret, Crown, Highlight,
Mellow, Moonlight, Fortune, Rainbow's End
Citron, Citronella, Fort Knox, King Tut,
Sandy, Motherlode, Mine, Black Hills,

Green Jade, Emerald, Olive, Lime, Chartreuse,
Limelight, Lemon Lime, Limeglow, Envy,
Forest, Verdant, Virid, Hunter, Army,
Go (light), Mint, Cool, Irish, Celtic,
Avocado, Kiwi, Lima Bean, Pickle, Fresh,
Grass, Astroturf, Hazel, Spring, Peasoup,
Fernglade, Winterglade, Shamrock, Piney,
Slime, Seagreen, Sublime, Phosphorescence,
Mint Cream, St. Patrick, Limerick

Grey Smoky, Dusty, Dusky, Fog, Gunmetal, Cloud,
Stormy Skies, Lunar, Slate, Flint, Steel,

Hardy = see Cold Hardy

Large parts or plant Mammoth, Jumbo, Wide, Long, Tall, Giant,
Ultra, Hyper, Huge, Ample, Grand, Dinner-
plate, Monster, Immense, Gigantic, Max, Mega,
Colossal, Titanic, Mega, Godzilla, Plus,
Elephant, Maximum, Terrific, Godzilla,
Empress, Emperor, Supreme, Massive, T.Rex,
Gargantuan, Vast, Monumental, Extravagance,
Lush, Luxuriant, Big Gun, Godzilla, Major,

Late in season Finale, September, Fall, October, Winter,
Last, Belated, Tardy, Eleventh Hour, Tarry,
Delay, Overdue, Procrastination, November,
Late Great, Autumn, Finale,

Lavender/Lilac Lavenderblush, Lilac Festival, Lilac Sunday, Violaceous,
Mauve, Mauvine, Orchid,

Male Boy, Lad, Gentleman, Lord, Duke, Viscount,
Warrior, King, Prince, Emperor, Fellow, Monseniur
Sir, Nobleman, Earl, Admiral, Captain, His,
Guy, Manly, Macho, Dad, His Royal [name]

Multicolored (not variegated) Tapestry, Color, Rainbow, Palette, Kaleido-
scope, Galaxy, Joseph's Dream, Hallucination,
Splash, Art, Gaiety, Butterfly, Parrot,
[colored fish species], Technicolor, flying
saucer, Parade, Masterpiece, Monet, Picasso,
Porcelain, Festival, Peacock, Tattoo, Quilt,
Hawaii, [butterfly species], Candy Corn,
War Paint, War Dance, Stainedglass, Mosaic,
Collage, Potpourri, Punk, Mood, Hippie,
Psychodelic, Tie Dye, Painter, Wild, Dawn,
Flags, Celebration, Fruitful, Harvest,
Tiffany, Circus, Lively, Sunrise, Sunset,
New Day, Variable, Flamboyant, Flowershow,
Mad Cap, Berzerk, Wild, Sun Up, Jelly Beans,
Calico, Daybreak, Drama, Woven, Dancing Girl,
Rising Sun, Setting Sun, Western Skies,
Crazy Monkey, Prism, Prismatic, Spectrum,
Iridescent, Iridian, Fall Scene, Lamp,
Changling, Color Garden, Fresco, Stylish,
Paisley, Clown, Schizophrenia, Victorian,
Mural, Couture, Regalia, Riot, Riotous,
Lavish, Ornate, Zany, Whimsical, Unpre-
dictable, Pageantry, Spark, Vegas, Modern
Art, Tahiti, Fruit Cup. [modern artist],
Striped Sail,

Narrow or Thin shape Spider, Lance, Sword, Spear, Needle,
(see Columnar for habit) Needlepoint, Daggar, Filament, Thread,
Harp String, Willowy, Ferny, Filigree
(see also Cut or Lacy Foliage above)

Orange Tangerine, Tangelo, Vermilion, Ginger,
Sunset, Tiger, Peachy, Inferno, Blaze,
Lava, Tawny, Citrus, Mandarin, Torch,
Hearth, Paprika, Apricot, Punkin', Copper,
Creamsicle, Orangeade, Clay, Terracota,
Amber, Amberglow, Afterglow, Monarch,
Bonfire, Inferno, Brickdust, Marmelade,
Garfield, Penny, Zesty, Zestful, Chili, Melon
Nutmeg, Pyromaniac, Ignite, Peach Puff,
Jet Blast, Firestreak,

Pendula = see Weeper

Pink Rosy, Blush, Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, Gleamning,
Glow, Salmon, Coral, Hot, Aglo, Fuchsia, Luminous,
Magenta, Shrimp, Cheek, Cerise, Neon, Aglow, Flashing
Rosella, Ballerina, Cherry Ice Cream, Glowing, Vivid, Carmine,
Cameo, Sherbet, Radiant, Orchid, Piglet, Beamikng, Shocking
Strawberry Sorbet, Misty Rose, Flush, Roseate, Carnation

Purple Violet, Grape, Napa Valley, Ultraviolet,
Amethyst, [red wine varietal name], Royal, Aubergine,
Regal, Plum, Berry, Arabian Nights, Hendrix,
Concord, Raisin, Passion, Grape Knee-High

Red Ruby, Fire, Lipstick, Red Lips, Mars,
Rubicund, Ruddy, Warning, Stoplight,
Cardinal, Sanguine, Wine, Burgundy, Port,
Berry, Marishino, Satan, Lucifer, Crimson,
Firecracker, Aglo, Scarlet, Scarletta,
Velvet, Cranberry, Valentine, Heart, Ruddy,
Oxblood, Maroon, Lobster, Jam, Jelly,
Padparadscha (red sapphire), Garnet,
Tanager, Toreador, Rubaiyat, Neon, Salsa,
Carmine, Bonfire, Winesap, Vampire,
Saint Nick, Matador, Ferrari,
Scarlet O'hara, Kingsblood,

Round plant = see Globose

Round leaf shape Rotund, Coins, Hearts, Chips, Oval,
Lilypads, Nickels, Buttons, Token,
Spoon, Cup, Frisbee, Flying Saucers

[name's] Selection [name's] + Favorite, Choice, Pride, Joy, Delight, Jewel, Prize,

Shiny = see Glossy

Silver Sterling, Chrome, Coin, Argentine, Tinsel, Argentate,
Frost, Quartz, Metallic, Moonshine, Glaze, Pearly
Zirconia, Foil, Shining, Aluminum, Silverback, Plated

Spreader Carpet, Cushion, Bedder, Trailer, Cascade,
Mat, Cover, Low, Lo, Prostrate, Procumbent,
Fast Spread, Blanket, Quilt, Sea, Ocean, Mounder,
Pancake, Wings, Wave, Archer, Radiate, Low Glow
Tide, Explosion, Ground, Dense, Bank, Mesa,
Plateau, Prone, Wanderer, Cling, Groundhugger,

Star-like or stellate Galaxy, Pinwheel, Stellar, Supernova,
Festival of Stars, Starstruck, New Planet, Starfish

Sunset/Sunrise colors End of Day, Dawn, Dusk, Dusky, Rising Sun, Nightfall, Twillight
New Day, Break of Day, Sunup, Sundown, Sundowner
Fruit Punch, Daybreak, ornling Glow, Late Glow, Eve
Daylight, Dawning, New Morn, Morning, Cockcrow, Aurora, Early Bright
First Light, Last Light, Late Glimmer, Late Shine, Evening Glow
Gloaming, Close of Day, Twilight Glimmer, Prismatic,

Twisted = see Curled

Undulate = see Curled above

Upright = see Columnar

Variegated [color] + Splash, Dust, Flecks, Aura,
Blizzard, Ring, Art, Frame, Moon, Sun,
Parade, Fantasy, Swirl, Marble, Flare,
Pinstripe, Cheer, Picture, Tiger, Zebra,
Leopard, Cheetah, Tabby, Streak, Streaky,
Galaxy, Halo, Flash, Sprinkles, Meteor,
Speckled, Shooting Star, Striate, Lava,
Dapplied, Frost, Wedding Band, Spark,
Cameo, Mosaic, Banner, Zig-zag, Snakeskin,
Alligator, Gator, Blast, Tricolor, Accent,
Streamers, Skywriting, Lance, Mt. Fuji,
Skeleton, Hoarfrost, Rim, Stiching, Bengal,
Shield, Vein, Spear, Heart, Core, Collar,
Icing, a la mode, Spiral, Starfire, Frame,
Bicolor, Filigree, Lining, Trim, Border,
Snowline, Calico, Burst, Etching, Checkered,
Rembrant, Dust, Woven, Weaver, Rainfall,
Gossamer, Floating Clouds, Hornet, [butterly
species], Whitewalls, Polka Dot, Spatter
Paint, Spilt Milk, Heiroglyph, Watermark,
Blot, Splat, Wide Band, Pepper, Perimeter,
Adornment, Array, Emblazoned, Festoon,
Cuneiform, Underscore, Ornate, Meticulous,
(see also White, Golden, Multicolored)

Wavy = see Curled above

Weeper/Weeping Cascade, Fountain, Waterfall, Spray, Pendant,
Pendulous, Drooper, Drooping, Tumbling,
Casual, Rambler

White Pristine, Snow, Purity, Cliffs of Dover,
Wedding, Crystal, Vanilla, Cream, Ivory,
Pure, Freeze, Blizzard, Frost, Comet,
Icicle, Icecube, Swan, Snow Goose, Opal,
Snow Fox, Polar, Ghost, Everest, Innocence,
Oxydol, Spotless, Pale, Pearl, Avalanche,
Powder, Sugar, Eggshell, Buttermilk, Foam,
Ricotta, Whitehouse, Clean, Coconut, Fleece,
Whitesands, Dove, Angel, Angelic, Cloud,
Swan Lake, Albatross, Cottonball, Puritan,
Prudence, Seraphim, Glacier, Glacial, Virginal
Flawless, Perfect, Candide, Alaska, Sails,
Summer Ice, Snow Wolf, Moon Eyes, Alibaster.
Antique, Bleached, Whitesmoke, Stainless,

Yellow = see Golden