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Encyclopedia > Variety (biology)

In botanical nomenclature, variety is a rank below that of species: As such, it gets a ternary name (a name in three parts). In botanical nomenclature, the ICBN prescribes a three part name (ternary name) for any taxon below the rank of species. ...

A variety will have an appearance distinct from other varieties, but will hybridize freely with those other varieties (if brought into contact). Usually varieties will be geographically separate from each other.

Example: The pincushion cactus, Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb., is a wide-ranging variable species occurring from Canada to Mexico, and found throughout New Mexico below about 2600 m. Nine varieties have been described. Where the varieties of the pincushion cactus meet, they intergrade. The variety Escobaria vivipara var. arizonica is from Arizona, while Escobaria vivipara var. neo-mexicana is from New Mexico.


  • To plant breeders, at least in countries that are signatory to the UPOV Convention, "variety" or "plant variety" is a legal term.
  • In zoology, the only rank below that of species is that of subspecies.
  • In bacteriological nomenclature "variety" and "subspecies" are used interchangeably.

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV; French: Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales) is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. ... A plant variety is a legal term, following the UPOV Convention. ... Zoology (Greek zoon = animal and logos = word) is the biological discipline which involves the study of animals. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Variety (biology) - definition of Variety (biology) in Encyclopedia (183 words)
A variety is a recognised division of a species in botany, next below the rank of subspecies; in zoology, species are only ever divided into subspecies and not into varieties.
A domesticated variety of a plant is called a cultivar, while a domesticated variety of an animal is called a breed.
A strain, especially in bacteriology, is a collection of descendants of a single significant ancestor, and is sometimes used interchangeably with 'variety' but this is not strictly correct.
  More results at FactBites »



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