What rules do I need to be aware of when helping out?

We are trying to first and foremost create a database for gardeners so we bend the scientific naming
rules here and there to make the plant list more user friendly and searchable. This is so we can match up as many people
as possible growing the same types of things.

The main questions you should ask yourself when thinking about how to classify are:

  • How do most other gardeners see this plant / variety?
  • How will other gardeners search and find this plant / variety in the site?
  • Will all levels of gardener be able to find and classify their plants?
  • Will this improve the number of people finding other gardeners growing the same thing they are?

Subspecies as plant

With this in mind, if most people see the variety as a completely separate plant, then we normally represent this subspecies at the plant level:

Kohl Rabi is “Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes” – most gardeners would not think of this plant as a variety of “Broccoli” – they
think of this variety as a completely different plant. Thus, we represent this variety as a plant in our system.

Greek Basil is “Ocimum basilicum var. minimum” – as many cultivars exist under this variety, many
gardeners treat this basil as a separate plant to Basil.

Commercial Names

Commercial names should be retained in the system as synonyms – gardeners quite often search for their plant this way.

Growth type groupings

For any plant groupings that cross multiple species or varieties, use tagging to mark each variety or plant – we don’t separate plants based on
growth type groupings. The search uses the tags assigned to a plant / variety, so tagging will help return results to gardeners searching on other classification naming systems.


Tomatoes can be classified as “determinate” or “indeterminate”. Instead of having two separate plants (Determinate Tomato & Indeterminate Tomato)
we mark each variety under Tomato as determinate or indeterminate in the tag/classification field.

Plant Mixes

Many gardeners grow mixes of different varieties that they do not want to track separately. As one of the main aims of folia is to connect
gardeners growing the same thing, we treat mixes as valid varieties in the system. They should not be merged out. If there are multiple names for the exact
same type of Mix, then we can merge them together and add all names (including commercial names) as synonyms.

We have a couple of plants in the system set up for mixes that cross multiple species – Salad Mix, Flower Mix etc. These plants can be used for these type of mix classifications.