Fun fact! The term has two applications – the botanical term variety and the legal term variety. The botanical term variety is essentially a taxonomic label – it refers to the rank in the botanical hierarchy – a variety occupies the space below sub-species but above sub-variety.
As a legal term, variety means following the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention. For plant breeders’ rights to be granted, the new variety must meet four criteria under the rules established by UPOV.
- The new plant must be novel, meaning it must not have been previously marketed in the country where rights are applied.
- The new plant must be distinct from other available varieties.
- The plants must display homogeneity (uniformity of the stand).
- The trait or traits unique to the new variety must be stable to keep the plant true to type after repeated propagation cycles.