What's the difference between variety and subspecies?

MartialNovember 7, 2013

Hello guys,
I've searched it on net, but I still can't say the exact difference between variety and subspecies. As long as I know, a variety can occur naturally or by human selection - in this case it's called a cultivated variety, or cultivar.

But what is exactly the difference between a subspecies and a variety?

Can you give me examples?

Thanks in advcance.

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ronalawn82(z9FL)

Martial, a practical definition is given Here.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 5:59AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I don't see a definition of subspecies or a definition of variety that would separate it from subspecies in Ronalawn's link.

A simple answer is that subspecies is a broader division than variety. In other words, there could be multiple varieties of one subspecies. In actuality, there is considerable disagreement about which should be used when, and it's quite common to find a name referred to as both a subspecies name and a varietal name.

I'm not aware of any formal rule for this, but from my experience, subspecies classification is often given to a group of plants that are geographically separated from a similar but slightly genetically different group of plants of the same species. Quercus ilex subsp. ilex and Quercus ilex subsp. rotundifolia are examples of this. Varietal classification is often given to a group of plants living among (there's a word for that, that I can't remember right now) a similar but slightly genetically different group of plants of the same species. Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis is a good example of this. Variety differs from form/forma in that a variety implies predictable inheritable traits where form/forma traits occur sporadically within a population.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:02AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

P.S.

Don't confuse cultivar with variety (or "cultivated variety"). The origin of cultivar may be based on the word variety, but, botanically speaking, the word cultivar is NOT synonymous with the word variety. This gets a little more complicated, but some types of cultivars (yes, there are multiple types) are more similar to botanical varieties than others. Many types of cultivars have absolutely nothing in common with varieties or, if such existed, man-made varieties.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:10AM
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