Difference between a strain, a variety, & a cultivar?

kris(8b)August 24, 2005

Sorry for my ignorance, but what is the difference between these three? I assume a cultivar is just somehting that is growing, that you are 'cultivating'. But I thought strain and variety ment the same thing but on the tomato forum today there was a post that said

"refer to it as OTV Brandywine, not Brandywine (OTV) which indicates a strain, not a variety"

So obviously there is a difference, could someone explain this.

thank you very much


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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Try these links for a sensible explanation. They say the same thing but in different ways; you might prefer the Houston link because it has more info.



or to be really, really specific in definition (and I suspect the tomato poster was using parens to indicate nom. illeg.):


BTW, although considered an 'heirloom' tomato (I think the seed was originally available in the late 1800's), Brandywine has several distinctly different forms, depending on who is describing it and which seed produced the tomato. You will find it described as yellow or pink or reddish or deep red, and in sizes all the way from 'plum' to 4 or 5 oz.

Here is a link that might be useful: horticultural terminology

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 9:00AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Often, you'll see the words "cultivar" and "variety" used interchangeably, but technically, there is a difference. A variety can be grown from seed, but a cultivar is propagated vegetatively, usually by rooting stem cuttings or dividing and replanting pieces of root taken from the parent plant. Strains are varietal mutations that has been chosen and propagated for an improved or unusual characteristic.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 9:08AM
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Thank you both, I think its clear in my head now :). It really is quite technical, it took me reading all 3 explanations to finally get it straight. Now I'll even understand the plant labels better.

Thanks so much

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 1:13AM
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