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Thomas G. Ranney, Nathan P. Lynch, Paul R. Fantz and Paul Cappiello

Fothergilla L. spp. are valuable nursery and garden plants. However, clear differentiation among F. gardenii Murray, F. major Lodd., and potential hybrids can be difficult based solely on morphological characteristics. The objectives of this work were to verify and describe the existence of interspecific hybrids and to clarify the proper nomenclature for cultivars of Fothergilla that are commonly grown in the nursery industry. A comparison of morphological characteristics was made among diverse clones representing both species and potential hybrids. A combination of chromosome counts and DNA contents was used to clearly differentiate among F. gardenii (2n = 4x = 48), F. major (2n = 6x = 72), and hybrids (2n = 5x = 60). It was determined that the majority of cultivars represented in commerce were hybrids. Fothergilla ×intermedia Ranney and Fantz (hybrid fothergilla) is proposed as the name for these hybrids and is validated with a Latin diagnosis. Although certain morphological characteristics can be used to differentiate between F. gardenii and F. major, the hybrids tend to be intermediate and are particularly difficult to separate from F. major on the basis of appearance. The correct classification and nomenclature for 17 different taxa are presented.