Sarah Holme

Sarah collates and records information about new, existing and historical cultivars of Clematis and Lilium

What do you do?

I register new cultivar names for Clematis and Lilium, ensuring names conform to the rules of The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. Once checks are complete, I draft botanical descriptions for the new cultivars and enter this information into the registration database, ensuring that a photographic record of the cultivar is also stored at RHS Garden Wisley.

Un-registered cultivar introductions and historical records are added to enhance the database further. Registration of new names and their subsequent publication in The International Register and Checklist supplements ensures that they are formally established under the provisions of the Cultivated Plant Code.

“The new lily and clematis cultivars that I receive are the culmination of years of work by interested amateur breeders, university groups and national companies. I feel privileged to be part of the process of bringing them to a wider audience.”

Why is your team’s research important?

Registration of new cultivar names is important as the process gathers all the relevant information and knowledge about that plant, and prevents duplication of names within a group. This in turn avoids mis-identification and confusion and allows national and international regulations around phytosanitary issues, market protection and plant conservation to be formulated.

Projects I’m working on now

  • The International Lily Register and Checklist (8th Supplement)
  • The International Clematis Register and Checklist (7th Supplement)
  • Adapting the Clematis Register to reflect the changes in the classification of cultivated Clematis


I contributed botanical illustrations to Sell & Murrell’s Flora of Great Britain and Ireland (volumes 1 & 2) and was the sole illustrator for the BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland) Handbook 17 Violas.


  • Holme, S. (2020) Registration of Clematis: 2019 Registrations. Clematis International, pp16–29
  • Holme, S. (2019) Clematis registered from July 2018 to June 2019. The Clematis, pp146–51
  • Illustrations published in:
    • Sell P, Murrell G. (2018) Flora of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 1, Cambridge University Press
    • Porter M, Foley M. (2017) Violas of Britain and Ireland, BSBI Handbook 17
    • Sell P, Murrell G. (2014) Flora of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 2, Cambridge University Press

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