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For immediate release, March 2006

What's in a Name?

WGI Program Targets Waterlily Identity-Theft

The Problem

Since the waterlily is the highlight of a water garden, Water Gardeners International deems it essential that you, the consumer, receive the waterlily you pay for. WGI members recently voted overwhelmingly that this ranks as their top concern.

WGI strongly believes that when you purchase a particular color, shape, or type waterlily and it turns out to be something else, you have every right to be disappointed. Even worse, when you buy a waterlily with a well-known name on its label and it proves not to be the one you selected, you're not just disappointed, but possibly defrauded. You have been subjected to waterlily identity-theft.

According to WGI, some gardeners are satisfied with any waterlily even though it is not labeled correctly, as long as it is pretty -- but they shouldn't be.

Executive Director Kit Knotts puts it this way, “Would you be happy if you received a garment in the wrong color or size? No! You'd take action! You would return it and, at least, you'd expect an apologetic attitude together with a prompt exchange or refund. If the seller made identity errors repeatedly, would you continue to buy there? Why should it be any different with your waterlily supplier?”

WGI asserts that a waterlily labeled "yellow" should bloom yellow. Correctly named waterlilies rate a price premium, and there are good reasons why. A named waterlily has specific, unique characteristics, special qualities that made it worthy of naming. No other waterlily matches it exactly. Each plant that carries the given name must be identical. New plants are reproduced by dividing the original or by growing them from tubers of the original, assuring exact duplicates.

Many reliable waterlily sellers provide only plants grown by these two methods. Unfortunately, too many uninformed, unscrupulous and/or downright dishonest sellers tempt water gardeners with knockoffs or incorrectly labeled waterlilies at cheap prices. They attach well-known plant names to unknown or less popular varieties, sometimes through ignorance, but too often for profit.

Beyond the fact that mislabeling is wrong, some practical aspects apply. Knowing the correct name of a waterlily allows the buyer to learn information (habits, cultivation, climatic, right size, special care, difficult, easy) about it. Correctly named waterlilies have a known history and a proven track record.

The Solution

To combat waterlily identity-theft, WGI sponsors Truly Named WGI©, a rapidly spreading global truth-in-labeling program. It enables consumers to protect themselves against waterlily identity theft by looking for the Truly Named © label on waterlilies they buy from participating retailers.

A continually updated WGI directory lists businesses that voluntarily pledge adherence to its Truly Named WGI© program. Many of them provide images and provenance linked with the WGI directory.

The encyclopedic Waterlily Image Galleries and the extensive lists of Named Waterlilies on the partnered WGI/Victoria-Adventure sites provide helpful resources to verify if a waterlily is correctly named. Recognized experts regularly update and review both sections.

WGI recognizes buyers as the force that can stop waterlily identity theft. By learning as much as possible about waterlily characteristics, by insisting on correct labeling, and complaining when they don't receive them, by reporting identity theft experiences to GWI, consumers benefit themselves and all of water gardening.

The Action

Waterlily growers, wholesalers, and retailers voluntarily join the Truly Named WGI© program. They ardently commit themselves to providing plants true to their labeled name.

The comprehensive Truly Named WGI© program offers businesses two levels of participation in combating waterlily identity theft--Participating Members and Certifying Members.

Participating Members

Participating Member Growers pledge that they grow their named waterlily hybrids only by vegetative means. For more about this see What's in a Name? - Guide for Waterlily Buyers. Unknown plants and seedlings of hybrids are offered as unnamed or in color groups such as "pink" or "yellow".

Participating Member Wholesalers and Retailers are encouraged to buy from Member Growers or be very certain of their other sources. Wholesalers and retailers not growing their own plants must provide provenance from the actual growers. They are also encouraged to return incorrectly named waterlilies to the grower. This includes instances in which varying cultivars in a shipment carry a single cultivar name. Purchasers at all levels, including the end customer, are encouraged to return incorrectly named lilies.

The Truly Named Directory lists Participating Member Growers and Wholesalers on the WGI site. They may display the Truly Named WGI © logo in their catalogs, sales lists and web sites. Most Participating Members include Truly Named WGI © educational information from the WGI web site. WGI provides Participating Member Retailers with promotional material to involve and educate their customers.

Certifying Members

Participating Members may also elect to be Certifying Members. Certifying Members pledge that specific cultivars are true to name. This can be for some or all named varieties they offer. Certifying Members submit a list of cultivars that they certify together with a picture of each. If no image is available, detailed provenance can be accepted. These lists and images/or provenance are linked from the Truly Named WGI © Directory. It is not required that all varieties offered be certified.

In order for Certifying Wholesale and Retailers who do not grow their own plants to certify specific varieties, they must provide provenance and images from the actual growers, if these are not already in the program.

To assure correctness, images are compared to print references and image galleries on the Victoria-Adventure web site, those galleries verified by numerous experts. If there is a question about any given cultivar, Certifying Members may be requested to submit additional images and/or provenance and/or review by acknowledged experts.

Cultivars meeting the requirements above are entitled to show the Truly Named WGI © tag. Catalogs and web sites may also display ‘Truly Named WGI © Certified” for these cultivars.

Occasional errors are inevitable. WGI encourages purchasers at each level to report errors to WGI, including resolution offered by the seller. Multiple complaints will result in a review by WGI followed by appropriate action. This can include removal from the program. If a non-member, multiple complaints will prevent future participation in the program unless and until the particular seller/distributor verifies that its practices comply with program guidelines.

WGI enthusiastically backs the Truly Named WGI© program. Its sponsorship includes substantiating waterlily identity data and images, energetic membership involvement, Victoria-Adventure/WGI’s significant web presence, meaningful press releases, and helpful downloadable material.

The Truly Named WGI© blend of consumer awareness, participating waterlily dealers, and useful WGI resources make a powerful combination against waterlily identity-theft.

Truly Named WGI © Main Page

Directory of Participating Members | Directory of Certifying Members

Report Receipt of Incorrectly Named Waterlilies

To become a Truly Named WGI © Participating Member CLICK HERE.
To become a Truly Named WGI © Certifying Member CLICK HERE.

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