For immediate release, March 2006
What's in a Name?
WGI Program Targets Waterlily Identity-Theft
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
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.
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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
WGI enthusiastically backs the Truly Named WGI© program.
Its sponsorship includes substantiating waterlily identity data
and images, energetic membership involvement, Victoria-Adventure/WGIs
significant web presence, meaningful press releases, and helpful
The Truly Named WGI© blend of consumer awareness, participating
waterlily dealers, and useful WGI resources make a powerful combination
against waterlily identity-theft.