Guidance

Add a new plant variety to the national list

How to apply for national listing of agricultural and vegetable plant varieties in GB and NI.

You must add your new plant varieties to the UK’s national lists if you want to market them. You could be prosecuted if you do not.

The national lists are maintained by the Plant Variety Rights and Seeds Office (PVS), which is part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Details are published every month in the Plant Varieties and Seeds Gazette.

You’ll be asked if you want to continue marketing the variety every 10 years or your variety will be removed from the list.

Monthly Gazette

The Plant Variety and Seeds Office publishes a gazette giving notice about any of the following UK National List applications:

  • application made
  • application which is withdrawn
  • proposed decision to accept or refuse a plant variety on to the National List
  • decision of the tribunal made on an appeal
  • changes to a National List award or application

You can use the gazette to follow the progress of an application through the National Lists process.

Special edition

The UK National Lists of varieties of Agricultural Plant Species and Vegetable Plant Species are published monthly in the Special Edition of the Plant Varieties and Seeds Gazette.

These lists are valid as of the last day of the month of the edition as published. Amendments to these lists are published in the monthly Plant Varieties and Seeds Gazette.

The gazette includes the contacts for the address codes for the National Lists awards.

Previous Issues of the Plant Varieties and Seeds Gazette or Special Edition.

If you need an earlier edition, email pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk.

Varieties of species that require listing in GB and NI

Check if your plant variety needs to be registered on GB and NI variety lists.

Check it’s a new variety

To get on the list, your variety must be:

  • distinct – it has different characteristics to other varieties
  • uniform – all plants in the variety must share the same characteristics
  • stable – it remains unchanged after ‘repeated propagation’, for example reproduction from seeds, cuttings, bulbs or other plant parts

Before your variety is listed

You must name your variety and choose someone who’ll maintain your variety.

Name your variety

You must think of a name for your variety. The same name will usually be used in all member states of the EU if the variety is accepted for listing.

Choose a name that:

  • is not already used by a variety of the same species
  • cannot be confused with the name of another variety or other goods
  • does not cause problems with recognition or production
  • accurately represents the variety or its characteristics, for example the name must not suggest that a variety has particular attributes

You can use a trade mark or trade name when you sell seeds of the plant, but the name registered on the national lists must be clearly shown on the packaging.

Objections to a proposed name or proposed change of name

Any person can object to a naming of a variety. This is known as ‘making a representation’.

Contact APHA to make an objection within 3 months of the decision being published in the gazette. APHA will respond explaining the objections process and how you can pay the £30 fee to make an objection.

PVS will write to you and tell you if your objection is successful or not.

Choose a ‘maintainer’

You must arrange for someone to maintain your variety before it’s added to the national lists.

For National Listing, the maintainer can be in a country granted equivalence. You can find a list of countries with species the UK will accept as meeting equivalence for variety maintenance.

If a country has not been granted equivalence for maintenance of varieties, a UK maintainer will be required.

Your maintainer must:

  • keep records of all the generations of the varieties
  • produce these if requested
  • allow authorised officers to inspect or examine any plants or plant material
  • provide samples if required

Anyone can apply to maintain a plant variety, or you can find someone to be your maintainer by contacting the PVS.

Further applications can be made if you want to propose additional maintainers or need to change a maintainer.

Complete a maintainer form to do this.

PVS will delete your variety from the list if nobody can maintain it. They will write to you 2 years before your listing expires to ask if you want to keep the listing.

Special cases

There are additional rules for genetically modified plants, food and agricultural crops.

Genetically modified plants

You must get at least one of the following consents:

  • marketing consent for food and animal feed - contact the Food Standards Agency on 020 7276 8829 or helpline@food.gov.uk

  • marketing consent for things that are not food or animal feed - contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on 020 7238 2051 or gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk

  • consent to do research trials, contact Defra on 020 7238 2051 or gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk

Include a copy of your consent with your application.

You must also tell the Plant Variety Rights Office if you’re applying for national listing for a genetically modified plant variety. Call 020 8026 5993 or email pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk.

Food

You must get all the necessary food and feedstuffs authorisations. Contact the GM Policy and Regulation team at gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk to find out which authorisations you need.

You must also tell Defra about any authorisations you have.

Agricultural crops

You can only add agricultural varieties to the national lists if they improve the cultivation or quality of its crops or products.

PVS will tell you if you need to pay for a test to prove this.

Conservation varieties

You can choose to register plants for:

  • agricultural conservation, for example a variety that is naturally found locally and is threatened by genetic erosion
  • vegetable conservation, for example a variety that has been traditionally grown locally and is threatened by genetic erosion

National list conservation varieties: make an application

Write to APHA with:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • the species and proposed variety name - the variety name will normally be that under which the variety is historically known
  • a description of the variety using the DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) criteria - if you cannot describe your variety, contact APHA for advice
  • a brief history of the variety including information from your experience during its cultivation, reproduction and use
  • evidence of the variety’s conservation status and regional adaptation as well as its region of origin, ie where it has historically been grown and is naturally adapted
  • include information on when the variety was removed from the national list if it was previously listed - if you’re unsure, please ask APHA, who’ll check as part of the application process

If your application is successful you must send a representative sample of the seed to:

Plant Varieties and Seeds
Animal and Plant Health Agency
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge
CB2 8DR

Amateur varieties

You can register amateur vegetables, for example a variety developed with no commercial value, for sale in small packets.

Apply to add an amateur vegetable to the national list.

Fees

Invoices will be issued for applications for conservation varieties. The invoice will be issued following publication of the application in the Seeds Gazette.

In the majority of cases this will be in the month following the application being received by APHA. For example, an application received by APHA during January will be invoiced in late February.

Apply to be on the national list

You can apply yourself or you can get an agent to apply for you.

When applying, upload this form using the attachment section in UPOV PRISMA.

To use an agent, complete the ‘authorisation of agent’ form and send it to PVS with the application.

If an applicant or agent applying isn’t based in the UK, you will need to appoint an authorised UK agent.

All applications and documents must be in English or include an English translation.

National Listing: application closing date

Send your application and plant material submission by the dates set out in the tables. If the closing date falls at a weekend or on a bank holiday, the application or seed can be received the next working day. Anything received later will not be tested or trialled in that year.

Spring sown agricultural crops

Species Closing date for receipt of applications Closing date for receipt of plant material
Spring Wheat 22 September 23 October for DUS and VCU
Annual Meadowgrass, Wood Meadowgrass, Smooth-Stalked Meadowgrass and Rough Stalked Meadowgrass 3 October 15 December
Brown Top, Red Top, Creeping Bent and Velvet Bent 3 October 15 January the following year after application
Common Vetch 1 November 29 November
Spring Lupin, Spring Rye, Spring Spelt Wheat and Spring Triticale 30 November 10 January the following year after application
Spring Barley and Spring Oats 30 November 15 January the following year after application
Spring Field Pea and Spring Field Bean 30 November 31 January the following year after application
Red Clover, Alsike Clover, Meadow Fescue, Tall Oatgrass, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Cocksfoot, Lucerne, Sainfoin, Tall Fescue, Red Fescue (Chewings Fescue), Alaska Brome Grass, Rescue Grass, Black Medick, Hungarian Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Timothy and Small Timothy 30 November When requested
Spring Linseed, Spring Flax 15 December 7 January the following year after application
Ryegrass, White Clover, Festulolium 5 January 5 February
Sunflower 7 January 1 February
Sugar Beet 15 January 1 February
Spring Forage Rape, Spring Turnip Rape, Fodder Beet (Mangels), Fodder Kale, Swede, Fodder Radish 15 January 15 February
Spring Oilseed Rape, Mustard, Potatoes, Hemp 15 December 15 January the following year after application
Maize 1 February 15 February
Soya Beans 15 January 15 January

Autumn sown agricultural crops

Species Closing date for receipt of applications Closing date for receipt of plant material
Winter wheat, winter oats and winter lupin 31 August 15 September
Winter field beans 12 September 1 October
Winter oilseed rape (GM only) 30 June 10 August
Winter turnip rape 1 July 31 July
Winter field peas 11 July 1 October
Winter forage rape and winter oilseed rape (non GM) 10 August 10 August
Winter linseed 15 August 1 September
Winter rye, winter spelt wheat and winter triticale 17 August 1 September
Winter barley 24 August 8 September

The UK does not have DUS testing capability for all the vegetable varieties listed. For the varieties that the UK does not have DUS testing capability for the UK will either purchase the DUS report or will entrust another examination office to carry out the DUS testing on behalf of the UK.

Applications for vegetable varieties that the UK does not have DUS testing capability for can be received all year round. However the closing date for receipt of plant material is at the discretion of the entrusted examination office.

Vegetable varieties

Species Closing date for receipt of applications Closing date for receipt of plant material
Beetroot 31 January 28 February
Broad bean 15 January 15 February
Broccoli 15 February 15 March
Calabrese 15 February 15 March
Brussels sprout 31 January 28 February
Cabbage All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Carrot 28 February 31 March
Cauliflower All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Celeriac 28 February 15 March
Celery 28 February 31 March
Chinese cabbage All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Cucumber All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Endive All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
French bean All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Gourds All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Kohlrabi All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Leaf Beet 31 January 28 February
Leek (vegetatively propagated) 31 December 15 April the following year after application
Leek (seed propagated) 31 December 31 January the following year after application
Lettuce All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Marrow All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Melons All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Onions (over wintered) 15 June 15 July
Onions (spring sown) 31 December 31 January the following year after application
Parsley All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Pea 15 January 15 February
Radish 28 February 31 March
Runner bean 30 November 31 January the following year after application
Shallot (seed propagated) 31 January 28 February
Shallot (vegetatively propagated) 1 March 31 March
Spinach All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Sweet corn All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Tomatoes All year round Purchase of report or date of plant material at the discretion of the entrusted office
Turnip 31 December 31 January the following year after application

Contacts

This table shows who you should contact for different varieties.

Varieties Contact name Telephone Email
Wheat, oats, barley, triticale, rye, spelt wheat and sugar beet Michael Tyndall 020 7714 1321 michael.tyndall@apha.gov.uk
Herbage, oilseed rape, forage rape, forage kale, turnip rape, swede, agricultural and vegetable conservation varieties, amateur vegetables, vegetables, fodder beet and fodder radish Rebecca Harding 077 6568 6620 rebecca.harding@apha.gov.uk
Potatoes, ornamentals, fruit, maize, field pea, field bean, soya bean, sunflower, linseed and flax Anneleen Van-Malderen 020 8720 4171 anneleen.van.malderen@apha.gov.uk
Integrated VCU trials Jeremy Widdowson
BSPB House
114 Lancaster Way
Business Park, Ely
CB6 3NX
013 5365 3846 jeremy.widdowson@bspb.co.uk

All applications for GB and NI Variety listing must use the UPOV PRISMA online application process. The exception being applications for Amateur Vegetables and Conservation Varieties.

Apply online

Apply using UPOV PRISMA.

Do this by:

PVS will send you an email within 5 working days telling you if your application has been accepted.

Fees

Invoices will be issued for the following applications:

  • UK National listing
  • UK Plant Breeders’ Rights
  • Combined UK National listing and Plant Breeders’ Rights
  • Conservation Varieties
  • Amateur Vegetables

The UPOV PRISMA service fee is 90 Swiss francs (CHF), which must be paid directly to UPOV PRISMA at the time of application.

Invoices for the administration fee will be issued for UK National List applications by APHA. The invoice will be issued following publication of the application in the Seeds Gazette. In the majority of cases this will be in the month following the application being received by APHA. For example, an application received by APHA during January will be invoiced in late February

Applicants will be invoiced for the following at a later date:

  • testing costs
  • an annual charge, for herbage, potatoes and swede
  • a technical management fee for agricultural crops

Read the costs for different varieties (PDF, 124KB, 6 pages) to calculate the total amount.

After you’ve applied

The organiser of the value for cultivation and use (VCU) trials will usually ask you to send them seed or plant material for testing. They’ll tell you how much material to send and when.

Get your seed and plant materials tested

Testing takes:

  • 4 years for herbage varieties
  • 2 years for other species

Extra tests of parental species might be needed if you’re registering hybrid varieties.

The methods of testing are approved by PVS, and the testing is done by:

PVS will send you copies of the results of your tests when a decision on listing has been made.

Get a published decision

The PVS will then publish the proposed decision on whether to accept or refuse the variety in its monthly gazette.

Varieties will be added to the national list if:

  • you’ve passed the tests
  • nobody has objected
  • no new evidence shows that the proposed decision is wrong

New listed varieties are published in the gazette, together with their maintainer and any agents.

Change the name

You need to pay if you want to change the name after it has been approved.

If your national list application is refused

You can object to a decision if you’ve been refused addition to the national lists. This is known as ‘making a representation’.

You must do this by email or by post within 14 days of the decision being published in the gazette, you should include extra information in your representation.

You’ll receive a letter from PVS if the original decision is not overturned.

You can then make an appeal to the Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal. Write to the address given in the letter.

Application records

The PVS keeps records of all applications for the national list. Anyone can access these records on request.

PVS will record information on you, your plant variety and your application following whether application is under consideration or has been added to the national list. This information includes:

  • when the application was received and its reference number
  • when the application was published in the gazette
  • the name and address of the applicant
  • a description of the characteristics of the plant variety provided by the applicant
  • the proposed name of the variety, as published in the gazette
  • any other information that the Secretary of State may ask you to provide

For varieties that have been added to a national list, the PVS will record:

  • the species, name and a description of the variety
  • when the variety was accepted onto the list
  • a summary of all the facts on which the acceptance was based
  • the reference number under which the variety was accepted for marketing (for genetically modified varieties and foods)
  • when the listing will expire
  • the name and address of the maintainer
  • details of 10-year renewals
Published 7 September 2012
Last updated 10 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Contact details updated

  2. Spring wheat value for cultivation and use (VCU) date changed from 15 January to 23 October

  3. Added link to list of countries with species the UK will accept as meeting equivalence for variety maintenance.

  4. Updated with guidance on how to comply with rules from 1 January

  5. New information about the monthly gazette and seeds edition, tables of different plant varieties and closing dates for applications.

  6. August 20-19 gazette now available.

  7. mention of latest special edition 2019/2

  8. July 2019 gazette now available

  9. June gazette now available

  10. Announcement of the May 2019 gazette

  11. Announcement of April 2019 gazette

  12. March gazette now available.

  13. February 2019 gazette now available

  14. Announcement of the 2019/01 special edition gazette

  15. January gazette 2019 now available.

  16. December gazette now available

  17. November gazette now available

  18. October Gazette now available.

  19. Content updated - September 2018 gazette now available.

  20. Updated address for paying by cheque

  21. Pay by credit card or bank transfer update: changed telephone number and email.

  22. Added link to 'application to maintain a plant variety' form. Added section 'National list conservation varieties: make an application'. Added link to application to add an amateur vegetable to the National List.

  23. Reviewed and redrafted in line with GOV.UK style and Defra guidance review

  24. November 2015 Gazette published

  25. September 2015 gazette published.

  26. First published.