Wednesday 5 June 2013

What should I call glyphosate?

I would get many more search engine ‘hits’ on my blog if I called it Roundup. Roundup seems to have become a generic name for glyphosate. It’s an interesting phenomenon when this kind of thing happens. To be clear, Roundup is the brand name for Monsanto’s glyphosate product. Glyphosate is the ‘abbreviated’ chemical name and is often referred to as the active ingredient.
Since when some years ago, exclusive production rights for glyphosate expired, many other glyphosate based products have come to the market. I have previously jested about the ingenious new brand names invented by rival companies.  Monsanto, of course, retain exclusive rights to the brand name Roundup. On a product, the brand name Roundup, can only be used by Monsanto and those companies who use the name under license.

Generic names

Some generic names are brand names that have lost their patent. When you take an aspirin, see cats eyes in the road, or wrap an item in cellophane you are using an expired brand name as a generic term. 
‘Hoover’, ‘sellotape’  and ‘biro’ are all examples of brand names that have not expired but are commonly used as generic terms by the public. ‘Roundup’ now seems to be the colloquial word of choice that gardeners use when referring to glyphosate.

Can you think of other horticultural examples?
  • Rotavator - a rotary cultivator.
  • Hayter - a rotary mower. This was widely used when I was young. The name rotary mower seems to have reasserted itself now.
  • Flymo - a hover mower.
  • Arbrex - tree sealant.
  • Astra turf - artificial turf.
Can anyone think of any other examples?


  1. Replies
    1. I knew you would be on to it Sue. Bet you come up with one!

    2. Not exactly horticultural but I could Google to find a plant. Only one I've thought of so far


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