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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it with another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word or RTF file format.
  • Figures or graphs with data in them have been saved as separate files and original data, where supplied, has been uploaded as supplementary information.
  • Full bibliographic citations have been supplied for all relevant references.
  • Any references citing information on websites include the full website address and the date that the site was accessed.
  • Image files to accompany the text have been uploaded as supplementary information as jpg or tif files and the appropriate captions and credits have been supplied with the text.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines (below).

Author Guidelines

Advice for contributors to Sibbaldia and Style Guide

If you would like to contribute to Sibbaldia please send a summary of the content of your proposed paper to Papers and short notes on the cultivation, conservation, research, botany (but not taxonomic botany), history, landscaping, legislation, management and curation of plants and landscapes in botanic and other gardens will be considered. All papers and short notes are accepted on the understanding that they have not have been accepted for publication or be under consideration elsewhere and that they will be subject to editing. All papers will be reviewed by independent reviewers. Authors are required to agree to a Creative Commons Attribution Licence that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Authors for whom English is not their first language should have their papers checked by a fluent English speaker before submission. The suitability for inclusion of the paper in Sibbaldia rests with the Editor.

A pdf of the paper and a copy of the final printed format will be supplied free of charge.


  • The article should be submitted in the form of a Word file in 12pt, double-spaced Calibri (10pt, single-spaced for the abstract)
  • Use a line space between paragraphs (not indented)
  • Use a single (not double) space after full stops, semicolons etc
  • All diacritical marks (accents, umlauts, cedillas etc.) must be included
  • Italics should be used as appropriate (see below) but do not use any other formatting
  • ‘A’ headings (ie main section subdivisions) should be in small caps and centred on the page. ‘B’ headings (ie subheadings of A headings) should be in italics, have initial capital and be ranged left


  • The article should have a title, which should be followed by the names of all authors. Insert a footnote to each author name. In the footnote, give the name, job title, postal address (ie name & address of institution), and email address of the first author (ie the corresponding author).
  • For any subsequent authors, give the name, job title and name & address of their institution in each case, but no contact details.
  • Provide an abstract of the article, which should be concise and informative, indicating what the article contains without summarising it.
  • The article should not contain any images; these should be submitted separately (see FIGURES AND TABLES below)


  • Use UK English spellings: -ise, -yse, colour
  • Do not use a serial comma before ‘and’, eg China, India and Nepal (not China, India, and Nepal)
  • Use double quotes (“…”) when quoting someone’s words, and single quotes (‘…’) for quotes within quotes and ‘so to speak’ type phrases


  • Names of institutions that are commonly abbreviated should appear in their full form on first mention in the abstract, the main body of the article and any figure captions, with the abbreviated form in brackets immediately afterwards. Thereafter the abbreviated form should be used
  • For very common abbreviations and acronyms where the full form is much less commonly used (eg USA, BBC), use the abbreviated form directly
  • No full points should be used in upper-case abbreviations such as US or UK but people’s initials are unspaced and followed by a full point, eg A.A. Milne
    • Do use a full point when the last letter is NOT the same as the last letter of the original word, eg Fig., vol., ed. (the plural of which is expressed as Figs, vols, eds)
    • Avoid the Latin abbreviations eg, ie and etc; instead use English equivalents (for  example, such as, that is, and so on)
      • Use c. for circa, with a space before the following word or figure
      • Note that cf. means ‘compare’ and not ‘see’


  • Do not use a full point when the last letter is the same as the last letter of the original word, eg Mr, Mrs, Dr, Ltd, edn


  • The correct format is 24 June 2019 (and not June 24 or 24th June). Do not use ‘th’, ‘st’ or ‘rd’ except when referring to centuries.
  • 1920s, not 1920’s
  • The 3rd century BC, the 9th century, the 18th century etc (note that ‘rd’, ‘th’ etc should not be in superscript (3rd not 3rd). When used adjectivally, they are hyphenated, eg 20th-century horticulturists


  • Use lower-case ‘the’ before names of associations, companies and other bodies, eg the National Trust
  • For newspapers and journals, the rule is The + one word and the + more than one word, eg The Guardian, the New York Times


  • These should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals and referred to in the text as Fig. 1, Table 1, Figs 1–4 etc. Every figure and table should have a reference in brackets at the relevant point in the text, in the form (Fig. 1), not (see Fig. 1).
  • Do not include figures in the main Word doc but submit them separately as .jpg or .tif files of a size no less than 1MB (but preferably bigger), with a minimum of 300 dpi.
  • Tables, unless very long and/or complex, can be included in the main Word doc.
  • Every table should have a heading and every figure should have a descriptive caption, with a credit supplied for maps and photos. Submit the list of figure captions as a separate Word doc. These will normally take the following form:

Fig. 3 Outer bud scales are removed to reduce contamination. Photo: N. Davidson.

Fig. 5 Map of the NBG. Map drawn by DPR.


  • The titles of books, newspapers, exhibitions and conferences are in italics: The Dapuri Drawings, The Times
  • Other events and festivals do not take italics
  • Latin terms are in italics: in vitro, ex situ, in situ



  • Use metric as standard (centimetres, kilometres, kilograms, hectares etc) except in a historical context (ie when the measurement referred to was made at the time in acres, feet etc) or in reported speech.
  • When using imperial measurements in a historical context, give the metric equivalent in brackets, eg the original garden measured 400 acres (161.9 ha).
  • Units of measurement should be abbreviated and always expressed in the singular without a full point, eg mm, cm, m, km, g, kg, ha
  • There should be a space between a number and its unit of measurement, eg 6 cm not 6cm.


  • One to ten are written out in full, while numbers are used from 11 upwards. Exceptions are:
    • where the number is the first word of the sentence, in which case it is written out in full, eg Twenty-five years later, ...
    • where numbers of different types appear in the same sentence, eg ‘it was thought there were only six species but fourteen were discovered’
    • measurements, eg 417 km, 25 l
  • For large numbers use a comma to indicate thousands, eg 3,456 and 12,345,678, except in page numbers
  • Number and date ranges should not be elided: 24–26, 100–137, 2012–2016
  • Use ‘per cent’ in the text and the % symbol in tables. The preceding number should always be a figure, not written out, eg 5 per cent.


  • If providing plant author names, do so on first mention in the title, the abstract, the main body of the text and the figure captions, and provide them consistently, ie for all plant names in the article.
  • Author abbreviations should precisely follow The International Plant Names Index, available at and Index Fungorum, Authors of Fungal Names, available at
  • If you are in doubt as to whether or not author names should be included in your article, please talk to the editors before submission.


  • Family names take an initial capital letter but no italics, eg Melanodendron integrifolium of the family Asteraceae
  • All generic names are fully spelled out the first time they appear in any paragraph. They should be abbreviated to initial capital letter + full stop (eg Pinus sylvestris ... P. sylvestris) on second or subsequent mention within the same paragraph. Any mention in a later paragraph effectively resets the rule and it should be fully spelled out at first mention again
  • Common names do not take italics and are in lower case except where there is a proper name as part of the common name, eg Douglas fir, but morning glory.

Note that it is not obligatory to give common names in Sibbaldia, but if they are used, Latin names should come first with the common name in brackets thereafter, eg Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine). Thereafter the species can be referred to by the common name.

  • The abbreviations spp. and subsp. do not take italics
  • Cultivar names follow the species name and appear in inverted commas without italics, eg Digitalis purpurea ‘Chedglow’
  • Hybrid names are indicated by ‘x’ without italics, eg Digitalis x mertonensis


  • References in the text should be cited by author and publication date as follows: (Llamas, 2003) or ‘as stated by Llamas (2003)’. Multiple references should be stated chronologically and separated by a comma for the same author, eg (Llamas, 2003, 2005) and a semicolon for different authors, eg (Good, 1974; Goldblatt, 1978; Takhtajan, 1986)
    • Every text reference MUST have an entry in the list of references at the end of the article and vice versa.
    • Two references with the same author and publication date should be labelled a and b and referred to as such in the text and the list of references, eg (Goldblatt, 2004a)
    • For a publication with three or more authors use et al. (Born et al., 2006) in the text and list all authors as they appear in the original text in the list of references.
    • In the reference list, references should appear in alphabetical order then date order, eg.

BROWN, A. (2006) ...

BROWN, A. (2015) ...

BROWN, A. & JONES, B. (2012)

BROWN, A., JONES, B. & SMITH, C. (2008)

  • The ampersand (and not the word ‘and’) should be used before the final author name in both text references and the list of references.
  • Places of publication in the USA should be followed by their two-letter state abbreviation (except for New York), eg Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Note the key style points in the following model entries:

MUCINA, L. & RUTHERFORD, M.C. (eds) (2006). The Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. SANBI, Pretoria.

TEMPLETON, A.R. (1981). Mechanisms of speciation – a population genetics approach. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 12(1): 23–48.

 VAN WILGEN, B.W., BOND, W.J. & RICHARDSON, D.M. (1992). Ecosystem management. In: COWLING, R.M. (ed.), The Ecology of Fynbos. Oxford University Press, Cape Town, pp. 345–371.



References should include:

- The name of the publisher followed by place of publication

- The place of publication should be town/city only, not country

- A full stop after year of publication

- Page ranges for books (but not journals) should be preceded by pp. (or p. for a single page)

- The style for a book chapter is as per Van Wilgen et al above.

Web references should be cited with the author of the information (this may be a person, or a company or other organisation) in the text. For example: Chelsea Physic Garden (2009) or (Chelsea Physic Garden, 2009)

In the list of references, the URL should be cited along with the month and year the website was last accessed. For example: CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN (2009). Welcome to Chelsea Physic Garden. Available online: (accessed September 2017).

Computer software should be referenced with the date range of development and version numbers to which the reference relates, and a url where the software can be accessed or purchased. For example: Rustan, Ø. & Ostgaard, H. (2017). IrisBG® – Botanical Garden Collection Management, version (software). Available online: (accessed July 2021).

And: Walter, K.S. & O’neal, M.J. (1985–2018). BG-BASE™ (Collection Management Software, version 6.8). BG-BASE Inc. & BG-BASE (UK) Ltd. Available online: (accessed September 2021).


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