Preparing a Paper for publication in Acta Horticulturae®

You are about to prepare an article to be presented at an ISHS Symposium. Taking into account the following instructions will make the publication of your paper in Acta Horticulturae easier. Remember that only papers presented at ISHS Symposia are published in Acta Horticulturae after being accepted, reviewed and edited by the editorial board of the Symposium/Meeting involved. This is also why you should submit your contribution directly to the Convener of the Symposium you will attend and NOT to the ISHS Secretariat. Papers should be submitted both as hard copy (printout on paper) AND electronically. In the event of differences between the printout and the electronic copy, your printout will be used as reference.

Download a copy of this Authors Guide here (pdf format)
Download a copy of the Sample Article file here (pdf format)

Using the ISHS online submission and review tool

To streamline the publication process in view of a timely publication of the proceedings in Acta Horticulturae, the ISHS is implementing the use of its online tool for submission and review. Gradually all ISHS symposia will be using the ISHS online tool for submission and review. Should you be preparing an abstract or a paper for submission to a meeting which is already using the tool, check out the user manual here.

ISHS Publication Policy

All oral presenters, including invited and key-note speakers, must submit a manuscript for the Acta Horticulturae. If this is not agreed to by the author(s), the work can be presented as a poster. Authors of posters are welcomed to submit their manuscript for Acta Horticulturae but posters cannot be published as such. The manuscript should be submitted a few weeks before the symposium starts or at the symposium in order to avoid unnecessary delay in the reviewing process and editing of the Acta Horticulturae volume.

Submission of a manuscript implies that the work described has not been published before (except in form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture, review or thesis); that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere; that its publication has been approved by all co-authors, if any, as well as - tacitly or explicitly - by the responsible authorities at the institution where the work was carried out.

The copyright to an article submitted for publication is transferred to the International Society for Horticultural Science (for U.S. government employees: to the extent transferable) effective if and when the article is accepted for publication. The author warrants that his/her contribution is original and that he/she has full power to make this grant. The author signs for and accepts responsibility for releasing this material on behalf of any and all co-authors. The copyright transfer covers the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the article, including reprints, translations, photographic reproductions, microform, electronic form (offline, online) or any other reproductions of similar nature.

An author may self-archive an author-created version of his/her article on his/her own website. He/she may also deposit that version on his/her institution's and funder's (funder-designated) repository at the funder's request or as a result of a legal obligation, including his/her final version, provided it is not made publicly available until after 12 months of official publication. He/she may not use the publisher's PDF version which is posted on for the purpose of self-archiving or deposit. Furthermore, the author may only post his/her version provided acknowledgement is given to the original source of publication and a link is inserted to the published article on ISHS's website. The link must be accompanied by the following text: "The original publication is available at".

Important elements of the publisher's role in the scientific communication process are reviewing, recognition and consistent quality assurance. In order to guarantee that the requirements of these elements are fully met, control of the dissemination of the final article is necessary. Permitting an article to be published elsewhere on public servers without a clear connection to the final article can potentially confuse readers who use the article for their own research and will not be in the interest of science. The transfer of copyright from the author to the publisher assists ISHS to protect the mutual interests of both the author/researcher and the publisher. Articles disseminated via are indexed, abstracted and referenced by many abstracting and information services, bibliographic networks, subscription agencies, library networks and consortia.

Length of the Printed Paper

All symposium verbal and poster presentations are eligible for publication in the proceedings if a suitable manuscript is prepared according to this ISHS Authors Guide and submitted on time to the Convener of the meeting. The convener will send the manuscript to the Editorial Board for reviewing.

Manuscripts should be as concise as possible in order to reduce to a minimum the number of pages of Acta Horticulturae. As a general rule the maximum recommended length of an invited paper is 16 pages and of a submitted oral paper or poster is 8 pages, including figures and tables. An average page of text will contain about 500 words. Manuscript reviewers will cut unnecessary information and will advise on the number of pages each manuscript should have taking into account its content and characteristics. For any length over the recommended number of pages the convener will have the right to charge 75,- euro per additional page.


English is the official language of Acta Horticulturae. However, if the original contribution is presented at a bilingual symposium, a manuscript in Spanish or French is also acceptable, provided it includes a one page extended abstract in English. An abstract in French or Spanish can be added to manuscripts in English.


ISHS has no preference whether English or American spelling is used although uniformity within each paper is required. Latin words or phrases are in italics, with the exception of very common expressions such as "i.e.," "e.g.," "et al.," "in vitro," "ex vitro" and "etc. The expression "etc." for "and so forth" should be used only with series, such as 1, 2, 3, etc.


Use the metric system exclusively. Use abbreviation L for liter, mg/L for milligram(me) per liter, ml for milliliter, and t for tonne (metric ton). SI units can be used where appropriate.

Font and Type Size

Use Times New Roman font exclusively. Titles are printed in 14 point but the rest of the manuscript, including tables should be 12 point. When italic typeface is required use italic type, not underline.

Plant Names

Scientific names are to be included for all plant species and are to be in italic font except for the abbreviations "var.", "subsp.", "f.", etc. which indicate rank at infraspecific level (e.g., Cedrus libani subsp. atlantica, Phytophthora parasitica var. nicotianae).

Author citation should only be used when helpful for historical or taxonomic reasons, and then it should only be used when the name is first mentioned in the body of the text (do not use author citation in the abstract or title). Author names are to abbreviated in accordance with the international standard provided by Brummitt, R.K., & Powell, C.E., "Authors of Plant Names", Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1992. An on-line version of this work may be consulted via

Common names may be used for well-known plants once the scientific name has been provided (e.g., apple, pear, potato, rose, tomato).

Cultivated varieties which are the product of selection and/or breeding are to be referred to as "cultivars" and not "varieties". Cultivar names are to be written in accordance with the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. The current (2009) edition is obtainable from ISHS 
In particular, the part of a name which denotes the cultivar is it be placed within single quotation marks. The abbreviation "cv." is not to be used within a name (e.g., Malus ×domestica 'Golden Delicious', not Malus ×domestica cv. Golden Delicious).

If indicating hybrid status, the multiplication symbol should be used before the name of the genus or the species epithet as appropriate (e.g., ×Cupressocyparis leylandii, Mentha ×piperita), or within the formula denoting the hybrid (e.g., Mentha aquatica × M. spicata). If the multiplication symbol is not available in your font set, use the letter "x" in lower case, but leave a space between it and the word to which it should be applied (e.g., x Cupressocyparis leylandii, Mentha x piperita). Neither the multiplication symbol nor the letter "x" are to be in italics.

Use the letter "x" to indicate a cross such as "red x yellow" and for the term "by" in measurements (2 cm x 4 cm). Use italic n and x when indicating sporophytic or basic chromosome number (e.g., 2n=4x = 48).

Headings Ranks and Format

Papers contain one to four headings, all aligned at the left hand margin, as follows:

RANK ONE Use boldface and all capital letters. Use a space before this rank but subsequent paragraph(s) continue without a space. Subsequent paragraphs within this section are indented without spaces between paragraphs. Headings such as INTRODUCTION, MATERIALS AND METHODS, RESULTS, DISCUSSION are Rank one headings. Do not use a period after this heading.

Rank Two This heading subdivides RANK ONE headings, thus there must be at least two or more Rank Two subheads. Titles are boldface with the first letter of important words in capital letters and the others in lower case. Rank Two headings are separated by a space above the heading as in RANK ONE headings. No period after Rank Two headings. The paragraph starts on the first line after the Rank Two heading and is indented.

1. Rank Three. This heading may be used to divide Rank Two headings. Initiate this heading with Arabic numerals (1,2,3 etc.). with numbers and title in boldface with the beginning of each word in capital letters. The subheading ends with a period. The paragraph continues on the same line. Do not separate this heading with blank lines.

Rank Four. This heading subdividing Rank Three headings will be used rarely. Align left, end with a period, and continue on same line. The font is italic, non-boldface, with the beginning of each word in capital letters. Do not separate with blank lines.


Use first quality white paper for your printout. The printable area on your sheet of paper is strictly fixed (15.3 x 23.5 cm = 6.02 x 9.25 inches) irrespective of paper size. For A4 size paper this printable area is obtained by entering following margin settings in the "page set-up" of your word-processor: top: 2.7 cm (1.06"); bottom: 3.5 cm (1.38"); left: 2.8 cm (1.10"); right: 2.9 cm (1.14")

Papers should be printed preferably on laser-writers but Ink-jet printers also give satisfactory results. Papers produced on a type-writer will not be accepted.

Spacing and Indentations

The final text should be single spaced but a double spaced manuscript may be submitted for editing by the convener. Titles of subheadings should not be underlined. Text should be "justified" in order to fill the entire printable area.
Provide a hanging indent (0.6 cm) on the second line of the Keywords and Literature Cited references. First lines of all paragraphs should have a 1.25 cm indentation except those that immediately follow rank three and rank four subheadings. Do not include blank lines between paragraphs within a section.



Titles are printed in boldface in 14 point type. If the paper is in Spanish or French with extended English abstract, (see Language above) the title is in boldface in English and not in boldface for other languages. Use capital and lower case for the first word in the titles except for articles ("a" and "the"), prepositions ("of," "in" "on." "during," "between"), and conjunctions ("and" and "but"), except when they are the first word. Gene symbols, which normally begin with lower case letters are not capitalized in titles nor is the first word of specific epithets in binomials. Do not include authorities for binomials in titles. Keep titles as concise as possible. Binomials will be in boldface Italics.


The byline under the title includes the name of author(s) (without titles) and affiliations. The given name of authors may be either written out in full or listed by initials. Initials are followed by a period. If two initials are listed, do not include a space between them but provide a space before the family name. The family name is always presented after the given name, even for those countries that use a different sequence (Spanish names are alphabetized by the paternal family name. Accents should be kept in names so as not to violate their spelling rules). The affiliation or address of author is included below the name. The address of the author may be in the language of the country, but spell out the country name in English.

For multi-authored papers keep the affiliation of each author separately; when space permits, these can be listed side by side; if not, underneath each other. If there are two authors, separate the author name by "and," e.g. A.B. Smith and C.D. Jones; three authors would be A.B. Smith, C.D Jones and E.F. Brown. Do not use footnotes in the bylines.

Footnotes should be avoided in bylines. They might be appropriate when there are two departments in one institution.

Journal Paper Numbers

Journal paper numbers, or reference numbers, if needed, are placed in the Acknowledgement section (see below).

This is a rank 2 heading followed by colon (Keywords: apple, pear). List five to seven key words not used in the title. Remember that electronic search engines focus on Title and Keywords. The second line of keywords is a hanging indent (0.6 cm).


An abstract in English, limited to 200-300 words in a single paragraph is required in all cases. Indent the first line of the abstract. The abstract should contain a concise but comprehensive statement of the problem and results. The title and abstract will be freely available on the ISHS website and should be considered an advertisement for the paper as it may be all that most viewers will read. Thus, it should be carefully and accurately written.


This should include a statement of the problem, a brief survey of previous work, and the scope and purpose of the investigation. References to previous work should be included.

Materials and Methods (Experimental Procedures)

This section should be included in papers describing experiments but may not be required in review papers. Describe concisely the plant materials, the growing technique, methods used, and lay-out of experiments. Include the name of all chemicals and compounds. An indication of the statistical methods used to analyze data should be included

Results and Discussion

This is the heart of the paper. The section(s) may either be presented as a single section or divided into separate Results and Discussion sections. If separate, describe experimental results in the Results section and reserve interpretations, speculations, and conclusions for the Discussion section. At the end of the paper attempt to answer questions formulated in the introduction and conclude with a summary of results and an assessment of future research or prospects.


This is reserved for journal paper numbers, source of funding, and name of project, if required. Acknowledgement of help from colleagues or professional associates is appropriate but avoid acknowledgement of routine secretarial help or family members.

Citations and Literature Cited

1. Format. Citations to references in the text are listed chronologically surrounded by parentheses with the following format: (Peters, 1950; Jones and Smith, 1990; Brown et al., 1999a). If there are two authors with the same name that have published in the same year, initials may be used to avoid confusion. Note: "et al." is used for three or more authors.
Citations to personal communications include the surname or initials of the person and are only to be included within the text, not in the Literature Cited section. The date is optional. Thus: (A.B. Peters, pers. commun.) or (A.B. Peters, pers. commun., 2001).
Consider Literature Cited as a Rank 2 heading,. Literature cited should only include references used in the paper. List the authors in alphabetical order, letter by letter, and in chronological order for publications of the same author(s). Do not use a comma before "and" after the penultimate author. Do not use an issue number if the journal uses consecutive numbers for each volume. In the format that follows, note that in all cases the given name or initials follow the family name.

Journal Paper:
Navazoi, J.P. and Simon, P.W. 2001. Diallel analysis of high carotenoid content in cucumber. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 126:100-104.

Van Os, E. and Benoit, F. 1999. Stare of the art of Dutch and Belgian greenhouse horticulture and hydroponics. Acta Hort. 481:765-767

Darrow, G.M. 1966. The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.

Chapter in Book:
Daubeny, H.A. 1996. Brambles. p.109-190. In: J. Janick and J.N. Moore (eds.), Fruit Breeding, Vol. 3, Nuts. Wiley, New York.

Chapter in Conference Proceedings:
Aviram, M. and Fuhrman, B. 1998. Tomato lycopene and (-carotene inhibit LDL oxidation. Proc. Tomato and Health Seminar. Pamplona, Spain 25-28 May. p. 45-52.

Food and Agricultural Organization. 2002.

2. Abbreviations. Do not abbreviate single word journals. Do not abbreviate states or provinces of countries. When in doubt do not abbreviate. Commonly used abbreviations are as follows:

Abstract: Abstr.
Academia: Acad.
Advances: Adv.
Agriculture: Agri.
Agronomy: Agron
American: Amer.
Annals: Ann.
Annual: Annu.
Archives: Arch.
Biochemistry: Biochem.
Biol.: Biol.
Circular: Cir.
Communication: Commun.
Conference: Conf.
Congress: Congr.
Contribution: Contrib.
Culture: Cult.
Department: Dept.
Dissertation: Diss.
Gazette: Gaz.
Genetics: Genet.
Horticulture, -ae, -al: Hort.
Institute: Inst.
International: Intl.
Japanese: Japan.
Journal: J.
Laboratory, -ies: Lab.
Letters: Lett.
Magazine: Mag.
Management: Mgt.
Market: Mkt.
Marketing: Mktg.
Molecular: Mol.
National: Natl.
Physiology: Physiol.
Plantae, -arum: Plant.
Progress: Prog.
Publication(s): Publ.
Report: Rep.
Reporter: Rptr.
Research: Res.
Review (s), Revue(s): Rev.
Scientia: Scientia
Scientific: Scientific
Series: Ser.
Station: Sta.
Statistics, -ical: Stat.
Supplement(s): Suppl.
Technical, -que: Tech.
Technology, -ical: Technol.
United Kingdom: UK
United States of America: USA
United States Department of Agriculture: U.S. Dept. Agr.
University: Univ.
Yearbook: Yearb.
Zeitschrift: Z.

Tables and Figures

Tables and figures are normally included at the end of the article in that sequence. Prefix the table section with the word Tables and the figure section with the word Figures. Captions are provided directly above each table and below each figure with hanging indents. They are numbered consecutively with Arabic numbers, and aligned with the width of the Table or Figure, or to the full width of the page if the figure or table occupies more than half of the width of the page. Thus, Table 1, Table 2 etc. and Fig. 1, Fig. 2. etc. If the table or figure is not original, give the source at the end of the caption, e.g. Source: Jones et al. 2001.

1. Tables. Use tables sparingly. Titles of tables go above the table. Place all headings to the center of their column. The size of the table should not exceed the standard page width and length, but tables may be placed portrait or landscape format. Solid lines are used in the heading and in the bottom of the table but are to be avoided in the body, but, if necessary, use dotted lines. The units of the data must be indicated in parentheses in the table headings. If table footnotes are needed, use superscript Arabic numbers 1, 2, 3, etc. The sources of tables should be in the caption (see model).

Proper format for tables in Acta Horticulturae should include 4 parts:

(1) caption, (2) masthead, (3) body, and (4) footnotes. This can best be demonstrated with two examples, listed as Table 1 and Table 2 in the sample article file.

Caption. The caption should be understandable without recourse to the paper itself. The caption has only the first word capitalized (except for proper names) and ends in a period. The caption may be more than a single sentence. The source of the table, if necessary to include, is indicated in the caption (see Table 2).

Masthead. In general, tables are best read up and down. Each column of the table must be explained by a masthead heading. The masthead is enclosed top and bottom by two lines extending to the each edge of the table (see Table 1 and 2). Horizontal lines within the masthead can be used to separate groups under a common heading (see Table 2). The units of each column need to be clearly indicated, e.g., No. fruit; Fruit wt. (g); Harvest index (%). Masthead headings should be located on the bottom of the masthead cell.

Body. Avoid internal lines in the body of the table. Center values under the masthead heading. Use rounding to avoid unwarranted precision. Means may be separated by using lower case letters (5% significance) or upper case letters (1% significance). Indicate statistical tests and significance by footnotes, preferably superscript 1, 2, 3, etc. [If letters are used, start at the end of the alphabet (z, y, x, etc.).] The body of the table is enclosed in a line.

Footnotes. Footnotes go underneath the body of the table. Put each footnote on a separate line.

2. Figures. Titles of figures go underneath the figure. Figures may be submitted electronically but provide a hard copy since resolution may be imperfect. If a figure is outsized it may be reduced photographically. Be sure to include clear, sharp pictures. Figures, graphs and drawings normally should be all in black and white, not color. Color photographs can only be printed after a special agreement with the conveners and ISHS Secretariat and there will be a charge to authors.


See sample article provided for format. The use of Microsoft Word is recommended to prepare your article. For accurate reproduction/printing of your figures, graphs or pictures in Acta Horticulturae, please insert any graphic object in your MS Word file in a high resolution. Most common file formats are: jpg, eps, tiff or psd (at a resolution of 300 dpi) or original Adobe Illustrator (ai or eps) files. Powerpoint or Excel files are acceptable if you used these programs to create the original figure or graph. Typically, files of less than 300 dots per inch do not reproduce well when printed (even if they look good on your computer screen!) so please mind the resolution of your figure/graph file. Do not use the MS Word feature of text boxes to add captions, arrows, letters, or other text or objects to show in your figures, graphs or images because text boxes may shift around while editing the article. Instead you should embed and hard-code any text or objects directly into the image, figure, graph or picture file before inserting it in your MS Word manuscript.