Color System Help

Color Entry Help || Color Terms | Color Systems | UCL Chart ||

Color Terms
bloom color – the major color as viewed from a foot or less away. For example, light yellowish pink.

value/chroma – one term for the combined value (lightness, from pale to dark) and chroma (intensity, from grayish to vivid) of the color. Example – the light in light yellowish pink. The relationship of these terms to each other is shown below on the UCL color chart.

hue modifier – the secondary color. Example – the yellowish in light yellowish pink.

hue – the primary color. Example – the pink in light yellowish pink.

The menus terms can easily be combined to create impossible or useless color names, such as reddish red, so exercise judgement to define only those relatively few valid names shown below on the UCL color chart.

synonyms – any known color synonyms. Examples (for light yellowish pink) – salmon, RHS 27C

color variation 1…6 – describe one variation at a time, by clicking its enter button. That loads a separate page with menus to describe it. The description is then stored on the primary data entry page.

Describe the most obvious variation first, . . . , least obvious variation last. Most of the satsuki variations are pictured in Galle (note that most of these variation names are commonly followed by the term shibori which translates as variation), and is omitted here.

To describe a color fading or shading to another color, or with an undertone of another color, use the bloom color menus to describe the major color, and then enter the variation color without specifying a pattern. Example (for ‘Copperman’) – bloom color = deep yellowish pink and variation 1 = shaded orange.

garden color – the overall flower color as viewed from a distance, such as 20 feet away

Color Systems
A great deal of study has gone into color definitions over the years. Click plant colors for information about some other color systems that have been used for this purpose.

The Universal Color Language (UCL) used in these color menus was defined by the Inter-Society Color Council-National Bureau of Standards in 1946. It gives an idea of the named color without reference to color chips, by combining a very few standard and fairly well understood color names. A valid UCL color name can be a value+chroma plus a hue modifier plus a hue, e.g. light yellowish pink; or a value+chroma plus a hue, e.g. light pink; or a hue modifier plus a hue, e.g. yellowish pink; or a hue only, e.g. pink. Although each such name describes a rather broad range of colors, and thus is not useful for plant identification, it is quite useful for garden planning purposes.

Some other color names used to describe azaleas translate to these UCL colors as:

Color UCL color Color UCL color
amber moderate orange yellow lavender pale purple
apricot moderate orange lemon greenish yellow
beige pale reddish brown lilac pale reddish purple
blood red moderate red magenta purplish red
brick red reddish brown mahogany reddish brown
bronze yellowish brown maroon deep reddish brown
buff yellowish brown mauve moderate reddish purple
burgundy purplish red ocher dark yellow
canary light yellow orchid light purplish red
carmine purplish red peach light yellowish pink
cerise bright red periwinkle light blue
chartreuse pale yellowish green plum reddish purple
chestnut reddish brown rose purplish pink
cinnamon yellowish brown ruby red deep red
copper reddish brown rusty reddish brown
coral deep pink salmon yellowish pink
cream yellowish white scarlet reddish orange
crimson deep red silver grayish white
dusty grayish strawberry red
fawn pale yellowish brown tan yellowish brown
fuchsia reddish purple tawny yellowish brown
gold greenish yellow vermilion red
ivory yellowish white wine purple


UCL Color Chart
The circular Hue chart shows the valid UCL colors, which are the only hue modifier and hue combinations that should be chosen with the menus. Most of the color names are shown on the circle, with lighter colors on the outer arc and darker colors on the inner arc.

The lower Value/Chroma chart shows the terms used to describe the color value or lightness as it varies from top to bottom, and the color chroma or saturation as it varies from left to right.

Universal Color Language chart