In the United States, there are two mechanisms for protecting plant varieties. The plant patent system, which operates under the U.S. law regarding patents, provides protection for asexually propagated plants (for example, fruit trees). The Plant Variety Protection Act has historically protected only seed-propagated plants (for example, wheat and cotton). As the result of an amendment in 2018, asexually propagated varieties will soon be protectable under the PVP Act. Applications will be accepted once the rulemaking process is complete, which is expected to be in late 2019.
Additional information on the Plant Variety Protection Act can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/plant-variety-protection.