I read an article in the local newspaper yesterday about a competition to name a new Australian wild carrot. Umm, wow!
The native carrot was discovered near Armidale 20 years ago and has been stored at the National Herbarium of NSW all that time. Now the Chief Botanist has decided it needs a complete name.
The structure of plant names is interesting.
There’s a common name, in this case Wild Carrot. Then there’s the scientific name, in this case Trachymene sp. So, all the scientific name says is that it’s part of the Trachymene genus but it doesn’t have a species name.
If you want to know more about plant naming, check out this page. The librarian in me loves that there’s a structure for naming plants! 😀
The fun thing is that, besides using people’s names, or a name already used in the Trachymene genus, it could be called anything!
Here are a couple of examples of plants, named by their discoverers (though I’m not sure that ‘discoverers’ is correct. The plants existed long before Western plant collectors came across them and native people possibly knew all about them.)
- Dudleya hendrixii wasdiscovered by Mark Dodero who is said to have been listening to Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child’ when he first saw it near Colonet, Baja California in Mexico.
- Gaga is also a genus of ferns named after American singer and songwriter Lady Gaga and includes the species Gaga monstraparva, which is Latin for ‘little monster’, the name of Gaga’s fans.
How interesting is that?
Anyway, back to the Wild Carrot. The competition’s for schoolkids in NSW. Such a shame that it’s just for kids. I thought I could call it Trachymene wildthing (for that old song Wild Thing by The Troggs). On second thought, kids will probably come up with a better name? 😀
Images courtesy Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.