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‘Martian’ flower basks in the Oscar glow

Image: Solanum watneyi
The bush tomato called Solanum watneyi has purple flowers. (Chris Martine / Bucknell / CC-BY 4.0)

Timing is everything, even when it comes to naming plant species. Bucknell University botanist Chris Martine found that out last fall, when he announced that a newly identified species of Australian bush tomato would be named after Mark Watney, the central character in a little movie called “The Martian.”

The announcement about Solanum watneyi made a splash, in part because it came just as the hype over the movie was reaching a crescendo.

Now there’s a second splash: The description of the plant is being published in the journal PhytoKeys – just as “The Martian” and Matt Damon, the actor who played Mark Watney, are basking in the glow of the Academy Awards spotlight.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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