Monday, January 9, 2012

Silly names: Kodachrome bladderpod

Today's plant is Physaria tumulosa, a little member of the bean family with a very odd name. Its Latin name is normal enough, but its scientifically-accepted common name is -- I kid you not -- the Kodachrome bladderpod. That's straight out of the Flora of North America; it doesn't get much more official than that. I want to go and find one now, to see for myself where it got a name like that! Unfortunately, it's a species of conservation concern with a pretty limited range, so that might be harder than it sounds. At least it's in Utah, and not too far from me.

Sources: FNA


Update: Barbara Ertter has pointed out that there's a more plausible explanation for the origin of this name. "Botanists can't take credit/blame for this one," she writes; "the common name is obviously derived from Kodachrome Basin, where there is even a Kodachrome Basin State Park." I stand corrected. As much fun as the idea of a ludicrously-colorful little Physaria was, I'll freely admit that a whole basin painted as bright as color film makes a delightful mental image too.

...I think I know where I'm going next time I visit Utah.

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