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The Petunia that's an Ipomoea and more botanical fibs

Mutant Petunias Sing The Blues - New York Times 6 January 2014. Screen shot from NY Times website, Jan 6, 2014, by BotanicalAccuracy.comThe news that two prestigious publications, Science magazine and the New York Times (left, click to enlarge), both used the same image of an Ipomoea to illustrate a story about a genetic breakthrough in the development of blue petunias took me from Garden Rant, where a guest post by Lena Struwe laid it all out in glorious detail, to Lena Struwe’s own Botanical Accuracy blog.

Dr Lena Struwe is Associate Professor at the School of Enviromental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey and her Botanical Accuracy blog is simply wonderful.

As well as her piece about the morning glory pretenting to be a petunia, she’s pointed out (in impressive and entertaining detail) that:
Batman’s nemesis Poison Ivy is often actually clothed in English Ivy to keep her decent;
The plants known as ‘Magilla Perilla’ and ‘Magilla Vanilla’ are very definitely Solenostemon (coleus) and not Perilla at all (see below);
Many retailers and wholesalers use images of Philadephus to show that their products contain jasmine;
The logo used to celebrate 50 years of Greening Singapore by their National Parks service shows mostly European weeds;

And more… It’s really fascinating, and funny – and all so thoroughly researched. Take a look – BotanicalAccuracy.com

And here are links to some of my posts here on Transatlantic Gardener that deal with similar issues:
The good, the bad - and the chrysanthemums
Fun with plant names
From the depths of the black lagoon arose – Dendranthema!
Another nursery plant name fiasco
Cannas, agastaches, bluebells, bluebonnets – and Star Trek Voyager

And here's Solenostemon (coleus) 'Perilla Magilla' - definitely not a Perilla. And, actually, it can't be called Solenostemon 'Perilla Magilla' - cultivar names are not allowed to include a genus name!
Solenostemon (coleus) 'Perilla Magilla'. Image ©GardenPhotos.com

Screen shot from NY Times website, Jan 6, 2014, by BotanicalAccuracy.com


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