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Living

Just Before Oscars, Plant Named for Hero of “The Martian”

In a paper published, scientists named a flowering Australian plant for the fictional botanist Damon portrayed

Chris Martine
2 years ago

NEW YORK — Matt Damon may not win the Oscar for best actor on Sunday, but the character he played in “The Martian” has gotten its own recognition.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal PhytoKeys, scientists named a flowering Australian plant for Mark Watney, the fictional botanist Damon portrayed.

The plant is dubbed solanum watneyi (soh-LAY’-num WAHT-nee-eye). It’s related to the potato, which Watney grew on Mars as he puzzled out how to survive being stranded.

The journal article demonstrates that the plant represents a distinct species. One author, Chris Martine of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, said the name reflects the film’s demonstration that “through the scientific process there are … lots of things we can still learn.”

Besides, he said, botanists don’t have many “blockbuster Hollywood space heroes.”

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