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.”