Conservation news

New group of Caribbean plants named after James Bond

  • Jamesbondia belongs to the plant genus Alternanthera, and comprises of four species of plants found in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
  • In the 1980s, a scientist named J.M. Mears, called a group of Caribbean plant species as “Jamesbondia” in unpublished work.
  • By looking at the plants’ morphological characters of inflorescences and flowers, and DNA data, Pino and Iamonico have now confirmed that the four species belong to a separate sub-group of the Alternanthera genus, officially naming the sub-group Jamesbondia.

The name’s bondia, Jamesbodia. Scientists have named a new subgenus of Caribbean plants Jamesbondia.

But don’t be mistaken. The name does not honor the popular spy character James Bond. Instead, the plants have been named after notable American ornithologist James Bond (1900-1989), an expert in Caribbean birds and author of the book Birds of the West Indies. In fact, Ian Fleming — also a keen birdwatcher — is believed to have used the ornithologist’s name for his fictional spy series.

Jamesbondia belongs to the plant genus Alternanthera, which includes plants like the common joyweed and alligator weed. The new sub-genus Jamesbondia comprises of four species of plants, all of which can be found from southeastern Mexico to South America. The plants also occur in the Caribbean Islands, where Bond spent a considerable time studying birds, the authors write in a new study published in Plant Biosystems.

A new subgenus of plants has officially been called Jamesbondia. Photo courtesy of of Taylor & Francis.

Authors I. Sánchez-del Pino and D. Iamonico aren’t the first ones to come up with the name Jamesbondia. In the 1980s, a scientist named J.M. Mears, called a group of Caribbean plant species as “Jamesbondia” in unpublished work, the authors write.

By looking at the plants’ morphological characters of inflorescences and flowers, and DNA data, Pino and Iamonico have now confirmed that the four species belong to a separate sub-group of the Alternanthera genus, officially naming the sub-genus Jamesbondia.

“Respecting the annotations of Mears, we named this subgenus in honor of American ornithologist James Bond,” the authors write in the paper.

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