Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - August 07, 2007

From: Fair Lawn, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: General Botany, Non-Natives
Title: Correct spelling of Passiflora caerulea
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

What is correct, passiflora coerulea or caerulea ?

ANSWER:

The correct scientific name is Passiflora caerulea L. The "L." at the end of the botanical name stands for Linnaeus, the 18th Century Swedish botanist who is widely considered the father of modern taxonomy. He published this species in his seminal work, Species Plantarum in 1753. This two-volume book is considered so important to plant taxonomy, that its publishing date is designated as the starting point for all validly published plant names.

The specific epithets, "caerulea" and "coerulea" are often confused. Both words are commonly applied to blue-flowered species. Carl von Linne (Linnaeus) published the name spelled with an "a." Compare that to the name, Aquilegia coerulea James, published by Edwin P. James in 1823. There is great confusion about this name, because herbarium specimens created by the author (James) have the specific epithet spelled "coerulea" on specimens held in some herbaria and "caerulea" in others. However, only one herbarium specimen is considered the "type" specimen for that species. That specimen assigns the name Aquilegia coerulea.

Passiflora caerulea, Blue Crown Passionflower is a native of Peru and Brazil, early introduced by the natives to Spanish soldiers and taken by them back to Spain, where it was used for medicinal purposes.

 

More General Botany Questions

Native plants of Arizona from Chandler AZ
March 26, 2012 - What are some native plants of Arizona, and how do survive in the heat?
view the full question and answer

North American plant that inhibits mold and mildew growth
October 06, 2008 - Hi! There, I just wanted to know is there a north American plant that inhibits or eradicates mold and mildew growth, in the home. Also do they make a CFL (the new energy efficient spiral) type light b...
view the full question and answer

Water-saving strategies of drought-tolerant plants
April 04, 2014 - Although "drought tolerant" plants are fairly well documented, it's clear that many different strategies are responsible, such as a huge root system (like Mesquite). I'm interested in learning the...
view the full question and answer

Phytoremediation Plant List for St. Louis MO
April 19, 2012 - My goal is to transform urban blight plots (some up to 1/4 acre) into viable community gardens having healthy, living soil as their foundation. To this end I am researching phytoremediation (thanks...
view the full question and answer

Native plant initiatives for universities in Southeast U.S.
April 26, 2005 - Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in botany at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. I am a native plant enthusiast and would like to promote n.p.'s on campus. Do you kn...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.