En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Dictionary of botanical names
September 02, 2011 - I am looking for an online resource that will tell me what the botanical names mean, for example, Cornus florida. Why is it named that? Surely somewhere there is information that explains the meanin...
view the full question and answer

Native vs Non-native Insect Host Plants
March 14, 2013 - My understanding of a host plant is that it is a plant that an insect will lay its eggs on. Is this correct? If this is so then can a cultivar be a host plant for the same insect? I have read Mr. Doug...
view the full question and answer

Strange form of Dasylirion sp. (sotol)
December 27, 2008 - Mr. Smarty: I have a client with a huge (2 ft. diameter trunk), multi-headed dasylirion. On one or more of the heads, the leaves arch inward instead of outward. Someone said this is because of an inju...
view the full question and answer

Plants named for Thomas Drummond
February 09, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Please send list of plants discovered and named for Thomas Drummond.
view the full question and answer

Simple flowers vs. compound flowers
August 23, 2008 - Please, give the characteristics of a "simple flower" as distinct from a compound flower which has rays and "disk flowers". What type of flower is the flower of a chive,which seems to be composed...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center