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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.

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

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Tuesday - May 12, 2009

From: Willow City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Who was Salvia clevelandii named for?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Where does the term "clevelandii (as in the Salvia I recently saw for the first time) originate?

ANSWER:

Theoretically, the specific epithet, clevelandii, could refer to a person (President Grover Cleveland, for example), a place (Cleveland, Ohio is one possibility), a thing (if there is a thing called a cleveland) or it could reference absolutely nothing that the species' author cared to reveal.  There are few rules for the creation of specific epithets beyond that they be in Latinized form and that they are in gender agreement with the associated genus name.

In the case of Salvia clevelandii, Cleveland sage, the author of the species chose to honor Daniel Cleveland, a nineteenth century lawyer, amateur botanist, plant collector and co-founder of the San Diego Society of Natural History.  Cleveland was especially noted as an expert on Southern California ferns.  He founded the San Diego Natural History Museum herbarium and also sent many Southwestern herbarium specimens to the Harvard University herbarium.

In addition to Salvia clevelandii, there are a number of other species named in his honor including: Cheilanthes clevelandii, Chorizanthe clevelandii, Cryptantha clevelandii, Dodecatheon clevelandii, Horkelia clevelandii, Malacothrix clevelandii, Mimulus clevelandii, Muilla clevelandii, Nicotiana clevelandii and Penstemon clevelandii.  Moreover, the monotypic Mexican genus, Clevelandia (now included in Castilleja) was also named in Mr. Cleveland's honor.  Clearly, he was a well-respected plantsman in his time.

 

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