The Martian Wikia

Solanum Watneyi 1.jpg

Here's a link to the original article:

One element of being a botanist is that sometimes, you get to engage in the discovery and naming of new

plant species. Dr Chris Martine of the research group at Bucknell University discovered a new species of “bush tomato” that he collected with his family sometime in 2015 in the Northern Territory, Australia.

His lab group has decided to name this new species Solanum watneyi after Mark Watney, the book/film character who showed everyone that botanists can be cool, too. (2).gif

The plant that Watney manages to grow on Mars is none other than Solanum tuberosum (the potato), a member of the same genus as their new species, Solanum watneyi. And coincidentally, the new species also grows in reddish (dare I say, “Mars-like”) soil in its native habitat.

Solanum Watney 2.jpg


Upon the naming of this new tomato, Martine and The Botanical Society of America (BSA) also invited Matt Damon to become an honorary member of the BSA and to join the #IAmABotanist hashtag campaign. The #iamabotanist social media effort has seen thousands of botanists post images of themselves as evidence that botany is far more diverse and dynamic than many people imagine.