Bush Tomato Named After Alice Springs Botanist


A team of American botanists has named a rare and mysterious bush tomato species after one of their Australian counterparts.

Solanum jobsonii is a novel bush tomato species found at Limmen National Park, 600km south east of Darwin, and is the first plant of any kind to be named after NT Herbarium senior botanist Peter Jobson.

“Finding, studying and naming this fascinating bush tomato is a wonderful example of collaborative research involving several government agencies and Bucknell University botanists,” Mr Jobson said.

“The project was chiefly funded by Bucknell University and involved an expedition team driving from Alice Springs to Limmen National Park to survey several sites and obtain samples of this rare and mysterious bush tomato for further analysis.

“Department of Tourism and Culture park rangers played a vital role in helping to locate the bush tomatoes with fruits that are about one to two centimetres in diameter and are perhaps eaten by local small marsupials.”

Bucknell University biology professor and expedition leader Chris Martine named the bush tomato Solanum jobsonii in honour of Mr Jobson’s role and local knowledge in successfully searching for and finding this rare plant

“Jobson is one of a handful of botanists employed by the Northern Territory Government who are tasked with stewarding a vastly diverse flora,” Prof Martine said.

“Not only are many species there of conservation concern, but unknown numbers of species are yet to be found and given names. Those scientists are doing yeoman’s work.”

Prof Martine and his colleagues have suggested that Solanum jobsonii be listed as “Vulnerable” as per the Red List Categories and Criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“There are rare and unusual species all over the world, just like this one, that deserve our appreciation and protection,” Prof Martine said.

“Luckily, many are already living within the boundaries of conservation areas like state and national parks in Australia, the US, and elsewhere.”

Mr Jobson joins current colleagues Ian Cowie and Kim Brennan from the Flora and Fauna Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who have also had plants named after them.

Go to https://phytokeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=12106 for more information about Solanum jobsonii.

Peter Jobson with S.jobsonii Pic Credit Prof Chris Martine

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