Botanists are getting competitive when it comes to naming plant species. Duke University has announced that a whole genus of ferns, with 19 known species, has been named after Lady Gaga. This, as the press release notes, beats the mere one carnivorous plant that Helen Mirren has named after her. In her defence though when Helen Mirren wakes up in the morning, she’s Helen Mirren – which is surely a pretty amazing feeling most days.
Seventeen of Lady Gaga’s new species will be re-classified old species from the genus Cheilanthes. The new genus is based on DNA analysis of the ferns that includes a distinctive GAGA sequence. There are also two new species. Gaga monstraparva is named after Lady Gaga’s fans, who she calls ‘little monsters’. Gaga germanotta in contrast is named after Lady Gaga herself as she was born Stefani Germanotta. Graduate Student Fay-Wei Li was delighted to discover this new species while on fieldwork in Costa Rica.
You can pick up the paper describing the ferns, Gaga, a New Fern Genus Segregated from Cheilanthes (Pteridaceae), from Systematic Botany.