New Plant Species Named after Catawba College Dean Jay Bolin

Hydnora are native to Africa and the Arabian peninsula and do not look like typical plants. Previously, only eight species were known to science since first being described in 1775. Now, after reviewing scientific literature and specimens, scientists say there are at least 10 species.

Dr. Jay Bolin, Catawba College’s Dean of Natural Sciences and Associate Professor of Biology, co-authored a monograph about the plants. Unbeknownst to him, his colleagues and co-authors named one of the new species of Hydnora after him – the Hydnora bolinii which is found in Ethiopia and Somalia. It differs from other species in the shape of its fleshy petals. The study also redefined two other plants as distinct species.

 Hydnora plants are largely unseen throughout the year, growing on the root structure of a host species. However, when there is heavy rain, a fleshy flower partially emerges from the soil and creates a spherical shape with an opening that produces a putrid odor. The smell attracts pollinating beetles.

For more information you can read the scientific study at in pre-print form. It will be published in the journal Kew Bulletin.

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