These Caribbean plants were named after James Bond

A Jamesbondia plant. (Taylor & Francis)

A Jamesbondia plant. (Taylor & Francis)

Scientists have christened a subgenus of plants with a killer name: Jamesbondia.

If the word calls to mind the British spy, it’s no coincidence. The four plants in this subgenus take their name from a man named James Bond, but he was an ornithologist, not a secret agent.

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Bond, who died in 1989, was an accomplished ornithologist who wrote a field guide called Birds of the West Indies. In turn, Ian Fleming, who vacationed and wrote in Jamaica, named his spy after the real-life birdwatcher.

Bond the birdwatcher’s work focused on the same region where the plants in this subgenus live— that’s why it takes the Bond name. In fact, a scientist named J.M. Mears first used the name Jamesbondia back in the early 80s, but it was in unpublished work.

Fleming once explained that he liked the name James Bond because it was “brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine” in a letter to Bond’s wife.

The scientists behind the official naming of the subgenus have published their results in the journal Plant Biosystems. The plants live in the Caribbean and Central America, and it’s unclear if they enjoy their martinis shaken or stirred.  

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They are not the first species to be named after a fictional cinematic character: scientists recently named a beetle from Papua New Guinea after the Star Wars character Chewbacca.