Botanists Name Fern After Lady Gaga

It's what every girl dreams of, really. When we're six years old, we sit on our tufted window seat (all great reveries involve window seats), gaze through the raindrops trickling down the glass panes and sigh, "one day, my prince will come…and I'll be so famous a fern will be named after me." Seriously, is there any higher honor in all the world?

Having stars named after you is for amateurs. Anyone can do that. But a fern? That stuff's real.

I wrote that romanticized introduction to tell you that botanists have named a fern after Lady Gaga.

Their explanation for this nonsense was 1) that this fern, like Lady Gaga, is gender-ambiguous or something and 2) it has a DNA sequence that spells out GAGA. So logically naming it after someone who got prosthetic horns on her cheeks was the next step in this process.

Not only am I surprised that botanists know who Lady Gaga is, but I am also concerned as to what this means for the scientific community and the rest of society.


  1. In the future, are botanists going to have to reference Lady Gaga in a lab somewhere, long after she is remotely relevant? "Um, yes, that's the rare Lady Gaga. It first appeared in 2012, marking the first signs of the rapid decline of any remaining integrity in the field of science, and has been thriving in the pot next to the Cee Lo ever since." [SIDE NOTE: Also already in the mix are Soulja Boy Tell 'Ems and Ludacrises, named by none other than Tom Haverford in Season 2 of Parks and Rec.]
  2. School children will be sitting in their hover-chairs watching a hologram and learning about these green things that used to grow (has no one seen Wall-E?) and be forced to ask who Lady Gaga was. Who wants to be the one to explain that?
  3. Was this a totally rash decision? Will these botanists be excommunicated from the rest of the botanical community due to the fact that they ventured too far into popular culture, playing to the least common denominator? OR will they be hailed as heroes for getting botany back in the news? (Really, it's been too long, am I right?)
  4. I feel like if you're going to name a plant after Lady Gaga it's got to be loud and colorful and oddly shaped. A fern? Really? Those sad-looking (because they hang down) plain old plants that hang on porches across suburbia? Ask one million people what their favorite plant is and you'll get a million answers. Almost certainly none of them will be "fern."
  5. If you want a plant to be awesome, throw caution to the wind and just name it Beyonce. That thing will survive. I guarantee at least 13 percent of 6th graders will change what they want to be when they grow up immediately. And maybe you could even cross-pollenate with a Jay-Z plant (which you'd have to add if you're going to do this) and create (wait for it...) BLUE IVY. HEYO! I should totally be a botanist. Or just a plant-namer.

So…like, what happens now? They just go on calling this plant Gaga or they say "jay kay jay kay you guys, that was good for the news story but let's go back to calling it oeaihfdsoahfoashguiasdfpjo [unintelligible]."

I suppose only time will tell. I for one am going to track down a botanist (because I know zero) in about six months and see if they still know what I'm talking about.

Who do you wish they would name a plant after?

P.S. Today is my husband's and my 2nd anniversary!! He is the best and I'm so glad I married him. Just had to let everyone know. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.