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» 27.09.2010 - SA showcases African medicines at Shanghai Expo
» 04.11.2009 - GM potato gets roasting in South Africa
» 29.11.2006 - Anti-TB drug 'could reduce HIV/AIDS deaths'
» 10.11.2006 - Early hominids eradicated African competitor
» 08.09.2006 - SA finds new, worryingly virulent strain of TB
» 07.04.2006 - South African mole rats: Proudly lazy
» 10.11.2005 - Mbeki inaugurates giant African telescope
» 11.11.2004 - Coelacanths inspire science in South Africa

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South Africa
Science - Education | Environment - Nature

SA botany now has vuvuzelas

This newly discovered South Africa iris species is to carry the name "Moraea vuvuzela"

© John Manning/afrol News
afrol News, 9 July
- Wandering in the Worcester Valley east of Cape town, South Africa, you may accidentally step on a silent vuvuzela. In fact, the Moraea vuvuzela is a newly discovered and named iris flower.

A new species of the flowering iris family - very popular with gardeners all around the world - has been given the scientific name "Moraea vuvuzela". The plant was to be "devoted to the first football World Cup on the African continent," South African and German researchers decided.

The beautiful flower plant was recently discovered by environmentalist Anso Le Roux in the Worcester Valley in the South African province of Western Cape, near Cape Town. The plant was later scientifically described and taxonomically ordered by South African biologist John Manning (SANBI) and US biologist Peter Goldblatt.

And the scientists proved to have wider interests than flowering plants, being hooked on the 2010 World Cup like most other South Africans. Why not name the newly discovered iris after South Africa's most famous soccer fan utensil, and maybe even find some new funding for his institute, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Mr Manning asked himself.

Indeed, there exists a charitable institution in Germany - where else? - that helps scientists raise funds for their research by buying the right to name their new species, selling these rights to persons making a substantial donation.

BIOPAT, based in Eschborn, Germany, took up on Mr Manning's vuvuzela idea, contacting the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the country's main development agency. GTZ in turn agreed to make "a generous donation" to SANBI to be able to name the newly described plant.

"The official name certificate will be presented on Saturday 10 July in Johannesburg, South Africa, by South African Deputy Minister of Sport, Gert Oosthuizen," Claus Bätke from BIOPAT announced to afrol News today.

According to the German donors, SANBI is well worth the funding. "On behalf of the South African government, Cape Town-based SANBI conducts research in and protects the local biodiversity," in addition to many other important tasks, according to GTZ and BIOPAT.

But the football loving Germans were also animated by the proposed name choice. "GTZ together with SANBI has chosen the species name 'vuvuzela' to establish a durable memory of the first African football World Cup, and to honour the good South African-German cooperation during the preparation of this sports event," the development agency states.

And besides being the name of a popular - or an annoying - soccer fan utensil, vuvuzela also has a more symbolic meaning. "Vu-vuzela" actually is a Zulu word, meaning to "rise up" or "go ahead" - a symbol of contemporary South Africa.

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