I neglected to write down the name of this rose cultivar from the All-America Rose Selection display at Shore Acres State Park, so I suppose it will have to remain anonymous.
The idea behind today’s entry for the “biodiversity and sports” series is thanks to Ron Long, who suggested sporting events and team names. I followed up with this and researched it for my presentation earlier this week, so here’s what I discovered.
For major sporting events, there seem to be two types occasionally named after plants: thoroughbred horse races and US college football bowl games. Today’s photograph is in reference to the latter, the Rose Bowl of Pasadena, California. My observation with college football bowl games (when named after plants) is that they tend to be a plant of significance to the local area. I’m not certain of Pasadena’s connection to roses (though they certainly grow well there, and there is an excellent rosary in nearby Huntington Botanical Gardens), but other bowl games are more obvious: the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida; the Cotton Bowl in Arlington (as of 2010), Texas; and the Poinsettia Bowl of San Diego, California (San Diego is the “home of the poinsettia”).
Thoroughbred horse races seem also to be named after plants significant to the region, though I think a few might be named after the locale. A few that I found were the Blue Grass Stakes of Lexington, Kentucky; the Apple Blossom Handicap of Hot Springs, Arkansas; the American Oaks Invitational Stakes of Inglewood, California; and the Acorn Stakes of Elmont, New York. I think my list is far from exhaustive, though.
As for team names, one stands out in professional sports. Love them or hate them, the Toronto Maple Leafs represent one of the few professional franchises to be named after plants (and I looked at hockey, football, soccer, baseball, rugby, cricket…). So I suppose I should grudgingly give them a little respect for that tidbit (though it is an obvious use of a national symbol).
I was able to locate six other franchises / college teams with plant-related names. The first three are: the Portland Timbers (though their logo is an axe superimposed on a tree…), the University of Arkansas at Monticello Cotton Blossoms (the female athletic team; the male team is the Boll Weevils), and the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings (similar to the Timbers, more to do with harvesting plants than celebrating the plant itself.
One of my favourites to discover was the Chaminade University Silverswords, named after a group of Hawaiian endemic species exemplifying “evolution in action” (adaptive radiation). Unfortunately, while the athletics department uses the plant in its logo, the official university seal uses only the more mundane metallic weapon.
Another team name that intrigued me was Mito HollyHock, a football club (soccer) in the Japan Professional Football League, Division 2. Of particular interest is that the plant species depicted on the team’s logo (which incorporates the family crest of the Tokugawa clan) is definitely not a hollyhock (Althaea sp.). Instead, it is an Asarum, or ginger. To read more about this quirk, visit Tsukublog: The Mito Hollyhock Soccer Team Incorrectly Named!.
Lastly, the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes, named after a plant because students were upset with the college administration and decided to show their displeasure by voting for Artichokes as the team name (the other choices were the Rutabagas and the Scoundrels). Read the whole story here: Why the Artichoke?.
I invite anyone who can think of additional team names or sporting event names named after plants to add them via the comments — might be intriguing to make a semi-definitive list.