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Aussie Experts Declare 'Dog Balls' Shrub Is A New Species

Aussie Experts Declare 'Dog Balls' Shrub Is A New Species

There are plenty of species around the world that have weird or funny names.

You can imagine the researcher coming across the fauna or flora for the first time and either being creative with the title or just calling it for what it is.

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You've got the Aha ha wasp in Australia, the Pharlapiscus sea horse (obviously named after the incredible Phar Lap), the Spongiforma squarepantsii mushroom in Malaysia or the Ba humbugi snail in Fiji.

This is the slippery dick fish found in the Atlantic Ocean. Credit: Kevin Bryant, DMD/Creative Commons
This is the slippery dick fish found in the Atlantic Ocean. Credit: Kevin Bryant, DMD/Creative Commons

Those are all the scientific names for these species, but there are some even better colloquial names for flora and fauna.

Few, however, will match the recently declared species of shrub found across Australia.

Introducing to you: the Dogs Balls shrub.

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It's not hard to see why they would be called these and that's exactly what the Europeans thought when they discovered it near the Endeavour River in far north Queensland.

Credit: Mark Marathon/Creative Commons
Credit: Mark Marathon/Creative Commons

Russell Barrett from Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens told the ABC: "Most people ask why is it called dog's balls until you show them a picture of the fruit. Then the penny drops.

"It's because the fruit generally has two seeds that are fused together side by side, covered in soft hairs, that hang down on a short stalk."

But Indigenous Australians have been aware of it far earlier than the settlers and had used it to treat dysentery and diarrhoea.

It's been in the botanist handbook for years, however it's only just recently been declared its own species. It was previously thought to belong to the Grewia retusifolia shrub that exists in Australia, Asia and Europe, however researchers have discovered the Dogs Balls isn't in that family anymore.

Credit: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Credit: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Russell says it'll now be called Grewia savannicola but thankfully it'll still be referred to it's more well-known name.

"We'll still call it dog's balls, there's no doubt about that," Professor Crayn said. "With a name like that, it's very hard to wipe it and its well-entrenched in north Queensland culture.

"But certainly, the scientists and the field guides and the scientific literature will adopt the new name, Grewia savannicola."

That's good to know that they're not going to try to modernise the term that's already embedded into the plant.

Featured Image Credit: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Topics: Community, Weird, Australia

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

 

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