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Name a Boise Foothills Plant

Ongoing collaborative research between Boise State University and the College of Idaho has discovered that one of the more common species of plants in the Boise foothills is a currently undescribed species.  This plant is perhaps the most common early yellow-flowered plant in Military Reserve Park.  The research involves tracing the evolutionary history of species using DNA sequencing.  Essentially uncovering a “family tree” but on a much larger scale.  While building the tree for the plant genus Lomatium, or biscuit-roots, it has become clear that one of the branches is not as closely related to previously named species as thought and instead represents an entirely distinct lineage that lacks a name.  This work has been a collaboration between Dr. James Smith of the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University, Dr. Don Mansfield at College of Idaho and undergraduates working in both of their labs.

We are seeking a donor who would like to support this research and, in return, to have the opportunity to name this new species.  The donor will work directly with Drs. Smith and Mansfield to designate the new species name and to follow all nomenclatural rules (see terms below) to assign the name which will forever be assigned to this unique plant.

The name might be based on your loved one, the name of someone you want to honor, real or fictional, living or deceased, all with the proper Greek or Latin formulation. We do ask that names not be used in a negative context (see terms below).  The name will be in the genus Lomatium.  Examples of existing names in this genus are Lomatium basalticum, Lomatium cusickii, Lomatium simplex.  The naming opportunity would be for the word that follows Lomatium, called the specific epithet.

The auction closes at 5 pm (MDT) on 20 October 2017 and the highest bidders will be notified on 23 October 2017.

The highest bidder will also receive a framed certificate with the species name. To place a bid, please email with your name and bid amount and the name you are proposing.  The minimum bid is $10,000. 

The money raised from this auction will support the continuation of research on the relationships of the biscuit-roots in collaboration with students and researchers at the College of Idaho, University of Wisconsin-Madison, New York Botanical Garden, University of Illinois and the University of Washington.  The evolutionary relationships of biscuit-roots have been complicated to detect, and traditional methods such as looking at features of the flowers, fruits and leaves have not been sufficient to reveal relationships, or even where species boundaries exist.  As a result, using DNA sequence data is essential to advance knowledge in this group and is likely to continue to uncover un-named species in the future.

Terms and Conditions

  1. While retaining the essence of the name provided by the winning bidder, Drs. Smith and Mansfield retain the right to determine the exact form of the species name in consultation with the unforgiving rules of Botanical Nomenclature for formally naming and describing the species. Drs. Smith and Mansfield will work with the successful bidder to ensure that the final name is satisfactory.
  2. A bid can be made by emailing before the auction end date. Bidders must provide their full name and bid amount. Bids will be posted anonymously on this site and will be updated daily with greater frequency in the final days.
  3. The amount of the winning bid will be deemed a donation to the Boise State University Foundation and Boise State University Foundation will provide the winning bidder with a signed receipt for the donation.
  4. Payment should be made in US dollars within three working days after the auction close.
  5. Unless the winning bidders specifically informs Boise State University in writing (email to, the bidder’s name and contribution may be publicly recognized.
  6. The auction will be open from 15 September 2017 and close on 20 October at 5 pm (MDT).
  7. Boise State University reserves the right to extend the competition closing date, or to close the competition early at its own discretion. In such a case this information will be listed here.
  8. Boise State University reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions if necessary. In such a case a notification will be posted here. If any part of these terms or conditions is deemed to be unlawful, the remaining conditions shall remain in force.
  9. Personal details submitted by entrants will be used for the purpose of administering draw information. Personal information collected as part of this auction will be kept in strictest confidence and will not be shared with any third parties without the owner’s express permission.
  10. The naming opportunity cannot be used in a slanderous manner and must abide by the Boise State University Statement of Shared Values (
  11. This auction is being run by the Boise State University Advancement. Registered address: 1173 University Drive Boise, ID 83706 (MS-1030)