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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0206 • Christian Gottlieb Ludwig to Carl Linnaeus, 14 August 1737 n.s.
Dated XIV Augusti 1737, 7. Septembris 1737. Sent from Leipzig (Germany) to (). Written in Latin.

VIRO EXCELLENTISSIMO, EXPERIENTISSIMO, DOCTISSIMO,
D[o]m[ino] Carolo Linnaeo,
Medicinae Doctori Celeberrimo,
Academiae Naturae Curiosorum[1]
Socio Dignissimo,
Botanico Consummatissimo,
S[alutem] d[icit] pl[urimam]
Christianus Gottlieb Ludwig,
Phil[osophiae] et Med[icinae] Doct[or].

Cum multi eximiam Tuam scientiam et labores insignes, quibus in omni historiae naturalis studio et imprimis in re botanica excellis, mirentur, ego, qui benevolentiam Tuam atque favorem plus simplici vice expertus fui, multo magis de Tuo in hisce studiis perficiendis fervore persuasus sum. Sciunt amici qui meos in re botanica labores expetunt, quanti Tuas doctrinas Tuaque dicta aestimem. Publicum etiam hujus venerationis exstare debuisset testimonium[a][a] : MS1 [added above the line] , nisi debilitas virium et arctis limitibus circumscripta cognitio meis conatibus sese opposuissent. Facilis, exacta tamen Botanices cognitio mihi curae cordique est. Desiderant eandem botanophili. Omnia igitur arripio quae studio perfectionem promittunt. Omnis vero Botanices perfectio in cognitione certa et facili consistit. Me vero Tuis imprimis insigniter delectatum fuisse ex fervore cognosces, quo disquisitionem Tuae methodi[2] suscepi, quam ex ipsis naturae penetralibus haustam esse sensi.

Vegetabilium cognitio ejus sane indolis est, ut tot objectorum varietate ingenii vim exerceat et nos moneat, ne immaginationi [sic] nimium indulgentes falsas et nobis tantum possibiles ideas mente concipiamus. Probant asserti veritatem tot summorum virorum errores, qui certa nobis promittentes ambigua et falsa exhibent. Injurius essem in tot tantosque viros, si haec prolixius enarrare et exemplis illustrare vellem, cum probe intelligam in tam amplo et varietatibus repleto campo errorem facilius ab aliis detegi, quam ab inventore evitari posse. In emendatione studii requiritur exactior totius consideratio. Cum vero ad multa attenti esse cogamur, nobis invitis varia negligimus et in errores deducimur. Quis divino ingenio est praeditus, ut tam diversos conceptus ad summa capita[b][b] : MS1 <[illegible]>
capita
reducere queat? Anomaliae quae[c][c] : MS1 [read] quas natura ipsa format non semper legibus methodi coerceri possunt.

Praeterita aestate examen methodi Tuae, quantum scilicet pro virium tenuitate fieri potuit, suscepi[d][d] : MS1 <in me> suscepi . Nisi de animi Tui candore certus essem, nisi tot objectiones alias a me formatas benigne exceptas et eruditione Tua solida dispulsas vidissem, novas excogitare et Tibi tradere minime auderem. Sed ad ea provoco, quae Tu ipse[e][e] : MS1 <ipsae> ipse in litteris olim ad me datis profers: Homines creati sumus, ut dissentiamus, quo dissensu tandem veritas elucescat. Vivimus Botanici in republica libera. Cuique ratum est statuere quod ipsi placeat dicere, quid sentiat. Solus dies nos judicabit.[3] Hac sentiendi libertate confisus ea, quae circa methodum Tuam minus certa mihi visa sunt, tecum communicare haud dubitavi.

Respicio ante omnia ad delineationem methodi Tuae generalem, cum e re esse arbitrer summorum generum[4] examen praemittere, antequam ad ea progrediar quae circa specialem tractationem monenda habeo.[f][f] : MS1 <[illegible]>
habeo

Genera summa sunt conceptus quidem universales adfectionum plantarum ex signis pluribus plantis communibus formati. Licet enim tot vegetabilium millia inveniantur, tamen signum quoddam omnibus commune erit, quo idea plantae determinatur. Novos vero conceptus mihi formo, si possibile duos, sibi exacte oppositos, quo omnes plantas iterum in ordines summos distinguere possim. Ulterius progredior dividendo semper agmina in duos conceptus exacte sibi contrarios, quo quod de uno agmine praedico de altero non praedicari possit. Et sic genera summa tria vel quatuor sibi subalterna formo. Duos conceptus exacte sibi oppositos semper meliores existimo, licet non negare possim nos ad numerum partium quarundam in planta respicientes vel varios compositionis modos determinantes conceptus illos pro numerorum differentia augere[g][g] : MS1 <augeri> augere posse, si cognitionis difficultatem non afferant. Haec sunt fundamenta methodi. Hisce expensis de generibus mediis et inferioribus[5] facilius constabit. Fuit haec cura omnium qui methodum formarunt. An vero generum determinatio in omnibus recte successerit, examinandum est.

Conceptus genera illa summa explicantes sint distincti[h][h] : MS1 <[illegible]>
distincti
, quo ab omnibus cognosci et aliis iterum communicari queant semper in plantae perfectione praesentes et facile obvii. Taediosum enim est repetere signa olim observata, nunc vero absentia; certi et immutabiles, scilicet tales, quos vegetationis differentia in speciebus mutare nequit. Reliqua, quae de perfectionibus summorum generum dicenda essent, brevitatis caussa omitto.

Omnes plantae flore gaudent. In quibusdam visibilis est. In aliis oculis vix obvius deprehenditur. Duo sunt conceptus exacte sibi invicem oppositi. An vero sine fallacia limites poni possint, quam maxime[i][i] : MS1 <de hoc adhuc> quam
maxime [added above the line]
dubito. Nunc non disquiram, an hoc, quod oculis non est obvium, inter signa referri possit. Conceptus negativus hic inevitabilis est. Ille tamen indicat ex alia parte signa desumenda esse. Scis vero differentiam visus. Multa mihi visibilia sunt quae alteri non aeque et vice versa. Si microscopiorum ope florem detego qui antea non cognitus erat, tunc determinatio generis summi dependet a microscopio. Tu ipse multas plantas inter cryptogamias retulisti, et tamen floris descriptionem dedisti. Ergo ipse asseris te vidisse flores non visibiles. Cum vero in omnibus requiramus characteres facile cognoscendos et distinctivos, in generibus summis potissimum iisdem carere non possumus.

Distinctionem postea sumis a sexu dicisque flores vel hermaphroditos esse vel foemininos et masculinos separatos. Non is ego sum, qui sexum plantarum temere negare velim. Diversitas partium generationis in animalibus sexus diversitatem involvit.[j][j] : MS1 involvit <in animalibus
sexus differentiam involvit>
Similem diversitatem in plantis invenio. Nihil igitur obstat, quin simili modo loquendi rem exprimam. Provocant nonnulli ad modi demonstrationem, qui vero extra hypotheses firmam [distinctionem] quandam[k][k] : MS1 <quadam> quandam in animalibus dedit et hypothesibus fundatam etiam in regno vegetabili habemus.

Sed nunc quaestio est, an sexus differentia constituendis in methodo generibus summis inserviat. Si natura semper eadem maneret in omnibus uti in plurimis, tunc illam differentiam facile concederem. Ex ipsis enim naturae penetralibus hausta est. Cum vero species generum ratione sexus saepius diversae sint, genera summa a sexu desumpta vix concedere possum. Lapatha et Acetosas,[l][l] : MS1 [read] Acetosae quas tu sub Rumice complecteris, non tantum flores hermaphroditos producunt, sed et ad monoecias, dioecias imo polygamias referre possum. Cum ab Amaranthis distinxeris Achyrantes et Celosiam, cur non idem praestitisti in Rumice? Sed et video te in Corispermi speciebus Spina cervina, quam cum Rhamno conjungis, Lauri et Lychnidum speciebus et in variis aliis differentiam hanc non considerasse.

Postmodum etiam dubium est, an mares apponantur hermaphroditis, e.g. in Caucalide. In ulmo, ubi saepius ovaria non perficiuntur, exemplum ipse exhibes in acere, ubi ovaria morbosa esse non sine fundamento credis. Non vero levioris momenti est illud dubium. Inter nostrates plantas multa proferre possem exempla. Quid tandem de exoticis dicendum est, quae ovaria imperfecta sive abortiva saepius ostendunt? In omnibus his dubium manet genus summum. Cum Clutiam marem examinasti, stamina stylo affixa deprehendisti, et ita non sine omni ratione ovarium abortiens dixisti. Sed alia est planta foemina in nostris hortis florens, quae in simili flore ovarium subrotundum tribus tubis bifidis instructum tenet et fructum observante etiam BoerhaavioBoerhaave, Herman (1668-1738).
Dutch. Professor of medicine, botany and
chemistry at Leiden. One of the most
influential professors of medicine of
the eighteenth century. Linnaeus visited
him during his stay in Holland.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
ad Ricinum accedentem producit. Facili negotio error nunc potest corrigi. Interim fallacia disquisitionis non omnimodo est evitanda in primo etiam conceptu.

Cum igitur plantae toto habitu convenientes a Te ipso non distinctae genere summo differant, cum et status morbosus saepissime genera summa mutet, minus certa et determinata eadem pronuncio.

Videamus explicationis ulterioris gratia Tetragonocarpum Boerh[avii],[6] Tetragoniam Tuam. In spicis gerit flores. Superiores mares esse videntur sine ovario, cum tamen figuram habeant florum hermafroditorum inferius in spica positorum. Dubius haereo, an defectus nutritionis in superioribus floribus, an alia caussa ovarii perfectionem impediens, an vero essentia plantae flores mares requirentis causa sit.

Ad defectum nutritionis non sine ratione provocare licet. Sint e.g. flores in umbella, in spica, in thyrso, in muscario dense dispositi. Vis succi imprimis medullosi per caulem adscendentis expandit et perficit partes, ita et ovaria. Cum vero flores plures sint, non sufficit succus omnibus perficiendis. At dicit quis: “Ovaria tantum imperfecta relinquuntur reliquis partibus rite expansis”. Vis in centralibus fibris mota ovariis perfectionem exhibet, ut ex anatome fructuum patet. Motus vero in peripheria facilior est ob transpirationem in petalis et calicibus majorem. Ergo defectus succi tantum in media parte percipitur.

Sufficiant haec de sexu plantarum tanquam distinctionis fundamento. Examinemus etiam cohaesionem staminum. Cohaerent vel filamentis vel antheris. In priori casu flores malvacei, qui monadelphiarum classem constituunt, satis certum exhibent conceptum. Diadelphiae vero plantae, quorsum papilionacei flores et quidam papilionaceis similes pertinent, dubium relinquunt conceptum, quia saepius et decimum stamen adeo est accretum, ut vaginam formet. Disquisitio ad minimum difficilis erit, nisi jam ex corollae charactere ad praesentiam similium staminum concluditur. Polyadelphia[e][e] : MS1 <ipsae> ipse perpauca[e][e] : MS1 <ipsae> ipse [m][m] : MS1 [orthography according to
Ludwig’s Obs. meth. pl. sex.
Linnaei
]
sunt in methodo. Quid si plura adderem? Hoc quidem concedo, quod talia stamina, qualia in Hypperico et congeneribus invenio, non facile inveniantur in reliquis. Attamen varia erunt, quae conceptui tuo conveniunt. Oxys flore luteo stamina in unum corpus coalita habet ita, ut quinque longiora, quinque breviora inveniantur. Delphinia[n][n] : MS1 <Delphiniam> Delphinia et Aquilegiae, Aconita et aliae plantae multa stamina cohaerentia habent ita, ut Boerhaavius de his asserat, quod filamenta in membranam sericeam concrescant. Sed objicis hunc statum esse morbosum. Concedo lubenter. Illud tamen affirmo, quod ea, quae status morbosus frequenter mutare possit, genera summa constituere nequeat, cum difficilis sit dijudicatio status morbosi et sani.

Accedo ad ea stamina quae antheris cohaerent. Flores Compositos (syngenesia polygamia) antheras cylindraceas habere ambabus concedo manibus. Sed hic urgeo cognitionem summi generis difficilem esse, nisi ab analogia cognitorum assumam, id quod durum mihi videtur. Syngenesia vero monogamia quatuor sunt genera. Si adhuc adderem plura, e.g. Borraginoidem Boerhavii, Solani quasdam species et alia, tunc generis illius summi fallaciam cognosces. Satis enim persuasus sum in omnibus hisce antheras membranaceas oris pilosis connivere, uti carina dipetala in multis papilionaceis satis arcte connexa est.

Diversitas situs staminum egregia est in quibusdam petalis. In aliis calici, in aliis placentae seu receptaculo adhaerent. Tu ad cohaesionem staminum cum stylo tantum attentus fuisti. In orchidibus et congeneribus dubius adhuc sum, an stylum appellare debeam, an tuberculum sexti petali vel nectarii. Post illud enim locus relinquitur pulveri prolifico longe[o][o] : MS1 [added above the line] commodior[p][p] : MS1 commodior <sane> quam in ipsa summitate tuberculi. De Passiflora[7] sive Granadilla moneo, quod stamina sint ad basin germinis. Illud vero corpus, quod germini insistit, dicitur stylus. Ergo non stylo adhaerent sed receptaculo columnari ovarii. Valet hoc etiam de Grevia, quae est Guidonia Boerhavii, cujus icon habetur in horto Amstelodamensi.

De Proportione staminum inter se pauca moneo. Dantur quinque casus possibiles proportionis staminum.

1. Quae exacte aequalia sunt.

2. Quae alternatim longiora et breviora sunt, e.g. quinque breviora interposita quinque longioribus.

3. Duo breviora, duo longiora ut in didynamiis.

4. Quatuor longiora, duo breviora ut in tetradynamiis.

5. Quae nullam servant proportionem.

Casum 3 et 4 distinguis, quia in aliis methodis jam jam monopetalae verticillatae et tetrapetalae siliquosae distinguuntur. Cur vero 1, 2 et 5 sub uno conceptu conjungis? Si proportio staminum certa praebet signa, in omnibus, ut praebeat, necesse est. Alias pro charactere distinctivo in summis generibus assumi nequit.

Quae reliqua methodi tuae capita attinet, illa jam superius quodammodo sunt monita. Nec de numero staminum multa verba faciam, cum ea omnia adducenda essent, quae RivinoRivinus, August Quirinus
(1652-1723). German. Professor of
medicine and botany at Leipzig.
Constructed a plant classification
system based on petals.
de numero petalorum in tetrapetalis, pentapetalis, hexapetalis et polypetalis [q][q] : MS1 [added above the line] regularibus imprimis[q][q] : MS1 [added above the line] fuerunt objecta. Thesin enim f[undamentorum] B[otanicorum] 182, ubi stamina et calices luxuriationibus minus obnoxia[r][r] : MS1 obnoxia <esse> et petalis longe certiora existimas, vix concedere vellem, nisi flores plenos excipiam. Icosandria ad numerum staminum determinasti. Re vera tamen ad situm staminum respicis. Petala in his certiora sunt omnino quam stamina, nec laborem requirunt in numerando taediosum.

Unica adhuc superest quaestio de generibus mediis, ubi assumis divisionem stylorum et stigmatum. Nonne in quibusdam ambigua est illa divisio? Columnula super germen erecta Tibi dicitur stylus et summitas ejusdem appellatur stigma. Licet illud vel divisum sit vel integrum, tamen planta dicitur monogynia. Si vero inquiro, an vagina in his unica tantum sit, tum divisionem quamlibet vaginae vicem habere deprehendo. Sed cuilibet licitum est sensum terminorum suorum determinare. Ergo nihil amplius urgeo. Quaeritur autem, an in omnibus idem judicium esse possit vel an contradicentes habituri simus ob fallaciam cognitionis. Acer Tibi est planta monogynia, cum mihi digynia videatur. In omnibus illis, ubi stylus brevissimus et stigmata longiora sunt, dubia semper res manet.

Objectiones meae ita sunt comparatae, ut nullas anomalias admittam, quae tamen inevitabiles sunt. Si tales objectiones formantur, nulla methodus erit approbanda, et Riviniana, quae inculta adhuc est, nunquam stare poterit. Interim mei causa maximam partem haec conscripsi, quo omnia ponderem, quae unquam methodo Tuae contraria esse possunt. Ignoscas licentiae opponentis et permittas, ut porro examinem numerum, situm, figuram et proportionem partium floris.

Varietates numeri non raro dependent a succo nutriteo superfluo vel deficiente, a morsu insecti vel ab alia causa leviori plantae morbosae. Hae circumstantiae minime infringunt methodum quamlibet numero partium superstructam. Exempla afferre taediosum judico. Alia vero est varietas numeri, quae in speciebus semper firma manet, cujus exempla non pauca dedisti.[8] Cum semper habitum plantae in auxilium sumam pro facilitanda cognitione, non facile contradixerim. Sed contradicunt alii, qui eo ipso definitionem definito non respondere existimant. Alsines tetrapetalas pentapetalis junxi, cum differentia earum minime determinari possit; interim multos invenio contradicentes. De Sedo idem valet judicium. Cui et Sempervivum et Anacampseros et plura alia junxi, quia differentia a partibus floris desumpta non constans est. Quantum ego ex Tuis colligo, dubius saepius es, an nonnullas[s][s] : MS1 <mult> nonnullas plantas pro varietate generica assumere an novum genus constituere debeas.

De situ omnium partium fructificationis in genere non loquor; nimis prolixa esset illa tractatio. Exhibuisti ideam generalem in F[undamentis] B[otanicis] 97. Quae circa specialiora monenda habeam, exemplo staminum agnosces. Sita sunt stamina vel in fundo calicis circa ovarium vel corpori crasso sive placentae ovarium sustinenti a latere adhaerent vel in margine calicis alternatim cum petalis vel ad ungues petalorum vel tandem in stylo. Ultimam differentiam generis summi esse inquis. Praecedentes vero in specialiori[t][t] : MS1 <generis> specialiori generum determinatione addis. Non repeto, quae superius de gynandriis dixi. Hoc tantum addo, quod specialior determinatio situs staminum non parum[u][u] : MS1 <multum> parum certitudinis attulisset, e.g. in Croco stamina ad lacinias tres interiores sita sunt. In Veronica ad laciniam majorem minori oppositam collocantur.

Situm partium in planta ratione calicis, imprimis staminum, maximi facio. Certum enim esse nec facile variari constat, facileque concesserim genera subalterna exinde fieri posse. In monopetalis quidem, quae tamen prolixam constituunt familiam, differentia parum juvat, quia in illis tubo vel margini inferiori corollae stamina sunt inserta ita, ut VaillantiusVaillant, Sébastien
(1669-1722). French. Botanist and
surgeon. Professor at the Jardin des
plantes. His theory on plant sexuality
influenced Linnaeus who regarded
Vaillant as one of the most important
botanists.
(teste BlairioBlair, Patrick (c.1666-1728).
British. Botanist from Dundee, known for
his new views regarding the sexual
characters of flowering plants.
, Bot[anick] ess[ays], p. 34)[9] dicat Florem in casu dubio monopetalum esse censendum, si accrescant stamina corollae, sin minus, polypetalum. In polypetalis vero differentia est egregia, ut ipse saepius demonstrasti.

Sed quid de proportione partium plantae dicam? Cum de longitudine judicium ferat et illa omni die mutetur, illam in descriptionibus vix concesserim. Idem valet de figura partium imprimis in antheris, quae ante pulveris dejectionem aliter se habeat quam post ejus secessum. In utroque casu regeris florem perfectum examini esse subjiciendum. Quinam vero flos in hoc sensu est perfectus, qui antheras humidas adhuc tenet vel qui pulverulentas habet? Petala et calices saepius jam sunt mutata eo tempore, quo pistilla et stamina nullas mutationes subierunt. Duplex vero examen proportionem fallacem efficere potest, quia eandem ex situ omnium partium simul considerato deducere cogor.

Haec sunt levidensia illa dubia quae contra methodum tuam formare volui. Non rejicias exiles meos conatus. Qui [non] convinci cupit, omnia etiam minima perpendit obstacula. Taediosum enim est et debilis ingenii judicium inconsiderate assumere aliorum dicta et postmodum leviori de causa rejicere.

O, si unquam illa facilitate frui possem tecum sermones miscendi, non dubito omnia haecce dubia in una hora dispelli posse. Refutationem litteris conceptam vix unquam sperare possum, cum Te negotia graviora detineant. Sufficit, si quaedam momenta temporis illis perlegendis tribuis.

Permittas, ut de nominibus adhuc pauca in medium proferam. Termini sunt voces notionem quandam significantes. Ergo terminorum significatus dependet ab illis qui primum determinarunt. Si Tironi exhibeo plantam vel aliam non praesentem describo et dico Nymphaeam appellari rationesque in charactere sitas addo, tunc ille ideam distinctam cum termino conjungit, quam alio communicare valet. Ex his concludo terminorum Determinationem, uti generum, dependere a Botanico. Ergo arbitrarium est quemnam terminum[v][v] : MS1 <[illegible]>
terminum
eligam, si modo ideam determinatam et distinctam cum ipso conjungam. Si corpora mundana omnia novis nominibus insignire vellem et tantum ideas rite determinarem, quis mihi objicere posset me terminis non satis explicatis uti?

Recordor nunc eorum, quae Ebraei dixerunt, Adamum nomina imposuisse ex essentia rei. Si possibilitas talia nomina inveniendi pateret, tunc omnia mutarem. Sed cum talia inveniri nequeant, de majori determinatione incertorum solliciti simus. Accepta tua Critica Botanica quam proxime spero rationes dubitandi circa quosdam paragraphos cap[ituli] VII in F[undamentis] B[otanicis] proponam illasque vel publice exponam vel privatim tecum communicabo.

Authoritati majorum contradicere fas est, si absona inveniamus eorum nomina. Cum vero arbitraria sint, absona et absurda non dicere possum exceptis paucis, quae dissona inveniuntur. In Programmate meo C. Bauh[inum]Bauhin, Caspar (1560-1624).
Swiss. Botanist and physician, Basle.
Bauhin’s Prodromus and Pinax
theatri botanici
(1620, 1623, 1671)
were important works in the field of
botanical nomenclature.
et Tornef[ortium]Tournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
ratione generum optimos fuisse restauratores dixi.[10] Nihil prohibet, quominus etiam in nominibus eadem asseram.[11] Habent multa adhuc incongrua. Emendemus illa; non plane innutemus.

Si hac via incedimus, labores restauratorum Botanices nobis adhuc proficui esse possunt. Perdidimus jam jam veterem Botanicam et non nisi vaga illa nomina agnoscimus. Cur recentiora adhuc immutare suscipimus tanto impetu? Cum aliorum nomina arbitraria rejicimus[w][w] : MS1 <tanto impetu> rejicimus , nostra non minus arbitraria introducimus[x][x] : MS1 <introduc> introducimus Quaenam mutatio? Si essentialia invenire possemus, tunc omnia concederem, si etiam nullum antiquum nomen maneret.

Et, quaeso, quid de officinalibus tandem dicendum erit? Accedunt Amici expetuntque fundamenta botanices, quo cognitio vegetabilium in materia medica certior evadat. Si nomina antiqua relinquo, nullum usum in materia medica vegetabili illis promittere possum. Si et recentiora et antiquiora simul conservo, synonimorum multitudo taedium creat. Relinquunt studium et sine fundamentis historiae naturalis aggrediuntur simplicium cognitionem innumerasque inveniunt difficultates.

In Historiae vegetabilium studio memoriae semper est sucurrendum. Nullam igitur invenire rationem [possum], cur non appositione termini cujusdam significantis cognitionem facilitare debeam. Borrago mihi cognita est Invenio plantam aliam cum illa convenientem. Dubius sum, an ob characteris differentiam genus summum non immutantem aliud nomen imponere debeam. Dico igitur Borraginoidem, cum nullae plantae similior sit quam Borragini. Hoc valet de omnibus nominibus similibus. Posset quis objicere similitudinem soni incommodum parere. Sed hic respondeo similes sonos tantum in generibus illis valere posse, quae convenientiam quandam inter se habent; in aliis non aeque. Si Tournefortius Menyanthes dixisset Trifolioides aut Trifolianella aut s[imilia] pl[ura], tunc me haberet contradicentem.

Nomina composita mihi non prorsus displicent. In illo tamen casu, ubi dissona et sesquipedalia[12] evadunt, tunc illa rejicis, quia tunc non tanta possunt esse memoriae adminicula. Ipsa enim pronuntiatio nobis displicet.

Nomina barbara non rejicerem. Si plantas a barbaris recipimus, cur non eorum nomina? Arabica barbara sunt, cum tamen Arabica lingua certo respectu erudita medicorum lingua dici potest. Alkali non rejicimus in medicina, cur Alkekengi in Botanica? Semper persuasus sum nomina botanicorum aeque barbara esse ac illa, si ad principia logica disquiramus. Stisseria, Meibomia[y][y] : MS1 <Meomia> Meibomia , Gakenia non aliam ideam in me excitant, ac si dixerim Kurka, Katuschena, Nagavalli ex horto Malabarico.[13]

Si Botanicus per scripta cognitus est, tum memoria ejus non indiget denominatione plantae. Linnaeum et posteri cognoscerent et merita ejus laboresque grato agnoscerent animo, si ipse GronoviusGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeus’s benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
nunquam de genere Linnaeae cogitasset. Ea res mihi videtur, quae olim cum Astronomis acta fuit. Attolebantur illi in coelum. Nunc deducuntur Botanici in prata, et vereor, ne denominationes illae mutentur pro varietate mutationis consuetudinum.

Refrenandus nunc est furor ille scribendi, qui non[z][z] : MS1 <nec> non satis meditata stylo rudiori digessit ita, ut nec verborum elegantia, nec rerum utilitas Te allicere possint. Concedas illud Temeritati scribentis, qui non inter multa sed inter varia negotia (mox practica, mox anatomica, mox Botanica) judicia non satis elaborata et meditationes incomptas producit. Tempora meliora dabunt.No entry found for note [aa] in L0206.

Vale interim, Fautor eximie, et conatibus meis fave!

Dabam Lipsiae d[ie] XIV Augusti 1737.

Scripta et absoluta jam erant omnia, cum litteras tuas[14] et Criticam Botanicam acciperem, uti ex litteris die XXII Augusti scriptis[15] perspicere poteris. Multa in contrarium monere possem, nisi et haec jam satis prolixa essent. Multa etiam in hisce mutare vellem, nisi tempus deficeret. Haec non amplius urgebo, nisi felicitate fruar sermones tecum miscendi. Sed objectiones contra Criticam Botanicam alia occasione communicabo. Nunc tantum Dissertationem inauguralem meam a WaltheroWalther, Augustin Friederich
(1688-1746). German. Physican and
botanist, professor of anatomy and
surgery at Leipzig.
nostro conscriptam et Programma de minuendis plantarum generibus una cum BosiiBose, Caspar (1686-1733).
German. Professor of botany at Leipzig.
Dissertatione trado. Quae ad Historiam Hortorum nostrorum pertinet alia occasione luculentius tradam, cum non omnia ad manus sint.No entry found for note [bb] in L0206. Quaedam etiam de Methodo Riviniana habebis.[16] Plurima tamen jam jam prostant in Dissertatione HebenstreitiiHebenstreit, Johann Ernst
(1703-1757). German. Anatomist and
explorer. Professor in Leipzig in 1729.
Travelled in North Africa 1731-1735.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
de continuanda Rivinorum industria.[17] DissertationemNo entry found for note [cc] in L0206. HeucheriHeucher, Johann Heinrich von
(1677-1747). German. Botanist and
physician, professor of botany at
Wittenberg in 1709, later at Dresden.
Physician-in-ordinary to August II of
Poland-Sachsen.
de Magis nondum obtinui. En aliam obscuriorem, quam occasione ita ferente mitto.[18]

Vale! Dabam Lipsiae d[ie] 7 SeptembrisNo entry found for note [dd] in L0206.1737.

upSUMMARY

Having analysed Linnaeus’s method, Christian Gottlieb Ludwig communicates his doubts.

Ludwig first examined the structure of his method because an examination of the highest genera should be undertaken before the peculiarities are discussed.

The highest genera are universal concepts formed by signs common to many plants. Although there are thousands of plants, there will be a certain common sign through which the idea of the plant can be defined. Ludwig forms new concepts for himself, if possible two, each other’s exact opposites, by means of which he can again divide all plants into highest orders. He always divides the groups into two concepts exactly contrary to each other, so that what is said about one group cannot be said about the other. Thus he forms three or four highest genera subalternate to each other. These are the fundamentals of the method.

The concepts which explain these highest genera should be distinct. They should always be present in the complete stage of a plant and easily perceivable. Furthermore, they should be precise and immutable.

All plants have flowers. The flower is visible in some but in others it is hardly perceivable to the eye. The question is whether that which is not perceivable to the eye can be treated as a sign. If a flower is examined with the help of a microscope, the determination of the highest genus will depend on the microscope. Linnaeus himself has labelled many plants as cryptogams and also given a description of the flower. Thus he asserts that he has seen flowers that are not visible.

Linnaeus distinguishes plants by their sex and says that the flowers are either hermaphrodite or distinctly feminine and masculine. Ludwig would not without good ground deny that the plants have a sex. Difference in the sexual organs of the animals involves a difference of sex. The same difference can be found in plants.

Ludwig wonders if a difference in sex can be used to constitute the highest genera in a method. If nature always remained unchanged in all genera, then he would easily approve of this difference. But as the species within the genera are rather often different as regards the sex, he can hardly concede to classifying the highest genera by sex. Lapathum and Acetosa, which Linnaeus refers to Rumex, do not only produce hermaphrodite flowers, but can also be classed Monoecia, Dioecia and even Polygamia. Linnaeus has distinguished Achyranthes and Celosia from Amaranthus. Ludwig wonders why he did not do so with Rumex. Nor did he consider this difference in Spina cervina of the Corispermum species, which he calls a Rhamnus, in the Laurus and Lychnis species and in various others.

He doubts whether the males should not be put with the hermaphrodites, e.g. in Caucalis. In the elm, where ovaries are not often formed, Linnaeus brings forward an example taken from Acer, in which he believes that the ovaries are sickly. In all the exotic plants, which fairly often show imperfect or abortive ovaries, there remain doubts about the highest genus. When Linnaeus examined the male Clutia, he found that the stamens were affixed to a style and thus he said that the ovary was abortive. Ludwig says that the female plant blooming in the gardens is different; it has a similar flower with a roundish ovary with three tubes divided into two parts and it produces a fruit similar to Ricinus.

Ludwig is of the opinion that the highest genera are not so reliable and trustworthy, since the plants differ within them and a state of unhealthiness very often changes them.

Tetragonocarpus (Boerhaave), Tetragonia (Linnaeus), has flowers in the spikes. The superior ones seem to be male without an ovary, although they have the shape of hermaphrodite flowers placed inferior in the spike. Ludwig doubts whether insufficient nutrition in the superior flowers or some other cause impedes the perfection of the ovary or whether the cause is the intrinsic nature of the plant.

Linnaeus may with good reason refer to insufficient nutrition. There can, for example, be flowers placed closely together in an umbel, spike, thyrsus or muscary. The force of the sap expands and feeds various parts of the plant, thus also the ovaries. When there is a multitude of flowers, the sap does not suffice to bring them all to flowering. Movement in the periphery is easier, owing to the major transpiration in the petals and calyces. Thus, the shortage of sap is noticed only in the middle part.

The stamens cohere either by the filaments or anthers. In the former case, the flowers of Malva of the class Monadelphia, show the concept to be reliable enough. The plants of the class Diadelphia, to which class the papilionaceous flowers belong, make the concept dubious, because often the tenth stamen is also grown together in such a way that it forms a sheath. The Polyadelphia are very few in the method. Ludwig concedes that such stamens as he finds in Hypericum and closely related genera are not easily found in the others. Oxys with its yellow flower has the stamens grown together in one body, so that five longer and five shorter ones are formed. Delphinium, Aquilegia, Aconitum and other plants have many stamens coherent in such a way that the filaments grow together in a silky membrane. Ludwig agrees to Linnaeus’s objections that this state is sickly. What a morbid state can often change cannot form the highest genera, since it is difficult to decide between the morbid and the sound state.

Ludwig talks about those stamens, which are coherent by the anthers. He definitely agrees that the flower of the Composites (Syngenesia Polygamia) has cylindrical anthers. Knowledge of the highest genus is a difficult matter. Syngenesia Monogamia comprises four genera. If Ludwig would add some more, e.g. Herman Boerhaave’s Borraginoides and some species of Solanum and others, then Linnaeus would recognise how wrong this highest genus is. Ludwig is convinced that in all these the membrane anthers close with hairy brims, just as the dipetalous carina is closely enough connected in many papilionaceous flowers.

The diversity of the positions of the stamens is conspicuous in some petals. In some the stamens adhere to the calyx, in others to the placenta or receptacle. Linnaeus has only paid attention to the cohesion of the stamens with the style. As regards the Orchides Ludwig is still very doubtful whether he should use the name “style” or “tubercle” of the sixth petal or nectary. Regarding Passiflora or Granadilla, Ludwig states that the stamens are at the base of the ovary. Thus, they do not adhere to the style but to the pillar-like receptacle of the ovary. This also goes for Grevia, or Guidonia (Boerhaave), a plate of which will be found in Hortus Amstelodamensis.

As regards the proportion of the stamens five cases are possible.

1. They are exactly equivalent.

2. They are alternately longer and shorter, e.g. five shorter ones are placed between five longer ones.

3. Two shorter ones, two longer ones, as in the class Didynamia.

4. Four longer ones, two shorter ones, as in the class Tetradynamia.

5. They do not keep to any order.

Linnaeus makes a distinction between cases 3 and 4, because in other methods now and then a distinction is made between the monopetalous Verticillatae and the tetrapetalous Siliquosae. Ludwig wonders why Linnaeus does not bring together 1, 2 and 5 into one concept. If the proportion of the stamens provides reliable signs, then the proportion should provide them in all cases.

Regarding the number of the stamens all this could be agreed with, which August Quirinus Rivinus has objected regarding the number of the petals in the tetrapetalous, pentapetalous, hexapetalous and especially the regular polypetalous flowers. Ludwig would hardly agree that stamens and calyces are less liable to indulge in excess, and far more reliable than the petals (Fundamenta botanica 182), unless fully developed flowers are excluded. Linnaeus has defined Icosandria by the number of stamens. However, in reality he looks at the positions of the stamens. In these the petals are on the whole more reliable than the stamens.

There is one question left regarding the middle genera, where Linnaeus assumes a division with respect to the styles and stigmas. This division is ambiguous in some. Linnaeus calls a little pillar erected above the ovary a “style” and its head is called “stigma”. Whether it is divided or whole, the plant is nevertheless said to be monogynous. But if it is examined, as to whether there is only one sheath in these, then the result will be that every division has the function of a sheath. Linnaeus considers Acer to be a monogynous plant, whereas to Ludwig it seems to be digynous. Ludwig’s objections are so formed that he admits no anomalies, which all the same are inevitable.

The varieties in number are often caused by superfluous or deficient nourishing sap, a bite by an insect or some other small reason in a sickly plant, -- circumstances which do not infringe on any method based on the number of the parts. There is another variety in number, which always remains constant in the species. Since Ludwig always uses the appearance of a plant in order to faciliate the knowledge of it, he could not easily contradict. Ludwig draws the tetrapetalous Alsines with the pentapetalous, since the difference between them cannot be determined. Meanwhile the same can be said of Sedum. Ludwig also groups Sempervivum, Anacampseros and many others together in this genus, since the differences derived from the parts of the plants are not constant.

In the genus Ludwig will not discuss the positions of all the parts during fructification; Linnaeus has presented the generic idea in Fundamenta botanica 97. Ludwig states that the stamens are placed either at the base of the calyx around the ovary or they adhere to the thick body or placenta which upholds the ovary on the side or they are placed at the margin of the calyx alternately with the petals or at the ungues of the petals or finally in the style. According to Linnaeus the last difference is characteristic of the highest genus. Ludwig adds that a more specific determination of the positions of the stamens would have brought considerable certitude, e.g. in Crocus the stamens are placed at the three interior laciniae. In Veronica they are placed at the major lacinia opposite to the minor.

Ludwig considers the positions of the parts in a plant in relation to the calyx and especially to the stamens to be of the utmost importance. It is clear that the position is certain and does not vary easily. He would readily concede that the subalternate genera can be constituted from it. However, in the monopetalous the difference helps but little, because in these the stamens are inserted in the tube or the inferior margin of the corolla in such a way that the flower, in a dubious case, should be considered to be monopetalous, if the stamens grow out of the corolla, or, if not, polypetalous (Patrick Blair, Botanick essays, 34). But in the polypetalous the difference is obvious.

The proportion of the parts of the plant is discussed. Since an assessment of the length is indicated and this length is changed every day, Ludwig would hardly accept it in the descriptions. The same goes for the figure of the parts especially in the anthers, which looks different before the shedding of the pollen than after the loss of it. In both cases Linnaeus answers that the perfect flower should be subjected to an examination. Ludwig asks which flower is perfect in this sense. The one that still has fresh anthers or the one with dusty ones? Petals and calyces are already quite often changed at a time when pistils and stamens have undergone no mutations. A double examination can cause a deceptive proportion, because Ludwig is forced to deduce this proportion on the basis of the positions of all the parts which have been considered at the same time.

Ludwig is concerned about the names. The terms are words which signify a certain concept. Therefore, the significance of the terms depends on those who first give the definitions. If he exhibits a plant to a tyro or describes a plant not present and says that it is called Nymphaea and adds the reasons for the characteristic, then the tyro associates the distinct idea with the term. Ludwig concludes that the definition of the terms and the genera depends on the botanist. Thus the terms and genera are arbitrary.

The Hebrews said that Adam imposed a name according to the essence of a thing. If there was a possibility to invent such names, then Ludwig would change everything. When such names cannot be found, one should in the first place be concerned about better defining uncertain things. Ludwig has received Linnaeus’s Critica botanica and hopes as soon as possible to be able to voice a few critical opinions regarding some paragraphs in Chapter 7 of Fundamenta botanica.

It is appropriate to contradict the authority of our predecessors, if their names are discordant. But because their nomenclature is arbitrary, Ludwig cannot call it senseless, with the exception of a few instances where faults can be identified. In his Programma, Ludwig said that Caspar Bauhin and Joseph Pitton de Tournefort were very good ‘restorers’ of the genera. Where inconsistencies in nomenclature can be found, they should be addressed.

Ludwig wonders why the more recent names are changed with such vehemence. Botanists reject the arbitrary names of others and introduce their own arbitrary names. If essential names could be found, then Ludwig would accept them all, even if no old name remained.

Ludwig’s friends ask for the basics of botany to get a more certain knowledge of plants in medicine. If Ludwig abandons the old names, he cannot help them use plants in medicine. If both new and old names are used at the same time, the multitude of synonyms will frustrate all parties. Without the fundamentals of natural history people will have innumerable difficulties in using plants medicinally.

In the study of plants memory should always be supported. Ludwig cannot find any reason to facilitate learning by using indicative terminology. Borrago is known to him. He doubts if he should impose another name on a similar plant because of a difference of character, which does not change the highest genus. Therefore, he uses Borraginoides, because it closely reminds him of Borrago. The same goes for all similar names. Similar sounds can only be of value in those genera, which correspond in some way. If it was Menyanthes that de Tournefort had called Trifolioides or Trifolianella or similar names, then he would have raised objections.

The compounds do not displease Ludwig completely. But in those cases where they are dissonant and a foot and a half in length, Linnaeus rejects them as being no great help to the memory.

The non-Latin and non-Greek names Ludwig would not reject. If plants from the non-Latins and non-Greeks are accepted, why not their names? Arabic names are outlandish, although the Arabic language can in a certain respect be said to be the learned language of the doctors. Alkali is not rejected in medicine. Why then Alkekengi in botany? Ludwig has always been convinced that the names of the botanists are just as outlandish as these, if one reasons logically. Stisseria, Meibomia, and Gakenia do not excite any other idea in him than if he said Kurka, Katuschena and Nagavalli from Hortus Malabaricus.

If the botanist is known through his books, then he need not to be remembered by the denomination of a plant. Linnaeus will be remembered with gratitude, even if Johan Frederik Gronovius himself had never thought about the genus of Linnaea. To Ludwig this seems to be the same case as formerly with the astronomers. These were raised to the heavens. Now the botanists are brought down to the meadows and Ludwig fears that these denominations will be changed when fashions change.

Ludwig’s letter was written and finished when he received Linnaeus’s letter and Critica botanica, as can be seen from Ludwig’s letter written on August 22. Ludwig will communicate his objections regarding Critica botanica another time. Now he only sends his inaugural dissertation written by Augustin Friederich Walther and Programma de minuendis plantarum generibus, together with Caspar Bose’s dissertation. Remarks concerning the description of the German gardens he will send another time. He will also send some notes about Rivinus’s method. However, many things are at this very time obvious from Johann Ernst Hebenstreit’s dissertation De continuanda Rivinorum industria. Ludwig has not yet received Johann Heinrich von Heucher’s dissertation De magis.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. (LS, IX, 491-496). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 [added above the line]
a.
MS1 <dabant> dabunt
b.
MS1 <[illegible]> capita
b.
MS1 [added above the line]
c.
MS1 [read] quas
c.
MS1 Dissertationem <de Magis>
d.
MS1 <in me> suscepi
d.
MS1 <Aug> Septembris
e.
MS1 <ipsae> ipse
f.
MS1 <[illegible]> habeo
g.
MS1 <augeri> augere
h.
MS1 <[illegible]> distincti
i.
MS1 <de hoc adhuc> quam maxime [added above the line]
j.
MS1 involvit <in animalibus sexus differentiam involvit>
k.
MS1 <quadam> quandam
l.
MS1 [read] Acetosae
m.
MS1 [orthography according to Ludwig’s Obs. meth. pl. sex. Linnaei]
n.
MS1 <Delphiniam> Delphinia
o.
MS1 [added above the line]
p.
MS1 commodior <sane>
q.
MS1 [added above the line]
r.
MS1 obnoxia <esse>
s.
MS1 <mult> nonnullas
t.
MS1 <generis> specialiori
u.
MS1 <multum> parum
v.
MS1 <[illegible]> terminum
w.
MS1 <tanto impetu> rejicimus
x.
MS1 <introduc> introducimus
y.
MS1 <Meomia> Meibomia
z.
MS1 <nec> non

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
2.
3.
See Linnaeus’s letter to Ludwig, 28 July 1737 n.s.Letter L0191.
4.
Summum genus = classis.
5.
Medium genus = ordo, inferius genus = genus.
6.
7.
8.
Ludwig probably means that the number can vary in the genus but is constant in the species.
9.
See Ludwig’s letter to Linnaeus, 30 April 1737 n.s.Letter L0161.
Horace, Ars poet., 97.
The letter is dated 12 August 1737 n.s.Letter L0197.
This letter has not come down to us.
See Ludwig’s letter to Linnaeus, 22 October 1737 n.s.Letter L0210. Having found nothing among the manuscripts of August Quirinus Rivinus, now in a nephew’s possession, Ludwig says that Rivinus’s method was never written down but was mainly introduced at private conversations and lessons at the academy in Leipzig. See Rivinus, De methodo plantarumRivinus, August Quirinus De
methodo plantarum viri clarissimi
Augusti Quirini Rivini [...] epistola ad
Joan. Raium, cum ejusdem responsoria: in
qua D. Josephi Piton Tournefort, M.D.
Elementa botanica tanguntur
(London
1696).
.
This letter was later to provide the foundations of Ludwig’s Observationes in methodum plantarum sexualem cel. LinnaeiLudwig, Christian Gottlieb
Observationes in methodum plantarum
sexualem cel. Linnaei
(Leipzig
1739).
(see 6-13).