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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0551 • Carl Linnaeus to Johann Georg Gmelin, 15 April 1744 n.s.
Dated 1744. d. 4 April.. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to St Petersburg (Russia). Written in Latin.

Viro Clarissimo,
D[omino] D[octori] J[OHANNI] G[EORGIO] GMELINO,
s[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Carolus Linnaeus,
Med[icinae] & Bot[anices] Prof[essor] Ups[aliensis].

Diu celebre Tuum nomen, Vir Clarissime, mihi innotuit; quod vero adhuc inter vivos eras, certe non noveram. Nobis ereptum AmmannumAmman, Johann (1707-1741).
Swiss/Russian?. Curator of Hans Sloane’s
natural history collection. Professor of
botany at the Imperial Academy of
Sciences at St Petersburg. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
diu dolui,[1] Te nobis redditum laetor.[2]

Amicitia SiegesbeckiiSiegesbeck, Johann Georg
(1686-1755). German. Prussian botanist,
doctor of medicine at Wittenberg in
1716, physician and director of the
botanical garden at St Petersburg
1735-1747. One of the most bitter
opponents of Linnaeus’s sexual system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
fuit aeque constans ac ejus in Botanicis principia.[3]

Amicitia Ammanni fuit aeque ac ejus theoria; fuit satis bona.

Amicitia Tua, ut respondeat Tuae theoriae in Botanicis, est quod oro. Vidi descriptiones Tuas et miratus Te animum ad minutissima stamina pistillaque abjecisse. Oblatam a Te amicitiam ambabus excipio manibus. Caveas, ne hanc irritam a Tua parte reddat vester Siegesbeckius; ego acceptam pie servabo.

Pro seminibus gratias ago maximas. Cum incipiant crescere, agam adhuc majores et de his Tecum loquar.

Tua merita in rem herbariam sunt maxima. Tu solus tot plantas detexisti, quot multi alii botanici simul. Nullus pretio magis caro emit sua merita in Botanicis, quam qui itineribus per barbaras terras eas indagabit. Sola Lapponia dimidio anno magis[a][a] : MS1 <plures> magis [added
above the line
]
vires ademit meo corpori quam omnia alia itinera simul.[4]

Maxime inquietus exspecto Tuam Floram Sibiricam.[5] Fac, ut prodeat secundum certa genera et species cum synonymis, ubi dentur, et descriptionibus et figuris, ubi non dentur synonyma. Adde loca natalia et solum quale inhabitant singulae. Des etiam in minus cognitis certas notas specificas, quibus dignoscantur a congeneribus, ut remotissima flora certet cum cultissimis. Utinam velles mea opera uti. Me promptissimum, ubicumque velis, reperies.[6]

Ammannus paulo[b][b] : MS1 <ante> paulo ante fata ad me misit fasciculum plantarum continens[c][c] : MS1 [read] continentem duodecim raras plantas exsiccatas. Respondebam, sed mox audiebam eum mortuum fuisse. Quaeso, mihi indices

1) diem nativitatis,
2) diem obitus, (beatus Ammannus
3) morbum, quo obiit.

Pontederiam dixi plantarum familiam, uti vides, in meis congeneribus. Hisce editis profectus in Angliam, videns HoustoniiHouston, William (1695-1733).
British. Surgeon. Studied at Leiden
under Boerhaave. Went with the South Sea
Company to Central America and the West
Indies.
manuscripta inedita[7] adhuc reperi novum genus Michelia dictum, quod idem erat cum mea Pontederia. Ne nomini et famae optime meriti MicheliiMicheli, Pietro Antonio
(1679-1737). Italian. Botanist, curator
of the botanical garden of Florence.
Before Linnaeus the leading authority on
cryptogames.
quid detraherem, aliud condidi novum genus in memoriam Michelii, uti vides ex octandria.

Demum acta evolvens Petropolitana observo Ammannum novum constituisse plantarum genus sub Michelii nomine, quamvis[d][d] : MS1 <quamquam> quamvis non demonstravit meum genus sub hoc nomine falsum esse, nec umquam demonstrare potuit.[8]

Mirabar, cur non potius nomen imposuit alicujus Botanici in Rutheno optime meriti. Succurrebat mox Tuum celebre nomen. Ideo cum altera editio generum, quae Lugd[uni] Bat[avorum] 1742 prodiit, daretur,[9] hoc genus ego Gmelinam dixi, ut in omnium ore permaneret Tua fama. Te enim nobis ereptum cogitabam.

Quod sub valerianellae nemorosae nomine Linnaea esset descripta, dudum observavi ipse.

70.[10] Amethystinam accepi ab Ammanno siccam et determinavi genus. Nescio, num hoc detexit apud vestros. Est omnino Lycopi species dicenda Lycopus foliis trifidis.

22. Androsace coronopi foliis glabra, &c. Accepi semina ab Ammanno. Apud nos adhuc se propagat estque Androsace calyce fructus parvo. Fl[ora] Lapp[onica], 78.[11] Alsine affinis Androsace dicta minor. C[asparus] B[auhinus]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.
.[12] Alsine minor, androsaces alterius MatthioliMattioli, Pietro Andrea Gregorio
(1500-1577). Italian. Physician and
botanist. Born in Siena, graduated at
Padua. Active in Rome, Prague and
Trento. First physician of Maximilian
II.
facie. Idem, 251, prod[romus], 118.[13] Alsine verna androsaces capitulis. Idem, 251, prodr[omus], 118.

Non opus habuit HallerusHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Aretiae genus condere. Nec persistere potest divisio inter Aretias et Androsaces ob solum calycem, ubi reliqua simillima et facies.

19. Cruciata Daurica. An Asparagi aut Medeolae species? Forte posterioris.

96. Anacampseros fl[ore] flavo. Quot stamina? An 6 aut 12? An mas et femina ut in Rhodiola?

100. Helleborus fumariae foliis. Accepi semina ab Ammanno. Laete crescit et ex olla mire dependet. Non est Helleborus sed Isopyri absolute species. Sed conferendus est character genericus a me emendatus et insertus actis scient[iarum] Upsal[iensibus] 1741.[14]

101. Helleborus aconiti folio, fl[ore] globoso, est sola varietas Trollii, ubi nectaria excrescunt et profecto singularis varietas plenitudinis, qualem in nulla alia vidi.

114 et 115, tab. 17 & 18, fig. 1, sunt omnino varietates Potentillae fruticosae Horti Cliff[ortiani].[15] Rara certe planta; crescit in Eboraco Anglico[16] et in insula Oelandia maris Balthici, vix alias in Europa, antequam vos eandem reperiistis [sic].

143 Lupinaster. Hanc plantam vidi in Horto Parisino. Est pulchra trifolii species.

174. 175. Delphinia ambo e seminibus Ammanni mihi enata sunt. Prior species floruit, altera nondum.

239. Blitum frugiferum maximum polyspernum. Est Blitum foliis triangularibus dentatis, calycibus baccatis, capitulis summis foliosis. Hort[us] Cliff[ortianus], 495. Atriplex mori fructu minor s[ive] frugifera minor. Moris[onius], hist[oria], p. 606, f. 5, t. 32, f. 2,[17] Atriplex sylvestris mori fructu. C[asparus] B[auhinus], 119.

142 Fagopyrum erectum fructu aspero. Fagopyrum erectum, fructu ex calyce eminente serrato. Hall[eri] Hort[i] Gott[ingensis] 5 est sola forte[e][e] : MS1 [added above the line] varietas Fagopyri vulgaris.[18] Habuimus in Horto Cliffortiano ultimo anno, sed videbo hoc anno.

99. Harmala, quaeso, quot stamina et pistilla? Qualis calyx?

46. Coris mira planta; certe coris non est?

80. Hypecoon nova et pulcherrima planta. Utinam possem semina obtinere!

84. Alsine quot stamina et pistilla? An Molluginis meae species?

85. Alsine viscosa quot stamina et pistilla?

112. Pentaphylloides. Miram ideam plantae mihi formo ex figura data. Annon habeas specimen in duplo?

151. Lathyroides est orobi species.

168. Astragalus ex descriptione mihi videtur esse Astragalus acaulos foliis peracutis, calyce et fructu villoso. Hall[erus], Helv[etia], 567, t. 13.[19]

255. Ephedra monospermos unico semine; an credam?

256. Casia fructu nigro qua in re differt ab altera europaea?

265.266. Spiraeae salicis folio varietates sunt? An etiam reliquae?

102. Thalictroidis Florem a Te peto descriptum, quoad calycem, petala, stamina, pistillos.[f][f] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
pistilla
Video enim capsulas esse diversas ab aliis.

Haec omnia festinanti calamo exaravi, ne Tabellarius, qui eodem hoc postmeridie, quo Tuas accepi, abibit, vacaret, et ego responsum per octiduum differam.

Quaeso, mihi dicas acta Siegesbeckiana?

Si poteris semina mittere sequentium plantarum, quam avidissime ea expeterem, vel hoc insequente anno:

Ruyschiana, Hypecoon, Lupinaster, Cymbaria, Ballote t. 8, Ephedra, Lapathum dauricum.

Ter vale!

Dabam Upsaliae 1744 d[ie] 4 April[is].

[address] Viro Clarissimo / D. D. J. G. Gmelino / Botanico Celeberrimo / Petropoli.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus mourned the death of Johann Amman. Johann Georg Siegesbeck’s friendship was as short-lived as his botanical principles, but Amman’s friendship as trustworthy as his research.

Linnaeus is pleased with Johann Georg Gmelin’s botanical descriptions, which treat stamens and pistils in detail.

Gmelin has achieved much in botany during his tours to barbarous areas. Linnaeus’s Lapland tour lasted only half a year, but consumed more of his strength than did the other tours together. He looks forward to seeing Gmelin’s Flora Sibirica.

He wants Gmelin to create strict, definite genera and species, and add synonyms, when such can be found, or descriptions and illustrations. He should also state place of origin and describe the growing conditions. For lesser known plants, specific features should be given so that they can be distinguished from members of the same genus. Linnaeus will be very pleased, if Gmelin uses his works. He will always be ready to help.

Before his death Amman sent Linnaeus twelve rare dried plants. Linnaeus wants to know when Amman was born, when he died and what caused his death.

Linnaeus called a family of plants Pontederia. When he went to England he saw in William Houstoun’s unpublished manuscripts a new genus called Michelia, which was the same as his own Pontederia. To commemorate Pietro Antonio Micheli, Linnaeus called a new genus Michelia of his class Octandria.

Linnaeus saw in Acta Petropolitana that Amman had named a new genus after Micheli, although he had not shown that Linnaeus’s genus was false. Amman should instead have used the name of a meritorious botanist in Russia.

Linnaeus called a genus Gmelina in his second edition of Genera plantarum (1742) to spread Gmelin’s fame, since he thought he was dead.

There is a list of plants that are discussed.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (UUB, G152a). [1] [2] [3] [4]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 <plures> magis [added above the line]
b.
MS1 <ante> paulo
c.
MS1 [read] continentem
d.
MS1 <quamquam> quamvis
e.
MS1 [added above the line]
f.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] pistilla

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
Johann Amman died in 1741.
2.
Linnaeaus needed Russian correspondents. The plants of the Siberian flora were ideal for the soil of Uppsala.
3.
We know from the correspondence with Gmelin that Linnaeus was nearly obsessed with his adversary Johann Georg SiegesbeckSiegesbeck, Johann Georg
(1686-1755). German. Prussian botanist,
doctor of medicine at Wittenberg in
1716, physician and director of the
botanical garden at St Petersburg
1735-1747. One of the most bitter
opponents of Linnaeus’s sexual system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. “Quid agit Siegesbeckius?” (”What is Siegesbeck up to?”), Linnaeus constantly asks. When Gmelin wrote his first letter to Linnaeus on 17 February 1744 o.s.Letter L0537, he received this answer. Through Gmelin, Linnaeus got an opportunity to find out what was was going on at the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St Petersburg. Obviously Linnaeus was pleased with what was reported to him, because he writes to Gmelin, 24 April 1745 o.s., 5 May 1745 n.s.Letter L5917, that his friendship outweighed the enmity of a hundred Siegesbecks. See Jönsson, “Odium botanicorum. The polemics between Carl Linnaeus and Johann Georg Siegesbeck”Jönsson, A.-M. Odium
botanicorum
. The polemics between
Carl Linnaeus and Johann Georg
Siegesbeck”, Språkets
speglingar. Festskrift till Birger
Bergh
, ed. A. Jönsson & A.
Piltz (Lund 2000), 555-566.
.
4.
5.
6.
Linnaeus here tries to persuade Gmelin to use his system.
7.
William Houstoun’s manuscripts were printed in 1781 with the title Reliquiae Houstounianae .
8.
Novi commentarii academiae scientiarum imperialis Petropolitanae .
9.
There are valuable references regarding the following list of plants in Plieninger’s edition.
Bauhin, Prodromus theatri botanici .
Acta societatis regiae scientiarum Upsaliensis Acta societatis regiae
scientiarum Upsaliensis
(Stockholm
1740-1751).
.
I.e., York.
Morison, Plantarum historiae universalis Oxoniensis pars secunda-tertia{bib-Morison_1689-99}.