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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0566 • Carl Linnaeus to Johann Georg Gmelin, 2 August 1744 n.s.
Dated 22 jul. 1744. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to St Petersburg (Russia). Written in Latin.

Viro Claro,
JO[HANNI] GEORG[IO] GMELINO,
Chem[iae] & Hist[oriae] nat[uralis] Prof[essori] Petropol[itano],
s[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Car[olus] Linnaeus.

Jucundissimas Tuas litteras d[ie] 25 maji exaratas,[1] plenas observationum suo tempore accepi, nec antequam nunc respondere potui.

Amethystinam modo exsiccatam vidi floribus vix duobus tribusve explicatis adeoque de genere minus quam Tu certus esse possum; ex facie pro Lycopo potius haberem quam pro verbena. Utinam mihi mitteres semina pulcherrimae plantae! Situs seminum coalitus in verbena semper observatur. Utrum hoc idem in Tua, ego nescio.

Androsaces species certe omnes Tournefortianae excepta primo illa calycibus magnis; gaudent collo corollae glandulis (uti cum HalleroHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
vocas) cincto, quam ovum ovo inter se magis similes.

Proposui tamquam dubia plura genera conjungenda in altera editione generum meorum. Inter haec et seda, semperviva, crassulas?[a][a] : MS1 [read] crassulae Tu ne dubites, quin debeant[b][b] : MS1 <debent> debeant et possint[c][c] : MS1 <possunt> possint haec genera, quae proposui, omnia conjungi. Plantam quam describis est omnino sempervivum majus tectorum optime descriptum. Nescio, quid in hac reperies diversum; figurae enim omnes evidentes sunt. Procul dubio aliquid observas, quod ego ex Tua descriptione capere nequeo, cum de hac dubites.

Isopyrum vocavi Helleborum Tuum. Antequam Tu de ea re determines aliquid certi, velim, videas accurate 1mo Ranunculum nemorosum thalictri folio C[aspari] B[auhini]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 2do Aquilegiam montanam flore parvo, thalictri flore, C[aspari] B[auhini], quae cum Tua constituunt apud me tres Isopyri species.

Lupinaster nunc apud me floret, omnino trifolii species.

Delphinia 174.175. AmmanniAmman, 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.
ambo floruere in horto, pulcherrimae plantae. Nectariis, ut in Staphisagria, possent separari a Delphinio genere, ni resisterent, quae in horto Cliffortiano (p. 213) dixi.[2]

Hypecoi sibirici semina ter oro quaesoque, mittas. Quod sit hypecoi genuina species non est, quod dubito, licet stamina resistant. At differt haec species a reliquis hypecois (perfecte uti capnorchis Boerh[aavii]Boerhaave, 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.
a Fumariis) staminibus. Gratias ago pro hac observatione. Quaeso, ne siliquosis accensas Hypecoum cum TournefortioTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
, sed esto certissime persuasus, quod Melianthus, Epimedium, Fumaria & Hypecoum naturali ordine conveniant.

Pentaphylloides 112, cum stamina quinque habeat, posset forte referri ad Sibbaldiae genus.

Thalictroidis semina, quaeso, mittas recentia. Nollem hanc ad Christophorianas referres, sed potius proprium genus constitueres, ne fiat confusio ex tot distinctis notis.

Ornithogaloiden Siegesbeckioidis ex descriptione non adeo certo determinare licet. Hoc certum, quod sit aut Ornithogalum angustifolium majus floribus ex albo virescentibus [d][d] : MS1 [added above the line] C[aspari] B[auhini][d][d] : MS1 [added above the line] aut Ornithogalum majus spicatum fl[ore] alb[o] C[aspari] B[auhini]; prius frequens in hortis Germaniae et Europae, posterius habet pedunculos laterales longiores et magis, dum fructum ferunt a caule distantes. Ut viderim siccam plantam, certius et tuto dabo synonymon.

De nominibus ab Authoribus desumtis excludendis Tu valde severus es. Forte nimis multa nomina ab authoribus introducta sunt. An ideo omnia excludenda? Per me licet. Facias pro libitu et des, si poteris, meliora et pulchriora, ubi[e][e] : MS1 <uti> ubi non ingenium sufficiat. An ista nomina meliora, quae modo conveniunt cum unica specie, non vero cum reliquis? An ista meliora, quae contraria alicui speciei? An ista meliora, quae a similitudine cum animalium parte quadam, ubi ingenium aeque sufficiat, ut fiat similitudo? Sed quid ego de his? Tu facias pro Tuo placitu[f][f] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
placito
, alii pro suo. Nimis multa ego de hac re olim[g][g] : MS1 [added above the line] dixi!

De methodo Royeniana non habeo, quod dicam. Novi ejus[h][h] : MS1 [added above the line] methodum melius quam ullus alius mortalium. Novi et ejus methodi[i][i] : MS1 [added above the line] vires et infirmitates ipso authore longe, longe melius.

Aspalathus Caragana Amm[anni] Ruth. 285[3] crescit hic in horto cujusdam nobilis ad altitudinem sorbi vulgaris arboris et quotannis floret et fructum fert et hyemes sub aere aperto perfert.

Si adhuc apud vos commoretur Lib[er] Baro BielkeBielke, Sten Carl (1709-1753).
Swedish. Baron, government official,
patron of science, and naturalist. One
of the founders of the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences. Private pupil of
Linnaeus. Close friend of Pehr Kalm,
whose voyage to America he supported
financially. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, dicas ipsi me accepisse fasciculum ultimum, datum d[ie] 7 julii, cum seminibus Costeri, &c.[4] Rescriberem, nisi omnes mecum heic locorum eum[j][j] : MS1 <ejus> eum dudum reditum, adgressum fuisse persuasi essent.

Si vero adhuc permaneret, quaeso, mittas siccas plantas cum eo plurimas, adscriptis numeris, ut queamus absentes de his confabulari.

Annon prodiit aliquod opusculum in Rutheno Botanicum praeter sequentia:

Acta Petropolitana[5]
BuxbaumiiBuxbaum, Johann Christian
(1693-1730). German. Professor of
botany, St Petersburg.
centuriae


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.
Botan[osophiae] verioris sciagr[aphia][7]
Primitiae[8]
vaniloquentiae Botanicae specimen.[9]
Majanthemum.[10]
Ammanni stirp[ium] rarior[um] icones & Descr[iptiones].
DeschisauxDeschisaux, Pierre (1687-1730).
French. Botanist and physician, created
a botanical garden at St Petersburg.
, instruct[io] horti 1725 ort[us] Gallici. [11]

Si noveris plura, quaeso, titulos indices.
Annon GerberiusGerber, Traugott (1710-1743).
German. Medical doctor, botanist,
director of the oldest botanical garden
in Moscow..
aliquid umquam publici juris fecit?

Annon MesserschmidiusMesserschmied, Daniel Gottlieb
(1685-1735). German. Botanist.
Travelled in Siberia.
vivit vel an ejus flora prodiit? [ 12] Et quis et qualis fuerit? Quando mortuus?[13]

Vivas, Amice colende diutissime, sospes et felix!

Dabam Upsaliae d[ie] 22 jul[ii] 1744.

Semper scribo festinanti manu, et nunc et in posterum, quoties contingat, Tu cures, rogo, mentem, non verba.

Helleborus s[ive] Isopyrum sibiricum crescit in hybernaculo uti Lolium in omni olla.

Plantago tatarica foliis latissimis dentatis rigidioribus maximis Amm[anni] 23 floruit et erat omnino Plantago latifolia C[aspari] B[auhini].

Plantago persica angustifolia Tua a Plantagine angustifolia albida Tournef[ortii] differt glabritie, [k][k] : MS1 <hirsutie> glabritie radice subcaulescente, foliis subdentatis. Caret etiam lana ad radicem; in multis tamen convenit.

[l][l] : MS1 [added in the left
margin
]
An in Sibiria dentur Lepores cauda longa?
An veri Lepores vel murum species majores?
An cauda longa et glabra vel hirsuta?
An dentes primores duplicati?
An aliquis apud vos colligat aves et insecta vel ea describat?[l][l] : MS1 [added in the left
margin
]

[l][l] : MS1 [added in the left
margin
]
Piscis apud vos vulgatissimus, Sterlett, a quo authore et quo nomine sit descriptus, rogo, me doceas?

Si adhuc apud vos maneat D[omi]n[u]s L[iber] B[aro] Bielke, roga, ut sibi compareat [sic] precibus aut pretio quascumque plantas in schedula adjecta nominatas et mihi mittat.[l][l] : MS1 [added in the left
margin
]

[m][m] : [quoted after Plieninger; this
last postscript has not come down to
us.
]
D[omi]no Sten Bielke Lib[ero] Bar[oni] consiliario supremi dicasterii Alvensis[n][n] : [Plieninger probably
misreads
Alvensis for
Aboensis]
.[14]

Acmella curassavica
Bermudiana
Borraginella
Bupleuroides Simpla nobla
Cedronella canariensis trifolia
Cerinthe perennis
Cnestrum
Euphorbia trigonum
Helianthemoides afric. quid?
Jasminum arab. aurant. fol.
Leonurus
Limonium syriacum
Lotoides
Melianthus minor
Omphalospermum
Ornithogaloides afric.
Barba caprae

Nomina plantarum desideratissimarum e catalogo cel[eberrimi] Siegesbeckii desumta.[m][m] : [quoted after Plieninger; this
last postscript has not come down to
us.
]

[address] Viro Clarissimo / D. D. Joh. Georg. Gmelino / chemiae & Natural. Professori / Petropolitano / Petersburg.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus has received Johann Georg Gmelin’s letter dated 25 May 1744 o.s., 5 June 1744 n.s.

Linnaeus considers Amethystina to be rather a Lycopus than a Verbena. The species of Androsace are all Joseph Pitton de Tournefort’s except the one with big calices.

In his second edition of Genera plantarum [1742] Linnaeus stated many doubtful genera, which should be brought together in a new edition, i.e., Seda, Semperviva and Crassulae.

The plant that Gmelin describes is Sempervivum majus tectorum.

Gmelin’s Helleborus Linnaeus called Isopyrum. Gmelin should examine Caspar Bauhin’s Ranunculus nemorosus Thalictri folio and Aquilegia montana flore parvo, Thalictri flore. Linnaeus means that these three constitute three species.

Lupinaster, a species of Trifolium, now blossoms.

Johann Amman’s two Delphinia blossom in the Uppsala University Botanical Garden.

Linnaeus requests seeds of Hypecoum sibiricum. Gmelin should not refer it to the Siliquosae as Joseph Pitton de Tournefort does, because Melianthus, Epimedium, Fumaria and Hypecoum form a natural order.

Pentaphylloides could perhaps be referred to the genus Sibaldia, since it has five stamens.

Linnaeus wants fresh seeds from Thalictroides. He would not refer it to the Christophorianae, but advises Gmelin to create a genus of its own.

Ornithogaloides Siegesbeckiodis is not easy to determine. It is either Caspar Bauhin’s Ornithogalum angustifolium majus floribus ex albo virescentibus or Bauhin’s Ornithogalum majus spicatum flore albo.

Gmelin insists on excluding plant names that go back to botanists. Linnaeus admits that perhaps too many names have been introduced, but should really all botanists’ names be taken away? Are those generic names better which match only one single species and no others?

Linnaeus has nothing to comment on Adriaan van Royen’s method.

Amman’s Aspalathus Caragana grows well in a garden at Uppsala.

If Gmelin sees Sten Carl Bielke, he should tell him that he has received the last packet of 7 July with seeds of Costerus.

Linnaeus wants to know whether there are any new botanical works in Russia except:

Acta Petropolitana, Johann Christian Buxbaum’s Plantarum minus cognitarum centuria, Johann Georg Siegesbeck’s Botanosophiae verioris brevis sciagraphia, idem, Primitiae florae Petropolitanae, idem, Vaniloquentiae botanicae specimen, idem, Majanthemum, Amman’s Stirpium rariorum in imperio Rutheno sponte provenientium icones et descriptiones and Deschizaux, Memoire pour servir à l’instruction de l’histoire naturelle des plantes de Russie.

Linnaeus wonders whether Traugott Gerber has ever published anything and whether Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmied still lives and has published his Siberian Flora.

P.S. 1. Helleborus or Isopyrum sibiricum grows in the greenhouse.

Amman’s Plantago tatarica with broad leaves, etc. is Caspar Bauhin’s Plantago latifolia.

Gmelin’s Plantago persica angustifolia differs from Tournefort’s Plantago angustifolia albida because of the glabrousness, root, leaves, etc.

P.S. 2.
Linnaeus wonders whether there are hares with long tails in Siberia, whether these are real hares or bigger species of the rat, whether the tail is long and glabrous or hirsute, whether the front teeth are paired. He would like to know whether there is anybody in Russia who collects birds and insects and describes these.

P.S. 3. Linnaeus wants to know, where and by whom the common Russian fish Sterlett (“sturgeon”) is described.

P.S. 4. There is a list of plants, taken from Siegesbeck’s catalogue, which Linnaeus wants Bielke to send him.

upMANUSCRIPTS

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

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 [read] crassulae
b.
MS1 <debent> debeant
c.
MS1 <possunt> possint
d.
MS1 [added above the line]
e.
MS1 <uti> ubi
f.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] placito
g.
MS1 [added above the line]
h.
MS1 [added above the line]
i.
MS1 [added above the line]
j.
MS1 <ejus> eum
k.
MS1 <hirsutie> glabritie
l.
MS1 [added in the left margin]
m.
[quoted after Plieninger; this last postscript has not come down to us.]
n.
[Plieninger probably misreads Alvensis for Aboensis]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Johann Georg Gmelin to Linnaeus, 25 May 1744 o.s., 5 June 1744 n.s.Letter L0556.
2.
3.
4.
In 1744 Count Sten Carl Bielke together with Linnaeus’s future disciple, Pehr KalmKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, made a journey to Russia to collect plants. A rich collection of dried plants, seeds and more than 200 sorts of herbs, all Siberian, was brought back to Uppsala.
5.
Novi commentarii academiae scientiarum imperialis Petropolitanae .
6.
7.
8.
9.
Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmied travelled in Siberia 1720-1727, where he was the first to do botanical research. He wrote a “Flora Sibirica”, but this work was never published. See Gmelin to Linnaeus, 24 August 1744 o.s., 4 September 1744 n.s.Letter L0573.
According to Gmelin, Messerschmied was born on 16 September 1682 (not 1685). See Gmelin to Linnaeus, 24 August 1744 o.s., 4 September 1744 n.s.Letter L0573.
In 1737 Bielke became associate judge at the court of appeal in Åbo, Finland.