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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0766 • Carl Linnaeus to Johann Georg Gmelin, between 10 October and 19 December 1746 n.s.
Dated . Sent from () to St Petersburg (Russia). Written in Latin.

Illustri Botanico,
D[omino] D[octori] JO[HANNI]
GEORG[IO] GMELINO,
s[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Carolus Linnaeus.

Literas d[iei] 10 Octobris accepi et gavisus sum.[2] Continebant enim hae, brevissime licet, plus eruditionis et genuinae Botanices quam ponderosissimum integrum 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.
cranium comprehendit.[3]

De Chamaejasme quaestio est, ad quod respondeo.

Thymeleae genus TournefortiiTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
fuit vastissimum, praesertim si plantas Capenses et Africanas, omnes species, adnumeramus; proinde jure naturali Passerinas, Gnidias, Lachneas eximimus. Thymelea s[ive] Daphne alias admitteret tot notarum characteristicarum notas, ut ulla superesset. Ergo:
Daphne baccam fert et stamina 4 & 4 intra tubum corollae regularis.

Lachnea baccifera stamina 4 & 4 intra tubum corollae irregularis.

Gnidia baccifera stamina 4 & 4, Limbo corollae octifido, laciniis alternis teneris.

Passerina semine nudo, staminibus 8 tubo s[ive] fauce[a][a] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
fauci
corollae superimpositis, corollae laciniis[b][b] : MS1 [added above the line] reflexis.

Chamaejasme semine nudo, staminibus 4 & 4 intra tubum corollae regularis.

Quod autem Chamaejasme affinis sit praedictorum, dubium non est, et proin in eodem ordine naturale[c][c] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
naturali
collocanda.
Differt a Daphne semine nudo nec baccifero, sed staminibus convenit. Differt a Passerina staminibus intra tubum, sed fructu convenit. Adeoque nec potest esse Daphnes species, multo minus Passerines[d][d] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
Passerinae
.
De Lachnea & Gnidia nulla quaestio, a quibus longe diversissima.

Sed licet in hac planta Chamaejasme laciniae corollae 5 et stamina 10, non puto ideo distinguendam esse plantam ab aliis corollae laciniis 4-fidis et staminibus 8, cum hoc in Lino, Gentianis, Asperulis, Vacciniis, aliisque innumeris observare est. Ergo puto

Passerinam TragiBock, Hieronymus (1498-1554).
German. Physician and preacher at
Hombach.
Bauh[hini]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.
hist[oria] 3 p. 456,[4]
Thymeleam linariae folio vulgar[em] Tournef[ortii] inst[itutionum] 584,[5]
Lithospermum linariae folio germanicum C[aspari] B[auhini] 259,[6]
Linariam alteram botryoidem mont[anam] Colum[nae] 1 p. 82 t. 80,[7]
minime genere distinguendam esse, cum fructum gerat monospermum nudum nec baccatum et stamina 4 & 4 intra tubum.

De nomine novi generis nunc quaestio est. Passerina assumi nequit, cum hoc vocabulum antea certo et constanti generi impositum est. Medusam[8] nollem assumere, cum hoc receptum sit in regno animali et impositum animalculo capiti[e][e] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
capite
truncato sanguineo pilis longis crinito, a quo tot petrificata et gorgonea producta, quot umquam de Medusa fabulati sunt Poetae. Quid vetet assumere nomen Stelleriae a Botanico de orbe nostro tam bene merito, qui tot novas detexit plantas, tot annorum laboriosissimo itinere inter maxime barbaros? Quis majori et chariori pretio nominis gloriam emit quam qui itinera inter Barbaros suscepit? D[ominum] StellerumSteller, Georg Wilhelm
(1709-1746). German. Voyager, who
sailed with Vitus Bering and returned
with important collections from
Kamchatka.
amant omnes per orbem Botanicum, qui plantas norunt. Si meae apud Te valent preces, quaeso, Stelleriae nomen admittas. Species itaque Stelleriae sunt duae certissimae:

Stelleria foliis lanceolatis, corollis quinquefidis, quae Tua.

Stelleria foliis linearibus, corollis quadrifidis, quae Passerina.

De Receptaculo communi nulla quaestio. Eo enim aliae Thymelaeae gaudent, aliae carent. Adeoque pro nota specifica non vero generica habeas.

Pentaphylloides, n. 85, est absque omni exceptione genuina species Sibbaldiae et vereor, quod binae vestrae species, majori scilicet et minori flore sint tantum varietates. Hoc idem in pluribus speciebus videmus flore majori et minori.

De Apocyno astrachanensi respondere nequeo. Non floruit primo anno, sed procul dubio radice perennabit in hybernaculo et proximo anno flores dabit.

Promisisti mihi semina Ceratocarpi, sed, quaeso, ne obliviscaris. Nescio, cur istam plantam adeo exoptem.

Doleo, et maxime doleo, quod mihi dixisti Floram Sibiricam prelum [nondum][f][f] : MS1 [Plieninger] subiisse.[9] Vix enim hora aut momentum praeterlabitur, quin de hac cogitem eamque quanto ocyus exoptem. Et cur non exoptarem Floram, quae aperiret mihi orbem integrum, antea numquam visum, numquam cogitatum. Si meae preces umquam apud Te valeant, quaeso, omnibus viribus festines et urgeas editionem, ut videam et habeam formosissimam Floram Tuam. Utinam viverem in diem, quo eam amplecterer! Bone Deus, quot quantisque laboribus et moliminibus hanc devicisti sponsamque aureo vellere difficilius eam obtinuisti? [10] Devia certe peragrasti nullius antea trita solo[g][g] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
solea
Botanici.

De Anandria novas habeo observationes, quas vix adhuc aperire licet, cum praeterita aestate unicum modo florem produxit valde mirabilem. Si vero eundem ipse vidisti, Tu idem senties. Spero similem proximo vere visurum et tum delineaturum, quod hoc vere omisi, cum exspectabam plures similes, sed frustra.[11]

An vidisti SeguieriiSéguier, Jean François
(1703-1784). French. Antiquarian
and botanist, Nimes. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
plantas Veronenses?[12] Librum accepi, sed non ita multas continet nec sufficienter examinatas. Scribit ac si vixisset anno 1712. Omnes errores MicheliiMicheli, Pietro Antonio
(1679-1737). Italian. Botanist, curator
of the botanical garden of Florence.
Before Linnaeus the leading authority on
cryptogames.
, PontederiiPontedera, Giulio (1688-1757).
Italian. Director of the botanical
garden and professor of botany at Padua.
He rejected Linnaeus’s system. Linnaeus
named a family of Narcissoides,
Pontederia, after him.
et ceterorum Italorum studiose collexit et imitatus est.

HalleriHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
imaginem aeri incisam ab eo accepi. Utinam Tuam haberem! Hanc comparare Tibi debes. Haec umbra est unicum, quod in his mundanis persistit, reliqua omnia mutationi obnoxia.

Gratias devotissimas ago pro 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.
Herbario (RuyschiiRuysch, Frederik (1638-1731).
Dutch. Physician and naturalist.
Professor of botany at Amsterdam in
1685, later in anatomy.
ante aliquot annis[h][h] : MS1 [Plieninger reads]
annos
accepi a BielkeoBielke, 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.
). In eo multas pulcherrimas Americae et Asiae plantas reperio, inter alias fere omnes Houstoni[i] e Vera Cruce.[13]

[i][i] : MS1 [added in the margin; there
is an indication to
nomen class="Uline">Stelleriae
]
N.B. Vellem potius Stelleram diceres quam Stelleriam, cum Botanicus dicatur vulgo Steller et Stellerus, non autem Stellerius. Dein alia mihi planta est Stellaria a Stella et stellato flore. Tum magis different vocabula Stellera et Stellaria.[i][i] : MS1 [added in the margin; there
is an indication to
nomen class="Uline">Stelleriae
]

[address] Celeberrimo Botanico / Jo. Georg. Gmelin / Professori Petropolitano / St. Petersburg.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus has received Johann Georg Gmelin’s letter dated 10 October 1746 o.s., 21 October 1746 n.s. It is very short but contains more learning than the whole of Johann Georg Siegesbeck’s ponderous scull.

Linnaeus answers Gmelin’s question about Chamaejasme. Joseph Pitton de Tournefort’s genus Thymelea would be very big, if all the plants from Cape and Africa were included. According to natural law Passerinae, Gnidiae and Lachneae should be excluded. However, there is no doubt that Chamaejasme is affiliated to Daphne, Lachnea, Gnidia and Passerina. Therefore, these should all be placed in the same natural order.

Hieronymus Bock’s Passerina (Caspar Bauhin, Historia plantarum universalis, 3, p. 456), Thymelea Linariae folio vulgaris (Tournefort, Inst., 584), Lithospermum Linariae folio germanicum (Bauhin, Pinax, 259) and Linaria botryoides montana (Colonna, Minus cognitarum stirpium ecphrasis, 1, p. 82, t. 80) should belong to the same genus, since they have a nude one-seeded fruit, which is not berry-bearing, etc. Linnaeus would not call this new genus Passerina or Medusa, but Stelleria after a well merited botanist, Steller, who is loved by everybody. Thus there are two distinct species of Stelleria: Stelleria foliis lanceolatis, corollis quinquefidis, which is Gmelin’s, and Stelleria foliis linearibus, corollis quadrifidis, which is Passerina.

Gmelin’s Pentaphylloides (no. 85) is a genuine species of Sibbaldia and Gmelin’s two species with a big and a small flower respectively are mere varieties. Regarding Apocynum astrachanense Linnaeus still does not know. He reminds Gmelin to send him seeds of Ceratocarpus.

Linnaeus urges Gmelin to finish Flora Sibirica, which will open a new world to him.

Linnaeus has made some new observations regarding Siegesbeck’s Anandria, which he dares not yet disclose. for Anandria produced only one flower last summer. He hopes for a new flower next spring, which he will fully delineate.

Jean François Séguier’s Plantae Veronenses is not up to date. It has all the faults of Pietro Antonio Micheli, Giulio Pontedera and other Italians.

Linnaeus has received Haller’s picture in copperplate. He would like to have Gmelin’s as well.

Linnaeus is grateful for Johann Amman’s herbarium. He received Frederik Ruysch’s herbarium a few years ago through Sten Carl Bielke, which contains lovely plants from America and Asia, among others almost all William Houstoun’s from Veracruz.

upMANUSCRIPTS

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

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] fauci
b.
MS1 [added above the line]
c.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] naturali
d.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] Passerinae
e.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] capite
f.
MS1 [Plieninger]
g.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] solea
h.
MS1 [Plieninger reads] annos
i.
MS1 [added in the margin; there is an indication to nomen Stelleriae]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Johann Georg Gmelin to Linnaeus, 19 December 1746 o.s., 30 December 1746 n.s.Letter L0759, where he points out that Linnaeus’s letter is undated.
2.
See Johann Georg Gmelin to Linnaeus, 10 October 1746 o.s., 21 October 1746 n.s.Letter L0741.
3.
See Linnaeus to Gmelin, 4 April 1744 o.s., 15 April 1744 n.s.Letter L0551, note.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Colonna, Minus cognitarum stirpium ecphrasis .
8.
Medusa was one of the Gorgons. All who met her gaze were turned to stone.
9.
Gmelin, Flora SibiricaGmelin, Johann Georg Flora
Sibirica, sive Historia plantarum
Sibiriae
(St Petersburg 1747-1769).
. For the confusion caused by the omitting of the adverb nondum, see Gmelin to Linnaeus, 19 December 1746 o.s., 30 December 1746 n.s.Letter L0759, and Linnaeus to Gmelin, 14 February 1747 o.s., 25 February 1747 n.s.Letter L0783.
Linnaeus refers to Jason and the Argonauts in their quest of the Golden Fleece.
See Linnaeus to Gmelin, 4 April 1744 o.s., 15 April 1744 n.s.Letter L0551, note.
Séguier, Plantae Veronenses .
Veracrux, Mexico.