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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L1282 • Carl Linnaeus to Johann Georg Gmelin, 14 May 1751 n.s.
Dated 3 maji 1751. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to (). Written in Latin.

Viro illustri,
J[OHANNI] G[EORGIO] GMELIN[O],
Amico aeternum colendo,
s[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Car[olus] Linnaeus.

Heri accepi fasciculum cum oratione,[1] Dissertatione et epistola. Pro omnibus grates rependo maximas.

Causam Peloriae[2] detexi et in Philosophia Botanica indicavi.[3] Mira res nec usitata a natura in reliquis plantis, attamen contemplatione dignissima. In plantis lectis prima aestate omnes plantae flores erant uniformes.

Dari plantas hybridas adhuc magis magisque inducor ex observationibus copiosissimis. 50 plantas vulgares credo sic productas. Exempla succurrunt evidentissima in paucis. Adeoque per analogiam forte in reliquis valeret argumentatio. Inde varietatum singularium constans lex et natura.

Legi pluries hac nocte iter Tuum Sibiricum cum maximo oblectamento. Nullus plura de re herbaria meruit quam Tu, qui integros 10 annos inter Barbaros Florae causa transegisti.[4]

De Cotino mira narras. Ego pluries vidi flores semper 5-fidos, 5-andros. At fructum tulit numquam. BoerhaviusBoerhaave, 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.
credebat dari in hac sexum diversum. An Tu feminam habeas? An illa floribus 4-fidis? Dicas, rogo, utrum panicula tuae arboris absoluta florescentia evadat lanata nec non? Si hoc, eadem omnino arbor est cum nostra vulgatissima specie.

Misi bis semina a Te desiderata. Responsiones non habui. Utinam non aegre tuleras [sic] impensas tabellarii, quas evitare nequivi. Si hoc, quaeso, dicas. Tuam amicitiam instar omnium magni facio. Nitraria ScoberiSchober, Gottlob (1770-1739).
German. Doctor of medicine, travelled in
Russia.
pulchre crescit in Horto, sed non floret. Nescio, quo referam plantam. Ex fructu nequit esse Lycium, cum ille monospermos; de flore non viso nulla mihi idea.

Habeo in horto plantam Camtschatcensem, quae est Salsola frutescens foliis pilosis inermibus. Omnes rami decumbunt undique virgis tripedalibus trunco brevissimo velut detruncato egressi. Floret omni autumno, sed numquam fert fructum ob brumam ingruentem.

Hodie apud me floret pulcherrima planta, quae depingitur a Plukenet[io]Plukenet, Leonard (1642-1706).
British. Botanist and physician.
Botanist to Mary II (wife of William
III). Superintendent of Hampton Court.
Phyt[ographiae] t. 79 f. 6, cujus herba omnino Primulae veris, flores exacte Cyclaminis.[5]

Exspecto quotidie D[ominum] Kalmium]Kalm, 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.
ex Canada, qui ante mensem accessit Londinum, onustum collectione insigni plantarum non modo siccatarum plantarum, sed et seminibus ac plantis vivis.[6]

Ante biduum discessit alter meus discipulus D[ominus] LoeflingLöfling, Pehr (1729-1756).
Swedish. Botanist and explorer. Studied
under Linnaeus. Went to Spain in 1751
and took part in the Spanish expedition
to Venezuela in 1754, where he died.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, juvenis egregius, qui a Rege Hispaniae vocatus est, ut per Hispaniam Plantas et Animalia describat.[7]

D[ominus] D[octor] HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
(1722-1752). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist, explorer. Studied under
Linnaeus and Lars Roberg 1741-1749. Went
to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus,
Rhodes and the island of Chios. Died
near Smyrna. Son of Magnus and Helena
Maria Hasselquist, brother of Andreas
Hasselquist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
ex Aegypto nuper misit pulcherrimam descriptionem Aspidis et Cerastis, quorum Historia nullibi digna et genuina existit. Ambo corniculis gaudent, sed in altero ipsi dentes molares, ut in Babyroussa sue perforant cranium.[8]

Cum in societate recitaretur ejusdem D[omini] D[octoris] Hasselquist descriptio Muris Arabici, qui pedibus anticis numquam terram attingebat, a me petiere socii, ut ad Te scriberem et efflagitarem descriptionem istius Cuniculi Daurici salientis cauda longissima, quae habetur in museo Petropol[itano] pag. 344 no. 122, 123, ut ex Tua descriptione constaret, utrum ejus et Tua essent eaedem an distinctae species.[9] Sperabant Te non aegre laturum, quod Te dignissimo etiam socio nostrae societatis Reg[iae] Upsaliensis haec peterent.[10]

Alter tomus Florae Tuae desideratissimae nondum provenit ad nostros Bibliopolas.[11]

Quae de Nereide phosphorante s[ive] scolopendra marina lucente [12] nuper scripsere Itali in dubium vocatur a Gallis, qui credant aquam marinam ex se ipsa lucere, adeoque constitui propediem de hoc argumento dissertiunculam edere.[13]

Si possem ad Te mittere dissertationem de plantis viginti Camts[c]hatcensibus, lubenter facerem, nisi ea onerarem Te per tabellarium.[14] Nescio, utrum vidisti plantas has, ut nuper audio lectas a StelleroSteller, Georg Wilhelm
(1709-1746). German. Voyager, who
sailed with Vitus Bering and returned
with important collections from
Kamchatka.
, quamvis in schedula erat adscriptum, quod lectae essent praeterito anno a LercheoLerche, Johann Jacob
(1703-1780). German. Naturalist.
Military physician in Russian service at
Astrakan. Travelled in Persia.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Certe ex his vix duas vidi in Tua collectione.

Miratus sum plures plantas Sibiricas reperi in Canada utpote Claytoniam, Anemonem, Paridem foliis ternis,[15] Kleiniam Hort[i] Ups[aliensis],[16] Heucheram, Uvulariam caule perfoliato, Spiraeam, Asplenium Pluk[eneti] t. 105 f. 8, Lycopodum Dill[enii] musc[orum] 63 f. 11,[17] Swertia tuam corollis quadricornibus, quam sub novo genere descripsit D[ominus] Kalm.

Inter praedictas plantas reperi Mitellam foliis ternatis, quae ita exacte refert mitellam scapo nudo Hort[i] Cliff[ortiani],[18] ut eandem esse facile dixissem, nisi folia fuissent ternata et in caule duo, et, quod majus est, alterum loculamentum capsulis erat duplo majus perfecte ut in americana. Mirum si haec planta Camtschatcensis non enata esset et prognata ex Mitella americana caule nudo tamquam matre et ex Rubo saxatili tamquam patre.

Hodie floruit tuum Herocloe. Videtur mihi habere multa communia cum Holco.

Vive diu felicissime! Saluta suavissimam conjugem Tuam![19] Faxit Tuus, ut ex vestro thalamo enascuntur nati candidissimo patri simillimi.

Dabam Upsaliae d[ie] 3 maji 1751.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus has received a package from Johann Georg Gmelin with among other things the latter’s Sermo academicus de novorum vegetabilium post creationem divinam exortu.

Linnaeus wonders at Peloria. He is growing more and more convinced that hybrid plants exist.

Linnaeus has read Gmelin’s Flora Sibirica with great interest.

Gmelin has told Linnaeus strange things about Cotinus. Linnaeus has often seen plants that are 5-cleft and have five male flowers. But these never produce any fruit.

Linnaeus has sent seeds twice, but heard nothing from Gmelin.

Gottlob Schober’s Nitraria grows in the Uppsala University Botanical Garden, but it does not flower.

Linnaeus has a Salsola frutescens foliis pilosis inermibus, a plant from Kamchatka.

Linnaeus has a beautiful plant that is in bloom and has been depicted in Leonard Plukenet’s Phytographia vol., 79, f. 6.

Linnaeus expects Pehr Kalm every day. Pehr Löfling left for Spain two days ago. He was invited by the Spanish King to describe plants and animals. From Egypt Fredrik Hasselquist has sent beautiful descriptions of an Aspis (”asp”) and a Cerastes (”horned viper”); they are both horned. When Hasselquist’s description of Mus Arabicus (”the Arabic mouse”) was read in the Royal Swedish Society of Sciences at Uppsala, the members wanted Linnaeus to write to Gmelin to ask for a description of Cuniculus Dauricus (”the Daurian rabbit”), that is found in Museum imperiale Petropolitanum, p. 344, nos. 122 and 123.

The second volume of Flora Sibirica cannot yet be bought in Sweden.

What the Italians say about Nereis phosporans or Scolopendra marina lucens is doubted by the French who believe the sea-water to shine in and of itself. Linnaeus will write a dissertation about it.

Linnaeus would like to send his Plantae rariores Camschatcenses. He does not know whether Gmelin has seen these plants, which are often said to be collected by Georg Wilhelm Steller, though a note says that Johann Jacob Lerche gathered them last year.

Linnaeus is surprised that many Siberian plants are found in Canada, Claytonia, Anemone, Paris, etc.

Linnaeus compares Mitella foliis ternatis with Mitella scapo nudo in Hortus Cliffortianus; they are similar but not the same.

Gmelin’s Herocloe flowers.

Linnaeus sends his regards to Gmelin’s wife.

upMANUSCRIPTS

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

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
2.
Linnaeus thought that Peloria (Gr. for “monstrous”) was a hybridization. But it is just an epigenetic mutation, which has changed the symmetry of the flower from bilateral to radial. See Linnaeus, Dissertatio botanica de PeloriaLinnaeus, Carl Dissertatio
botanica de Peloria
, diss., resp. D.
Rudberg (Uppsala 1744). Soulsby no.
1395.
and Linnell, “Några ord om Linnés Peloria och dess locus classicus”Linnell, T. “Några ord om
Linnés Peloria och dess locus
classicus”, SLÅ 35 (1952),
62-70.
, 62-70, and Gardiner, “Linnaeus’s species concept and his views on evolution”Gardiner, B. G. “Linnaeus’s
species concept and his views on
evolution”, The Linnean 17
(2001), 24-36.
, 28.
3.
4.
In 1733 Gmelin left for Siberia and in 1743 he returned with great botanical treasures, on basis of which Gmelin wrote Flora SibiricaGmelin, Johann Georg Flora
Sibirica, sive Historia plantarum
Sibiriae
(St Petersburg 1747-1769).
.
5.
6.
In 1745 Pehr Kalm was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1747 he was appointed associate professor of natural history and economy in Åbo, Finland, a post which he could not accept until 1752. In 1747 Linnaeus presented his plan that plants should be collected on the basis of economical benefit. Thus in 1748-1751 Kalm travelled in North America to gather herbs and plants in those provinces that had the same climate as Sweden. Kalm published his observations in En Resa til Norra Amerika. There is a modern edition, Pehr Kalms resa till Norra Amerika ånyo utg. af F. Elfving och G. Schauman .
7.
Pehr Löfling went to Spain in 1751 invited by King Ferdinad VIFerdinand VI, (1713-1759).
Spanish. King of Spain. Reigned from
1746 to 1759.
. In 1754 he took part in the Spanish expedition to Venezuela, where he died. His botanical results were published in Iter Hispanicum, eller resa til spanska länderna uti Europa och AmericaLöfling, Pehr Iter
Hispanicum, eller resa til spanska
länderna uti Europa och America

(Stockholm 1758).
.
8.
Babirussa is a species of wild hog found in the islands of Eastern Asia. The upper canine teeth in the male pierce the lip and grow upwards and backwards like horn. It is also called Hog-deer, Indian hog, Horned hog.
9.
The Royal Swedish Society of Sciences at Uppsala, founded in 1727.
Gmelin, Flora SibiricaGmelin, Johann Georg Flora
Sibirica, sive Historia plantarum
Sibiriae
(St Petersburg 1747-1769).
. Vol. II “1749” was published early 1752.
Griselinus, Observations sur la Scolopendre marine luisant .
Linnaeus, Plantae rariores Camschatcenses .
Gmelin in several letters to Linnaeus mentions that he strongly suspects that Canada and Siberia were once united by a landbridge, since the similarities in plants are so striking.