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Link: • Otto von Münchhausen to Carl Linnaeus, 1 September 1753 n.s.
Dated 1 Sept. 1753. Sent from Steyerberg (Germany) to (). Written in Latin.


Otto von Münchhausen sends Linnaeus a Boerhavia. It convenes with the description of Valeriana no. 13 in Linnaeus’s Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 480.
, but the flowers are different, being more like Circaea.

The seeds of Equisetum are discussed. There is a resemblance with the seeds of the fungus Lycopodium. Equisetum should be referred to the ferns rather than the mosses.

The seeds of Cuscuta have withered away.

If Tulipa lutea vulgaris is a distinct species, there is even more reason to regard another species in Münchhausen’s “Catalogus”, Tulipa petalis lanceolato-acuminatis patentissimis flore nutante, as a distinct species. [Münchhausen’s “Catalogus” was never realized.]

Münchhausen is still very uncertain in determining species and varieties. If a constant difference in leaves and habitus is enough to create species, genera such as Citrus and Pyrus can be divided into many species, of which there are many varieties. Münchhausen therefore considers Aurantium indicum, commonly Pompelmoes, and its six varieties to constitute a most distinct species through the 4-petalled flower and the 4-divided calyx, etc.

Seeds of black, sweet, acid and white cherries produce varieties of the same species, but one species never degenerates to another.

The Paeoniae have flowered for the first time and again given complete seeds.

Fragraria virginiana seems to be a distinct species.

Münchhausen mentions some new plants that flower: Crotalaria, Leonurus, Lysimachia flore albo, etc.

Linnaeus separates the male and female Clutia through the petiolate and sessile leaves. However, Münchhausen’s plants have different leaves.

Münchhausen is surprised that Linnaeus says nothing in Philosophia botanicaLinnaeus, Carl Philosophia
botanica, in qua explicantur fundamenta
botanica cum definitionibus partium,
(Stockholm 1751). Soulsby no.
about the sap of the plants and its distinguishing feature.

Münchhausen has read the first volume of Linnaeus’s Species plantarum with great interest. He longs to receive Linnaeus’s Museum TessinianumLinnaeus, Carl Museum
Tessinianum, opera illustrissimi comitis
Dom. Car. Gust. Tessin [...]
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 1081.

Münchhausen considers Albrecht von Haller’sHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
catalogue of the plants in the Göttingen botanic garden [Münchhausen refers to the Enumeratio plantarum horti regii et agri GottingensisHaller, Albrecht von
Enumeratio plantarum horti regii et
agri Gottingensis aucta et emendata

(Göttingen, 1753).
] a work unworthy of Haller.

Linnaeus had asked Münchhausen why the ovary is single and the seminal vesicles paired in the Perca. Münchhausen has not yet fully examined the matter, but he believes this to be the same in all fish and birds [see Linnaeus to Münchhausen, 29 May 1753Letter L5904].

The fact that the rudiment of the offspring lies hidden in the ovule contradicts nature. All experiments and even hybrid animals show the opposite; hybrid animals are always exactly similar to the father with exception of the exterior form and colour. Therefore, the mule has all the characteristics of the ass, for example, tail and ears. Münchhausen develops his thoughts about the ovule.

Münchhausen has examined many specimens of Serpentes, but the number of rings is not constant.

P.S. Münchhausen sends an illustration of his garden.


a. original holograph (LS, X, 369-370). [1] [2] [3]