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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 2 March 1759 n.s.
Dated March. 2. 1759. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


I rec’d your letter relating to the Characters of the Warneria, taken from a dried Specimen which you found among your Oriental Plants, and am glad to find it comes so near to the description which I formerly sent you, especially the first. I am well satisfied that when the Limb of the Petal is divided into 5 Segments, there are 5 Antherae and am convinced that the Filaments adhere to the inside of the Tube, because I separated them myself, but these I find you do not consider as filaments unless they are loose from the substance of the tube. As to the Style in that Flower that had 6 segments in its Limb, it supported 3 distinct Stigmata of an oval figure and fleshy substance, but D[octo]r Birken easily separated the style into 3 distinct ones, by taking hold of each Stigma, and drawing it asunder from the others, these three parts of the Style were inserted into the upper part of a particular Loculament full of seed, one part of the Style terminating in the top of each loculament. I do not doubt but those that have only two Stigmata, have also but two loculaments, as you have described them.

We both concluded that the narrowness of the tube had occasion’d the 3 styles to grow together, but I am persuaded you have very properly distinguish’d this matter, and have made it very clear to me. As to the Seeds, M[iste]r Warner has promisd me to let me dissect a flower next Summer before him to convince him of what M[iste]r Gustavus Brander, D[octo]r Berken, and I have seen, for M[iste]r Miller will not admit that it has any seeds, nor that any seeds have been seen by any one. I have shewn your Letter to both M[iste]r Warner and M[iste]r Miller, and M[iste]r Miller says he will write to you, and send you the specimen of a new Genus which he has called Warneria. The plant you mention is his Watsonia, which I find you remarkd on the outside of your Letter. Since then M[iste]r Warner desires this rare plant which I had called Warneri, may not bear that Name. I hope you will have no objection to the calling it Augusta, by way of eminence among flowers, as you have call’d the Methonica, Gloriosa, for I know you stick firmly to the Rules you have laid down.

But if you have any material objection to this, be so kind as to call it Portlandia, after that eminent patroness of Botany and natural history the Dutchess of Portland, who is a great admirer of your Excellent and Learn’d Works, by which you have open’d the Eyes and understandings of Mankind to contemplate and properly arrange[a][a] : MS 1 <range> arrange the works of Nature.

I have now a compleat collection of all the English Fucus’s, which I wait to lay before your Disciple M[iste]r Solander, that he may assist me in your method of Classing them. I have many observations on their fructification to communicate to him, and shall send you some specimens where I have duplicates of the rarer kinds.

I am now making some further[b][b] : MS 1 further [added above the
experiments to preserve seeds in long Voyages, and have singled out the Chesnut as one that is soon liable to rot, to see if it is possible to preserve them in a vegetative State for the next year. If this succeeds, it will give me great Pleasure, and I hope be of great use to the better introducing all the rarer seeds from abroad. I was led into the following experiments by a Friend of mine, who some time ago rec’d some seeds of the Magnolia Altissima of Catesby, preservd in an earthen vessel in Tallow, these grew very freely, when scarce any seeds of the same kind, that were sent in sand or earth, came up. These seeds that were thus preservd in Tallow were in it 4 Months, and were sent from S[outh] Carolina.

Some of the Chesnuts I have pour’d melted Tallow on and over them, in a cylindrical earthen glazed vessel. The heat of the liquid and the following were [c][c] : MS 1 were [added above the
no hotter than to make it fluid, which is not much hotter than the human blood. Others I have put into the same kind of[d][d] : MS 1 the same kind of [added
above the line
vessels, and pourd melted Bees-Wax, Others Melted Tallow and Bees-Wax in equal quantities, Others Melted Rosin and Bees-Wax. These vessels I have placd on a wooden Shelf in a Cellar, and inverted them. When the Summer heats are over I shall examine in what condition some of them are.

I believe if these vessels were immersd in your Saline mixture, it would be of service to prevent putrefaction, and perhaps to keep them cooler. I have given these methods to some Gentlemen just gone to China, to preserve the Tea, Mangoes, &c.

I should be glad of your sentiments, and that you would study this great point. I have requested all my friends to send over the Tea plants in the Manner Kaempfer describes. Adieu, D[ear]S[ir],

I am most heartily your Sincere Friend,
John Ellis

London March 2. 1759.

To The Royal Society
at Upsal in Sweden


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 100-101). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 120-123   p.120  p.121  p.122  p.123.


MS 1 <range> arrange
MS 1 further [added above the line]
MS 1 were [added above the line]
MS 1 the same kind of [added above the line]