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Link: • Nicolaas Laurens Burman to Carl Linnaeus, 18 August 1761 n.s.
Dated 18 Aug. 1761. Sent from Middenmeer (Netherlands) to (). Written in Latin.


Nikolaas Laurens BurmanBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
(1734-1793). Dutch. Professor of
botany. Linnaeusís pupil in Uppsala in
1760. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sends a description of the African plant a shoot of which he sent last month. He considers it to be very similar to Cheiranthus but with some differences, so that he has decided to create a new genus that he wants to call Heliophila due to the nature of the plant.

Burman asks Linnaeus to present this description to the Royal Society of Sciences at Uppsala [Kungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i UppsalaKungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i
Swedish. The Royal
Society of Sciences at Uppsala was
founded in 1728.
] and, if it pleases the Society ["Heliophila, descripta"Burman, Nicolaas Laurens
"Heliophila, descripta",
Nova Acta Regiae Societatis
Scientiarum Upsaliensis
, I (1773).
, was published by the Society in 1773], he will send more descriptions of new plants, and perhaps animals, later.

Burman asks Linnaeus to send American seeds that he may have received from Daniel SolanderSolander, Daniel (1733-1782).
Swedish. Naturalist, explorer. Student
in Uppsala under Linnaeus and Johan
Gottschalk Wallerius. Went to London in
1760. Curator of natural history
collections at the British Museum.
Botanist on Cookís first voyage
1768-1771. Joseph Bankís librarian.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in London or Patrick BrowneBrowne, Patrick (1720-1790).
Irish. Botanist who made six voyages to
the West Indies. In 1756 he published
The Civil and natural history of
(1756). Correspondent of
from Vera Cruz. Burman can send Indian and other seeds in return.

Burman is anxious to have the shrub Nitraria and some stolons of Dodecatheon that, as dried specimens, pleased his father [Johannes BurmanBurman, Johannes (1707-1779).
Dutch. Botanist, professor of medicine
in Amsterdam. Close friend of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] much, but they were both destroyed during the journey. Burman asks Linnaeus to add Rubus arcticus, Chamaemorum and Tulipa sylvestris. He has discussed the vulgati and sylvestres with Linnaeusís son. From the garden plants that Burman brought, only Scrophularia, Circaea and Peloria grow. The latter flowers excellently, but something strange happened. Anthirrinum Linaria has also produced Peloria flowers. Is this from pollen of Verbena or is it Natureís joke.

The Burmans have a new species of Phytolacea in their garden. Burman wrote in his previous letter about the new Geranium species that flowers with white flowers etc., but now another very beautiful Geranium species is sprouting, with leaves that are so strange that Burman lacks words to describe them. Still he describes the plant thoroughly and sends a specimen. The live plants, however, has different leaves. Burman asks Linnaeus for his opinion and whether Carnosum agrees with Myrrhifolium.

Burman describes a new dried plant they received from the Cape of Good Hope. Burman sends a new plant from the big bulbs that they received last year. Burmanís father sent one to Linnaeus.

Burman also sends a flower from a bulb flowering for the first time for four years. It flowered only one day, and the Burmans did not arrive at their estate until the evening that day so that they could not examine it properly.

Burman has asked the bookseller for the Hortus Malabaricus [Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede van Draakesteinís

] Horti Malabarici pars prima [-duodecima & ultima]Rheede van Draakestein, Hendrik
Adriaan van
Horti Malabarici
pars prima [-duodecima & ultima]
[...] Latinis, Malabaricis, Arabicis,
Brachmanum characteribus nominibusque
expressis, adjecta florum, fructuum,
seminumque nativae magnitudinis vera
delineatione, colorum viriumque accurata
descriptione, adornata per [...]
Henricum van Rhede tot Draakestein [...]
et Theodorum Janson. ab Almeloveen, M.D.
Notis adauxit, & commentariis
illustravit Joannes Commelinus
I-XII (Amsterdam 1686 [i.e. 1678]-1703).
], but several illustrations were missing in his copy.

Burman sends an illustration from Jacob LíAdmiralísL´Admiral, Jacob
(1700-1770). Dutch. Engraver and
illustrator of plants and insects.
book [Burman refers to Naauwkeurige WaarneemingenL´Admiral, Jacob
Naauwkeurige Waarneemingen van Veele
Gestaltverwisselende Gekorvene
(Amsterdam, [1740]).
]. It costs 36 florins in Holland, 56 in large format. Burman noticed there an Indian insect probably belonging to the Cerambycidae.

Burman is grateful for the letter dated 5 AugustLetter L2947 that just arrived. He regrets that Linnaeus did not receive the cake earlier and he did not know that it was impossible to import such things into Sweden. He also sent hens, roe and, for Linnaeusís brother in law [Pehr MoraeusMoraeus, Pehr (1726-1792).
Swedish. Linnaeusís brother-in-law,
official of the mining administration.
or Johan Moraeus the YoungerMoraeus the Younger, Johan
(1719-1773). Swedish. Accountant at the
Swedish Board of Mines. Linnaeus´s
brother-in-law. Correspondent of
], two pounds of excellent tobacco. The latter received him once very generously and friendly. Burman did not enclose a letter since they do not understand each other but he has informed Peter Momma in Stockholm since, as he was told by a Mr Lundström [presumably Anders Albrekt LundströmLundström, Anders Albrekt
(1742-1807). Swedish. Student in 1761,
later mine-inspector in Skåne.
], people from Falun more often go to Stockholm than to Uppsala.

Burman was pleased to see what Linnaeus wrote about the necessity of adding synonyms. Burman had done so only for those appearing in illustrations. In future letters he will ask for Linnaeusís opinion so that he can feel more confident. He hopes that Linnaeus will not take offence. For example, is not the illustration of Wachendorfia thyrsiflora in Johann Philip BreyneísBreyne, Johann Philip
(1680-1764). German/Polish. Zoologist
and physician in Danzig. Son of Jacob
Breyne. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Prodromus [Prodromi fasciculi rariorum plantarumBreyne, Johann Philip
Prodromi fasciculi rariorum plantarum
primus et secundus, quondam separatim,
nunc nova hac editione multum desiderata
coniunctim editi, notulisque illustrati.
Accedunt icones rariorum et exoticarum
plantarum aeri incisae, fasciculo olim
promisso destinatae: adiectis nominibus
et succinctis descriptionibus. Quibus
praemittuntur vita et effigies auctoris.
Cura et studio Johannis Philippi
(Danzig 1739).
] more like Wachendorfia Paniculata?

Burman has a dried specimen of Wachendorfia villosa totally differing from Jacob BreyneísBreyne, Jacob (1637-1697).
German. Merchant and naturalist at
Danzig. Father of Johann Philip Breyne.
illustration in his ĒCenturiaĒ [Jacobi Breynii [...] Exoticarum aliarumque minus cognitarum plantarum centuria primaBreyne, Jacob Jacobi Breynii
[...] Exoticarum aliarumque minus
cognitarum plantarum centuria prima, cum
figuris aeneis summo studio
(Gdansk, 1678).
]. He asks for Linnaeusís opinion.

Burman has seen the very beautiful plant Dias at van Royen but he did not know that it was an African plant.

Menispermum flowers every year but it has no fruit.

Burman is pleased to see what Linnaeus wrote about Cape grass and he will see that Linnaeus receives some next year, as seeds or as dried specimens.

The Burmans have received many seeds from India during the past year, but they do not germinate. Burman is also expecting flowers of nux Myristica (nutmeg) and a dried specimen of real tea.

Burman wonders if he should add Joseph Pitton de TournefortísTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
synonyms to the Heliophila, doubtless a variety, if not the same plant.

The plants Burman wrote about were those which Linnaeus had given to him and to which he had promised to add names, but as time was short, Linnaeusís son [Carl Linnaeus the YoungerLinnaeus the Younger, Carl
(1741-1783). Swedish. Botanist. Son of
Carl Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Brother of Elisabeth Christina, Louisa,
Sara Christina and Sophia Linnaea.
Attended his fatherís lectures, had
private tutors (Löfling, Rolander,
Solander and Falk, all Linnaeusís
students). Demonstrator of botany at
Uppsala. Succeeded his
] took them home, the day Burman left, to add the names during the winter. There were at least 200 plants and not those damaged ones Linnaeus found on a bench. They are not worth naming and Linnaeus can throw them away. Burman is referring to the plants which Linnaeus gave to him during the summer, some of them coming from François Boissier de La Croix de SauvagesSauvages, François Boissier de
La Croix de
(1706-1767). French.
Botanist and clergyman and physician,
professor in medicine at Montpellier.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, as well as the moss that Burman had collected in Sweden, the plants given to Burmanís father as a reward for the African plants and Surinam plants from Charles de GeerDe Geer, Charles (1720-1778).
Swedish. Entomologist and natural
history collector, Leufsta Bruk. Member
of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
in Stockholm and Académie des
sciences, Paris. Corresponded with
Réaumur, Bonnet and other
naturalists. Husband of Catharina
Charlotta Ribbing and father of Emanuel
De Geer. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, given to him by Daniel RolanderRolander, Daniel (1725-1793).
Swedish. Naturalist and explorer.
Studied at Uppsala University under
Linnaeus. Went to Surinam in 1755-1756.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Linnaeus should ask his son where to find those plants.

Burman is grateful for the seeds of Geranium altheoides and the Monadelphia species. He is sure that he sent a sprig with two leaves of Leucojum or Heliophila and seeds. He asks Linnaeus to check the seal next time to see if the letter has been opened.

Burman is sorry about the fate of the town Falun but is pleased to see that Linnaeusís mother-in-law [Elisabeth Hansdotter MoraeaMoraea, Elisabeth Hansdotter
(1691-1769). Swedish. Linnaeusís
mother-in-law. Married to Johan Moraeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] did not suffer because of it. He supposes that Linnaeusís ďuncleĒ [Burman means one of brothers-in-law] who has a brick kiln will benefit by it if the town is going to be rebuilt.

It is no trouble for Burman to send seeds if only Linnaeus sends a few from his large collection as he has done in his letters.

Burman and his father send their best regards.

P.S. Burman asks Linnaeus to delete or change whatever he finds less than correct in Burmanís description of Heliophila.


a. (LS, II, 501-504). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


1. Epistolae ineditae Caroli Linnaei (1830), p. 58-62 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1943), vol. II:2, p. 221-225   p.221  p.222  p.223  p.224  p.225.