Carl Linnaeus to Carl Gustaf Ekeberg,
18 August 1763 n.s.
L3284. Carl LinnaeusCarl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Swedish.
to Carl Gustaf EkebergCarl Gustaf Ekeberg (1716-1784).
Linnaeus exclaims that he has never been so exalted by any letter as by Carl Gustaf Ekeberg’sEkeberg, Carl Gustaf
Linnaeus wonders about a living tea tree, exclaiming: “Is it possible? Is it really the tea tree?” Linnaeus is certain that it would never arrive undamaged in Uppsala. Fate is always awaiting its chance to destroy things. Linnaeus says that although he is old he would still dare to travel to Gothenburg and himself carry the tree back to Uppsala in his arms if it were a genuine tea tree. Linnaeus entreats Ekeberg to give the tree every possible care, even though he fears that the tree is instead Cassine, which is similar to tea in its foliage and has been named in Holland as the tea tree.
Linnaeus states that if leaves two and three are always apposite, as in Figure 1, then it is certainly Cassine, but if the leaves are placed as in Figure 2 then it is genuine tea.
Linnaeus closes by saying that he will be unable to find peace neither night nor day until he has met Ekeberg with the tea tree and the insects from the Cape of Good Hope, exhorting God to guard them safely.
1. "Thebuskens införande i Sverige 1763: Tvĺ bref af Carl von Linné" (1893), p. 13 .