-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Carl Linnaeus to Johannes Burman, 17 December 1764 n.s.
Dated 1764 d 17 Decembr. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Amsterdam (Netherlands). Written in Latin.


Linnaeus is still weak from illness but he has examined the plants Johannes BurmanBurman, Johannes (1707-1779).
Dutch. Botanist, professor of medicine
in Amsterdam. Close friend of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sent last summer and found some new genera. Some were incomplete, and Linnaeus cannot do much if the fructification is missing. Though still weak, he has made descriptions of the Indian plants and he has returned all the plants through councillor Engelbert GotherGother, Engelbert (1708-1775).
Swedish. Director at the Rörstrand
porcelain factory.
in Stockholm who also delivered them. He has kept the Cape plants as a gift as Burman told him in his letter [Burman to Linnaeus 18 August 1764Letter L3436]. Linnaeus can never praise him enough for that. He has had no answer from Burman if he has received the plants and the letter with descriptions.

Eight days ago Linnaeus received from a ship two boxes full of rare plants but without any letter so that he cannot see where they come from. One contains about 400 Indian plants without numbers but with Indian names added. He cannot recognize the handwriting. It does not seem to be Burmanís or his sonís [Nicolaas Laurens BurmanBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
(1734-1793). Dutch. Professor of
botany. Linnaeusís pupil in Uppsala in
1760. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] writing. Perhaps it is by the man who sent it to them. Linnaeus has inspected them and they have perfect fructification.

The other box contains more than 100 Cape plants, very rare and beautiful, most of them with fructification. From the numbers he can see that they come from Burman, Johan Frederik GronoviusGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeusís benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
or Adriaan van van RoyenRoyen, Adriaan van (1705-1779).
Dutch. Professor of botany, director of
the botanical garden of Leiden.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
since they are Dutch. Because there are several specimens of each plant, Linnaeus asks Burman if he can take some for his herbarium, if they belong to Burman. He asks Burman to answer as soon as possible. He has taken nothing from the first box.

On December 20 Linnaeus finishes his academic work and he can devote his time completely to these plants. Linnaeus will first deal with the Cape plants, then the Indian ones. That will take more than a month.

Linnaeus took a rapid look at the Cape plants and found two splendid plants that especially pleased him, Mathernia and Leucadendrum. He gives a description of them.

The plant number 117 ressembles Burmanís Wachendorfia but it should be classified as an Ixia.


a. original holograph (KVA, Carl von Linnťs arkiv, 2101-2104). [1] [2] [3] [4]


1. Epistolae ineditae Caroli Linnaei (1830), p. 80-82 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1943), vol. II:2, p. 174-176   p.174  p.175  p.176.