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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L3513 • Carl Linnaeus to Claude Richard, 23 December 1764 n.s.
Dated 1764, D. 23 december.. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Versailles (France). Written in Latin.

Viro Praestantissimo,
Domino CLAUDIO RICHARDO,
Praefecto Hortii Regii,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Carol[us] a Linné Equ[es]
Acad[emiae] Paris[iorum] Soc[ius].

Quas ad me nuper dedisti literas cum insigni rariorum plantarum thesauro rite accepi, et pro his omnibus ac singulis devotissimas persolvo.

Audivi dudum multa de stupendis Tuis divitiis plantarum vivarum et nihil magis exoptavi, quam ut Tibi rite innotescerem. Habeo et ego hortum hodie ultra 4, 000 plantis florentem, sed in climate gelidissimo sub novercante Flora Balearica semina certe mihi fuere omni thesauro chariora, cum rarius et vix unquam contingat ejusmodi obtinere. Gratulor Tibi de dilectissimo filio, qui laborioso itinere potuit tot gazas colligere et iis Europaeos hortos ornare, cui plurimum salutes oro. Exopto videre gratissimam aestatem, quae ad harum plantarum adspectum quotidie mihi in memoriam revocabit Tuum favorem.

Petiisti a me varia semina in caespitibus uliginosis apud nos nascentia, quae quidem ipse in hortum introducere nequeo uti Ledum, Chamaemorum, Andromedas.

Petiisti varias plantas alpinas, quae in hortis semina non maturant vel quas non habeo, qui ultra 200 milliaribus ab Alpibus habito, e. gr. Azaleam, Diapensiam &c.

Cimicifugam per 20 annos e Tartaria quaesivi frustra. Hoc anno circa autumnum primum accepi; si floreat et semina perficiat, certo certius accipies. Est enim haec planta et in oeconomia et medicina maximi momenti.

Si scirem, quas plantas meas non haberes, insigni numero forte Tuum augerem hortum. At vero facile non est vel mei vel Tui catalogum brevi sistere.

Claytoniam Sibiricam habeo forte solus in Europa, quae quot annis se sponte serit, adeoque ejus semina non collegi, praesertim cum matura elastice exsiliant, nec facile colligantur; si vixero, in aestatem habebis; sed in loco calce impraegnato serenda.

Saxifraga crassifolia laete apud me prognoscitur et est profecto pulcherrima, sed semina nunquam maturat; vellem lubenter ad Te mittere radicem vivam, modo scirem, qua ratione; per tabellarium vix fieri potest, cum radix sit crassitie pollicis et longa.

Cornum Suecicam & Linnaeam et Trientalem, quae apud nos sponte nascuntur, multoties tentavi vivo caespite introducere in hortum, sed semper intra tres menses periere.

Rubum arcticum habeo in horto, ubi egregie maturat baccas, sed semina sata nunquam in horto germinarunt; vivas radices accipias, quamprimum quis adeat Parisios.

An habeas verum Rhabarborum officinarum, quod apud me frequens, nempe Rheum palmatum, et crescit ac sese multiplicat uti Paeonia tenuifolia.

Stupefactus vidi e Milleri dictionario, quam multas rarissimas plantas a Te habuit, imprimis Peruvianas, nec capio, unde Tu tot obtinere potuisti.

Cum Te melius nullus intelligat Horticulturae arcana, quaerere liceat, quare Plantae Virginicae apud nos nolunt producere et perficere semina, cum alias hic satis commode vivunt.

Si habeas semina Pentapestes phoeniceae, Senecionis elegantis, Asteris chinensis flore pleno, quaeso, in literis aliquot mittas, cum unico nox gelida in mense augusto proxume praeterlapso has apud me destruxit.

Thea mea viget, sed etiamnum non floruit.

Si semina Zizaniae apud me germinare possunt, eo me reddidisti ad summum erga Te cultum, quamdiu vixero. Nullum magis esset mihi in votis. Quaesivi hujus recentia semina per totam vitam, sed frustra. Videntur certe Tua esse recentia, nec capio, unde obtinuisti.

Fewillea et Gouania (Bannisteria lupuloides) domingensis quotannis luxuriant et per totum hybernaculum se exerunt, nec tamen florent; nescio, qua causa.

Vale et diu vive floreque felix!

Upsaliae 1764, d[ie] 23 Decembr[is].

Si aliquando rescribas, inscribatur Epistola: Societati Regiae Scientiarum Upsaliae.[a][a] : MS 1 Si ... Upsaliae [added in
the margin on fol. 1
]

A Monsieur
Mons[ieur] Claude Richard
Jardinier Botaniste du Roy
a Trianon.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus thanks Claude RichardRichard, Claude (1705-1784).
French. Botanist. The king’s gardener at
the Trianon. Father of Antoine Richard.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
for the letter [October 1764Letter L5315] with a large number of plants.

Linnaeus has heard of Richard’s large stock of living plants and had longed to become acquainted with Richard. Linnaeus also has a garden [the Uppsala University Botanic Garden] with more than 4,000 plants, but in a cold climate.

The seeds from the Balearics were more worth than the others, as it is almost impossible to obtain material from there. Richard is to be congratulated on his son [Antoine RichardRichard, Antoine (1735-1807).
French. Gardener at the Trianon. The son
of Claude Richard.
], who had undertaken a laborious journey and been able to collect such things and spread them among gardens in Europe, and he sends his greetings to the young man. Linnaeus looks forward to the summer, when the aspect of these flowers will remind him of Richard’s favours.

Richard had asked for species growing in wet regions in Sweden, but Linnaeus has not been able to introduce them into his garden so he can not comply.

Richard had also asked for Alpine plants, which either do not produce seeds in gardens or are not found in Linnaeus’s garden, situated more than 1,200 miles from the Alps. One of them, Cimicifuga, has recently been acquired, and if it flowers and produces seeds next summer, Richard will surely receive some.

If Linnaeus knew which of his plants that Richard did not have, he could make a considerable contribution to Richard’s stock. However, it is difficult and time-consuming to establish a list of either garden.

Linnaeus goes into details on some species: Claytonia sibirica is found in no garden except Linnaeus’s, and it gives seeds each year. However, the seeds are difficult to gather, as they are ejected from the plant. Richard will, however, receive some next year, to be sown in lime-rich soil. Saxifraga crassifolia is a beautiful plant, but it does not produce mature seeds. Linnaeus could send a live root, but it is difficult to send by mail since it is as thick as a thumb and rather long. Cornus suecica, Linnaea and Trientalis are wild in Sweden, and Linnaeus has tried to transfer them to the garden, but without success. They always die within three months. Rubus arcticus produces ripe fruits in the garden, but the seeds are not viable. Richard will receive live roots as soon as Linnaeus finds somebody leaving for Paris, who could take them. Does Richard have the true Rhabarborus officinarum, which grows like Paeonia tenuifolia?

Linnaeus had seen in Philip Miller’sMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
The Gardeners dictionary, 7th editionMiller, Philip The Gardeners
dictionary; containing the methods of
cultivating and improving the kitchen,
fruit and flower garden, etc.
, 7th
edition (London 1756-1759).
, that he had received many rare plants from Richard, among them such from Peru, and Linnaeus wonders how Richard acquired them.

Since Richard is a very experienced gardener, Linnaeus asks him why plants from Virginia do not grow in his garden while others from the same climate thrive.

Linnaeus asks for seeds of some species that had been killed in his garden by one night of frost in August.

Linnaeus’s tea bush is alive but it has not yet flowered.

Linnaeus is very eager to make his seeds of Zizania germinate, and if Richard can help him with that, he will be thankful to Richard all his life.

Fevillea and Gouania grow well each year and hibernate well, but they do not flower. Linnaeus does not know why that is so.

Linnaeus gives Richard the advice to use the address of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala [Kungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i UppsalaKungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i
Uppsala,
Swedish. The Royal
Society of Sciences at Uppsala was
founded in 1728.
], as he did to all his correspondents.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (Bibliothèque municipale, Versailles). [1] [2] [3]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS 1 Si ... Upsaliae [added in the margin on fol. 1]