Carl Linnaeus to Claude Richard,
23 December 1764 n.s.
L3513. Carl LinnaeusCarl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Swedish.
to Claude RichardClaude Richard (1705-1784). French.
Linnaeus thanks Claude RichardRichard, Claude (1705-1784).
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).
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).
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
1. Correspondence inédite de Linné avec Claude Richard et Antoine Richard (1863), p. 30-33 .