Linnaeus had received Domenico Vandelli’sVandelli, Domenico (1735-1816).
Italian. Physician and botanist. Left
for Portugal in 1764, where he was a
professor at the university of Coimbra.
He was the founder of Ajuda botanical
garden in Lisboa and of the Coimbra
botanical garden, where he was also the
first director (1773-1791).
Correspondent of Linnaeus. letter of 15 October 1764Letter L3459, the previous day. Linnaeus had wondered what had become of Vandelli, and he was pleased to hear from him.
The seeds that Vandelli had sent had not proved viable, except the Cassia, and Linnaeus admits that it is very difficult to get viable seeds from Brazil.
Linnaeus wishes that he could visit Brazil, a country not visited by anybody except Georg MarkgrafMarkgraf, Georg (1610-1644).
German. Naturalist, scientist and
cartographer. Travelled in Brazil with
Willem Piso to undertake zoological,
botanical, and astronomical expeditions.
and his follower Willem PisoPiso, Willem (1611-1675).
Dutch. Naturalist, physician. Leader of
a scientific expedition to Brazil, with,
among others, Georg Markgraf. [Linnaeus refers to the Historia naturalis Brasiliae Piso, Willem & Georg Markgraf
Historia naturalis Brasiliae
(Leiden, 1648). ]. Then, however, natural history was not well developed, so everything from that time has to be investigated again. He hopes that Vandelli will be able to go there. He is very well suited for the task, being a strenuous collector and an eminent draughtsman. Linnaeus complains about the poor state of botany in Portugal. He wishes that the Portuguese and the Spaniards could become aware of the rich nature in their realms, something that would arouse the envy of others who do not have exotic provinces.
Linnaeus had read Vandelli’s letter like a pleasant dream of a paradise in Portugal.
Now that almost all of Europe has been covered by published floras, only Portugal remains, the India of Europe and very rich in species. Grsyley’s Viridarium Lusitanicum exists, but it is of very inferior quality. [Linnaeus refers to Gabriel Grisley’sGrisley, Gabriel Portuguese.
Chemist. , Viridarium LusitanumGrisley, Gabriel Viridarium
Lusitanum in quo arborum fruticum &
herbarum differentiae onomasti insertae,
quas ager Ulyssiponensis ultra citraque
Tagum ad trigesimum usque lapidem
profert (Lisbon 1661). ]. Some idea of the richness of Portugal is given by Joseph Pitton de TournefortTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris. in his Institutiones rei herbariaeTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
Institutiones rei herbariae, I-II
(Paris 1700). but no descriptions or delineations are given there. Linnaeus hopes that somebody will undertake the task.
The zoophyte mentioned by Vandelli is Alcyonium, and that has already been published. Linnaeus cites the work concerned [written by John EllisEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
], ”An account of the sea pen, or Pennatula phosphorea of Linnaeus”Ellis, John ”An account of the
sea pen, or Pennatula phosphorea of
Linnaeus; likewise a description of a
new species of sea pen, found on the
coast of South-Carolina, with
observations on sea-pens in general. In
a letter to the honourable Coote
Molesworth, Esq; M.D. and F.R.S”,
Philosophical Transactions of the
Royal Society of London, 53 (1764),
After a few comments on the medical notes from Vandelli, where he admits that the use of Cicuta has ceased, Linnaeus asks Vandelli to observe the leafing of the elms in Lisbon.
He also wants him to send a flower from the Draco tree, growing in the Alcantara garden.
Linnaeus asks a question about a detail in Lentiscus, which is very common in Portugal.