Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus,
17 September 1765 n.s.
L3635. Peter CollinsonPeter Collinson (1694-1768). British.
Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
Collinson is glad that he could offer Linnaeus something new, which the Chinese Argus had proved to be.
Since Linnaeus is very interested in the Saracena, Collinson sends him two leaves of it, stuffed with moss to keep their form. Inside the leaves, reservoirs are formed to retain rain water. The leaves are packed in moss, and the seed vessels of the latest flowers are added.
Collinson thinks of other such mechanisms to collect rain, and he mentions the Dipsacus and the species of Viscum found in the West Indies, which retain a lot of water in their concave leaves. This plant has roots that spread on the bark of trees and do not go into the stem, as the species found in England do.
Linnaeus had surprised Collinson with his report of the cold and wet summer, for Collinson had had very hot and dry months May, June and July with only six or seven days of rain in three months. All the grass looks like the countryside of Spain or Africa, and the thermometer often reached 84 or 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Collinson cannot stand heat, so he has longed to be in Lapland.
After some rain in the beginning of August, hot and dry weather continued up to the day of the letter. Hay is short, oats and barley have not given much, but wheat has come in plenty and was harvested two weeks earlier than usual. Peaches, nectarines, figs, grapes and pears ripen early and tasty, and many exotic shrubs slower finely.
Collinsonís garden is very beautiful. However, much work has been used to water it every evening.
Collinson wishes Linnaeus good health and tranquillity of mind.
P.S. 1. Collinson again reminds Linnaeus that he has not received the Systema naturae, 10th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
P.S. 2. Collinson also sends his regards to Linnaeusís son [Carl Linnaeus the Younger Linnaeus the Younger, Carl
P. S. 3. Added on the cover sheet, some information:Many leaves grow around the bud of the Saracena to catch water and dew, but many insects drown in these cisterns.The leaves enclosed come from the plant of last year, for this yearís leaves are not yet mature.
P.S. 4. Collinson also encloses specimens of the Erica Cantabrica that flowers in Collinsonís garden. It was raised from seeds obtained from Spain last year, and it is an elegant plant.