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Link: • Ferdinando Bassi to Carl Linnaeus, 15 March 1770 n.s.
Dated Idibus Martii An:1770. Sent from Bologna (Italia) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Ferdinando BassiBassi, Ferdinando
(c.1710-1774). Italian. Director of the
botanical garden of Bologna.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sends Linnaeus seeds of Dalechiampia scandens, which Linnaeus had asked for. Bassi thinks that it is strange that this plant has died in so many gardens, for his specimen lives and prospers. Bassi also sends leaves of Ambrosinia, and he regrets that he cannot send a dried flower but he has just one specimen of that left, and he does not want to send it away. Bassi boasts that he has a richer herbarium than any other Italian botanist. However, he asks Linnaeus to send him dried specimens, in particular from the material Linnaeus received from the Cape of Good Hope region. Bassiís nephew [Giovanni Battista BassiBassi, Giovanni Battista
(17??-17??). Italian. Cousin of
Ferdinando Bassi. Correspondent of
] will be glad to act as an intermediary in the exchange.

Bassi agrees with Linnaeus that Bassia is a Salsola. Bassi had received several seeds from Vitaliano DonatiDonati, Vitaliano (1713-1763).
Italian. Professor of natural history,
Turin. Travelled in the Balkans and in
the Orient. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, travelling in Egypt, and been asked to sow them and see if any of the seeds produced a new and unknown species, in which case Donatus should be informed when he returned to Europe. Bassia was the only new one, and when Bassi had heard that Donati had died in Egypt, he had informed Carlo AllioniAllioni, Carlo (1725-1804).
Italian. Professor of botany, Turin.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in Turin of the fact, since Donatiís travel had been made at the expense of that university. Allioni had given it its name, but Bassi does not like it and he asks Linnaeus to delete the name Bassia from theGenera plantarum [...] editio sextaLinnaeus, Carl Genera
plantarum [...] editio sexta ab auctore
reformata et aucta
(Stockholm 1764).
Soulsby no. 305.

The Betonica that Bassi had sent to Linnaeus is not the same as Linnaeusís Betonica alopecuroides. Bassi describes the differences in detail but stresses that he is not one who defines a new species from minimal differences.

Bassi is very much occupied with the large museum of natural history at Bologna, which he is responsible for. If he has time, he will go through his private herbarium and see if he can find doubles of what he collected long ago to send to Linnaeus.

Linnaeus should not be surprised that there are so many new plants found in Italy. One cause is that interest in collecting plants is rather recent in Italy; another is that Italy as a region is immensely rich in species. Earlier botanists easily overlooked them, while more modern ones, such as Silvio-Paolo BocconeBoccone, Silvio-Paolo
(1633-1704). Italian. Botanist at the
court of Ferdinand II of Tuscany,
professor of botany at Padua.
, Jacques BarrelierBarrelier, Jacques (1606-1673).
French. Botanist, dominican.
, Michelio Triumpheto and Guiseppe MontiMonti, Guiseppe (1682-1760).
Italian. Professor at Bologna.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, discovered and published them. He mentions as an example Ammiana baccifera, known from the herbaria of Ulisse AldrovandiAldrovandi, Ulisse (1522-1605).
Italian. Naturalist and ornithologist,
physician and professor at Bologna.
, Triumpheto and Monti.

Bassi comments on Euphorbia viminalis, which he has not published but only reported to the Bologna academy. The same is the case with Alisma [fol. 440] and Psoralea. Formal characters of these two are given.

Bassi had recently received the third part of Systema naturae, 12th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 12th edition (Stockholm
1766-1768). Soulsby no. 62.
. It had arrived on the same day as Bassiís letter dated of 31 December 1769Letter L4308 had been given to the mail. Bassi complains that Linnaeusís works reach Italy very slowly and late; so, he has seen the third decade of rare plants from the Uppsala garden announced, but only the first had reached him.

Bassi wonders why Linnaeus has not mentioned Psoralea in his letters. Has it germinated in Linnaeusís garden?


a. original holograph (LS, I, 440, 443-444). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 233-236   p.233  p.234  p.235  p.236.