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Link: • Carl Linnaeus to Peter Gustaf Bäärnhielm, 19 April 1771 n.s.
Dated 1771 April. 19. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Göteborg (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


Linnaeus answers a letter from Peter Gustaf BäärnhielmBäärnhielm, Peter Gustaf
(1733-1809). Swedish. Squire of
dated 10 April [1771; this letter has not come down to us].

Linnaeus explains the following about grafting: it was earlier believed that grafting onto another kind of tree would bring leaves, flowers and fruit of the same kind as the shoot. However, the seeds would produce the same kind of tree as the root of the tree. Nowadays experiments have given other results.

In the first place is it impossible to prove that the seed will be anythingelse than the flower and the plant. Experiments made by gardeners in France, England and Holland have proven this. Linnaeus says that this is as impossible as if duck eggs put under a hen were to result in chickens. Linnaeus writes that stones from his peaches that have been grafted onto hawthorn never become anything else but peaches. The same is true for apricots grafted onto plums. But when oats become rye, pips from “Bonchretien” [pears] grafted onto Swedish whitebeam will give Swedish whitebeam, but this has never happened, i.e. the observations must be wrong. As long as 2 x 2 = 4 Linnaeus is convinced that pips from “Bonchretian” will never become Swedish whitebeams. However, pips sown from beautiful apples will result in simpler fruit. Linnaeus writes that Bäärnhielm must have been given the wrong pips or the wrong graft.

Linnaeus cannot say for sure. He recommends Bäärnhielm to get hold of seeds from the same tree, sow them and then wait for the result.


a. original holograph (UUB, G152a). [1] [2] [3] [4]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1909), vol. I:3, p. 331-332   p.331  p.332.