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Link: • Carl Linnaeus to Jacob Jonas Björnståhl, 28 February 1774 n.s.
Dated 28 febr. 1774. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Den Haag (Netherlands). Written in Swedish.


Linnaeus is overjoyed at Jacob Jonas Björnståhl’sBjörnståhl, Jacob Jonas
(1731-1779). Swedish.
Orientalist. Studied in Uppsala and
attended Linnaeus’s lectures. Travelled
in Europe and Asia (1767-1779). Died in
Saloniki, Greece. Correspondent of
letter from Karlsruhe [Björnståhl to Linnaeus, 1 January 1774Letter L4958] and the description of the garden there. He admits that he knew nothing about this garden before, although he has correspondents throughout Europe, in fact most of the world. He did know Christian Thran’sThran, Christian (1701-1778).
Danish. Gardener at the court of
”Catalogum H. Carlsruhani” [Linnaeus refers to Index plantarum horti CarolsruhaniThran, Christian Index
plantarum horti Carolsruhani
(Karsruhe, 1733).
], but nothing more. He was in a state of ”the greatest consternation” reading about all the miracles in this garden and at the court of Karlsruhe. Never had Linnaeus believed that there would be a complete edition of all plants in colour [Linnaeus refers to Josua Risler’sRisler, Josua (d. 1778).
German. Pharmacist and gardener at the
court of Karlsruhe.
and Thran’s, Serenissimi Marchionis et Principis Buda-Durlacensis Hortus CarolsruhanusRisler, Josua & Christian Thran
Serenissimi Marchionis et
Principis Buda-Durlacensis Hortus
Carolsruhanus in tres ordines digestus
exhibens nomina Plantarum exoticarum,
perennium et annuarum quae aluntur per
C. Thran, horti praefectum accedit
Aurantiorum, Citreorum Limonumque
Malorum catalogus
]. Caroline-Louise of Baden-DurlachCaroline-Louise of Baden-Durlach,
(1751-1783). German. Margravine
of Baden. Amateur botanist. Married to
Karl Friedrich of Baden-Durlach. Born
Caroline-Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Mother of Karl Ludwig of Baden-Durlach,
Friedrich of Baden-Durlach, Ludwig
Wilhelm August of Baden-Durlach.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, the Princess of Baden, both an expert botanist and a unique artist, has created a monument ”more durable than the pyramids of Egypt”.

In recent years many artists have produced pictures of plants in colour: Johann Wilhelm WeinmanWeinmann, Johann Wilhelm
(1683-1741). German. Pharmacist and
, Phytanthoza iconographiaWeinmann, Johann Wilhelm
Phytanthoza iconographia; sive,
Conspectus aliquot millium, tam
indigenarum quam exoticarum, ex quatuor
mundi partibus [...] a J. G. Weinmanno
[...] collectarum plantarum, arborum,
fructicum, florum, fructuum, fungorum,
&c., quae vivis coloribus &
iconibus, naturae aemulis, excussae
& repraesentatae per Bartholomaeum
Seuterum, Joannem Eliam Ridingerum, et
Joannem Jacobum Haidium, pictores &
chalcographos Augustanos. Quorum
denominationes, characteres, genera,
species, & descriptiones ex optimis
[...] auctoribus, ordine ac serie
alphabetica, cum probatissimo usu
medico, pharmaceutico, chirurgico ac
oeconomico, Latino & Germanico
idiomate sincere explicantur à
Joanne Georgio Nicolao Dieterico
I-IV (Regensburg [1734]-1745).
, Elizabeth BlackwellBlackwell, Elizabeth
(1700?-1758). Scottish. Botanist, wife
of Alexander Blackwell.
, A curious herbalBlackwell, Elizabeth A
curious herbal, containing five hundred
cuts, of the most useful plants, which
are now used in the practice of physick.
Engraved on folio copper plates, after
drawings taken from the life. By
Elizabeth Blackwell. To which is added a
short description of ye plants; and
their common uses in physick
, I-II
(London 1737-1739).
, Philip MillerMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
, Figures of the most beautiful, useful, and uncommon plantsMiller, Philip Figures of the
most beautiful, useful, and uncommon
plants described in the gardeners
dictionary, exhibited on three hundred
, I-II (London
, Mark CatesbyCatesby, Mark (1682-1749).
British. Naturalist and artist. Best
known for his illustrated work The
Natural history of Carolina, Florida and
the Bahama islands
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, The Natural history of CarolinaCatesby, Mark The Natural
history of Carolina, Florida and the
Bahama Islands: containing the figures
of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents,
insects and plants: particularly the
forest-trees, shrubs, and other plants,
not hitherto described, or very
incorrectly figured by authors. Together
with their descriptions in English and
French. To which are added observations
on the air, soil, and wate: with remarks
upon agriculture, grain, pulse, roots,
&c. To the whole is prefixed a new
and correct map of the countries treated
, I-II (London 1731-1743).
, Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
[LInnaeus means Christopher Jacob TrewTrew, Christopher Jacob
(1695-1769). German. Botanist,
physician and counsellor of the margrave
of Ansbach.
, Plantae selectaeTrew, Christopher Jacob
Plantae selectae quarum imagines ad
exemplaria naturalia Londini, in hortis
curiosorum nutrita, manu artificiosa
doctaque pinxit Georgius Dionysius Ehret
[.. ]
(S.l. [1750-1773]).
] and John MillerMiller, John (1715-1780).
German. Painter and engraver. Moved to
London in 1744. Published Illustratio
systematis sexualis Linnaei
, A collection of 10 coloured plates of plants and insectsMiller, John A collection of
10 coloured plates of plants and
insects, with descriptive letter
(London, 1759-1760).

Georg Christian von OederOeder, Georg Christian von
(1728-1791). German/Danish. Botanist
and economist. Studied under Albrecht
von Haller in Göttingen and became
professor of botany at Copenhagen.
Minister of finance for Norway. Started
the publishing of Flora Danica.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
depicted Danish plants [Flora danica]. Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in regnis Daniae et NorvegiaeOeder, Georg Christian von
[Flora danica.] [Flora danica].
Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in
regnis Daniae et Norvegiae, in ducatibus
Slesvici et Holsatiae, et in comitatibus
Oldenburgi et Delmenhorstiae: ad
illustrandum opus de iisdem plantis,
regio jussu exarandum, Florae danicae
nomine inscriptum
, 17 vol., Suppl.
(1 v.) (Copenhagen 1766 [i.e.
by royal order, but the project came to a standstill when the King [Frederik VFrederik V, (1723-1766).
Danish. King of Denmark. Reigned
] died.

Nicolaus Joseph, baron von JacquinJacquin, Nicolaus Joseph, baron von
(1727-1817). Dutch. Botanist. In
1755 at the order of emperor Franz I of
Austria he went to the Antilles and
South America. In 1763 he became
professor of mineralogy and chemistry at
Chemnitz, later professor of botany at
Vienna and director of the botanical
garden at Schönbrunn. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
continues in Oeder’s spirit with European plants [unclear whether Linnaeus means Jacuin’s work in general or a particular book, see also below].

Linnaeus was very impressed when he first saw John Hill’sHill, John (1716-1775).
British. Pharmacist, physician and
supervisor of the botanical gardens at
Kew. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
enormous work The Vegetable systemHill, John The Vegetable
system; or, a series of [... ]
observations tending to explain the
internal structure and the life of
plants, etc.
, 26 vol. (London,
, more that twenty volumes in imperial folio but these plants had very little in common with the ones they were supposed to represent.

John Miller is now editing an extensive work [The Vegetable system] with detailed illustrations of which 20 have already been published with the fructification parts exposed. The Princess should see it; if she contacts John FothergillFothergill, John (1712-1780).
British. Physician and collector of
natural history objects. Studied in
Holland, France and Germany. His cabinet
of zoological and mineralogical
specimens as well as his botanical
garden at Upton were well known.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, he will send it to her.

Nicolaas Laurens Burman the younger’sBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
(1734-1793). Dutch. Professor of
botany. Linnaeus’s pupil in Uppsala in
1760. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Plantae indicae, [Linnaeus means Flora IndicaBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
Flora Indica: cui accedit series
zoophytorum Indicorum, nec non prodromus
florae Capensis
(Leiden &
Amsterdam, 1768).
] printed in Amsterdam, contain many Indian depicted plants.

Are Johann Georg Gmelin’sGmelin, Johann Georg
(1709-1755). German. Voyager, botanist
and chemist. At the initiative of
empress Anna of Russia he spent ten
years (1733-1743) exploring Siberia. In
1749 he became professor of botany and
chemistry at Tübingen. Together
with his nephew Samuel Gottlieb he wrote
Flora Sibirica (1747-1769).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Florae volume 3 and 4 [Linnaeus means Flora SibiricaGmelin, Johann Georg Flora
Sibirica, sive Historia plantarum
(St Petersburg 1747-1769).
, where Gmelin’s nephew Samuel Gottlieb GmelinGmelin, Samuel Gottlieb
(1745-1774). German. Professor of
botany at the Imperial Academy of
Sciences in St Petersburg. In 1764 he
travelled in Eastern Russia and the
provinces south of the Caspian sea. He
completed the Flora Sibirica
(1747-1769) of his uncle Johann Georg
Gmelin. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
assisted him in editing the two final volumes, vol. 3-4] and his Fuci [Linnaeus means Samuel Gottlieb Gmelin’s Historia fucorumGmelin, Samuel Gottlieb
Historia fucorum (St Petersburg,
] known to the Princess? Then Linnaeus can only mention Carlo Allioni’sAllioni, Carlo (1725-1804).
Italian. Professor of botany, Turin.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Antoine Gouan’sGouan, Antoine (1733-1821).
French. Botanist, Montpellier. Student
under Sauvages. Director of the
botanical garden in 1767, later
professor of botany and medicine.
Although an admirer of Linnaeus he tried
to develop a hybrid of his system of
classification. Correspondent of
treatises [presumably Caroli Allionii [... ] Rariorum Pedemontii stirpiumAllioni, Carlo Caroli
Allionii [... ] Rariorum Pedemontii
stirpium specimen primum
and Flora MonspeliacaGouan, Antoine Flora
Monspeliaca, sistens plantas no. 1850 ad
sua genera relatas, et hybrida methodo
digestas. Adjectis, nominibus
specificis, trivialibusque, synonymis
selectis, habitationibus plurium in agro
Monspeliensi nuper detectarum, et earum
quae in usus medicos veniunt nominibus
pharmaceuticis, virtutibusque
(Lyon 1765).
], which Linnaeus have not recieved himself, and the works of Jacquin [Linnaeus here presumably means Hortus botanicus VindobonensisJacquin, Nicolaus Joseph, baron von
Hortus botanicus Vindobonensis :
seu plantarum rariorum quae in horto
botanico Vindobonensi coluntur icones
coloratae et succinctae
, I-III (Vienna
and Giovanni Antonio ScopoliScopoli, Giovanni Antonio
(1723-1788). Italian. Physician and
naturalist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
[Flora CarniolicaScopoli, Giovanni Antonio
Flora Carniolica exhibens plantas
Carniolae indigenas et distributas in
classes naturales. Cum differentiis
specificis, synonymis recentiorum, locis
natalibus, nominibus incolarum,
observationibus selectis, viribus
(Vienna 1760).
] that may be new to her.

The illustration of Veronica arvensis, copied from Oeder’s Flora Danica, is, unfortunately, of poor quality. It cannot be recognized; for one thing, the leaves are not serrated as they must be in Veronica. Oeder is, in most cases, reliable but not always. If Linnaeus only knew which plants would be engraved next, he could be of help. It would be a catastrophe if such a marvellous project were to have anything but perfect illustrations.

Linnaeus owns Thran’s ”Hortus Carolsruhanensis” to [Linnaeus refers to Index plantarum horti Carolsruhani] but he had never realized the splendour of this garden until he read the description given by Björnståhl [in his letter from January the 1st]. If he had been younger he would have hastened there at once.

The following week Linnaeus will go to Stockholm and discuss a mineral collection with His Majesty [Gustav IIIGustav III, (1746-1792).
Swedish. Reigned 1771-1792. Son of King
Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika,
brother of Sofia Albertina and Karl
XIII. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] and the Dowager Queen [Lovisa UlrikaLovisa Ulrika, (1720-1782).
Swedish. Queen of Sweden 1751-1771.
Married to Adolf Fredrik. Mother of
Gustav III. Sister of Fredric II of
Prussia. Correspondent of Linnaeus.

Linnaeus has now four botanists, his own disciples, out in the world collecting plants: Johan Gerhard KönigKönig, Johan Gerhard
(1728-1785). Danish. Physician, born in
Polish Livonia. Private pupil of
Linnaeus in 1757. Visited Iceland. Went
to Tranquebar in India, to Thailand and
Ceylon. He died on his way to Tibet.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in Tranquebar, Carl Peter ThunbergThunberg, Carl Peter
(1743-1828). Swedish. Botanist,
physician, explorer. Professor of
medicine and botany at Uppsala. Studied
medicine under Linnaeus in Uppsala,
medicine and surgery in Paris, natural
history under Johannes Burman in
Amsterdam. Travelled in South Africa in
1772-1775, in Japan 1775-1776, Java and
Ceylon in 1777-1778. Correspondent of
on the Cape of Good Hope, next year perhaps in Japan, Andreas BerlinBerlin, Andreas (1746-1773).
Swedish. Botanist. Linnaeus’s student
1765-1766. Secretary of Joseph Banks
1770-1773. Died in Delos, Guinea.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in Guinea, Anders SparrmanSparrman, Anders (1748-1820).
Swedish. Naturalist, physician and
traveller. Disciple of Linnaeus. In 1765
he went on a voyage to China and in 1772
to the Cape of Good Hope, where he
served as a tutor. Later the same year,
Sparrman went on James Cook´s
second voyage as assistant naturalist to
Johann Reinhold Forster and his son
Johan Georg Adam Forster. After his
return to Sweden in 1776 he was
appointed keeper of the natural
historical collections of the Royal
Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1780. In
1787 he participated in an expedition to
West Africa. Practicing physician in
Stockholm. Author of several works, the
best known of which is his account of
his travels in South Africa and with
Cook. Son of Brita and Eric Sparrman.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in South America where Daniel Solander

was some years ago. Last year they sent numerous plants home to him.


a. original holograph (LUB). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1909), vol. I:3, p. 252-255   p.252  p.253  p.254  p.255.