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Link: • Carl Peter Thunberg to Carl Linnaeus, 4 April 1774 n.s.
Dated d. 4 April 1774.. Sent from Cape Town (South Africa) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


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
writes to Linnaeus saying that very few ships from the Swedish East India Company [Svenska Ostindiska KompanietSvenska Ostindiska Kompaniet,
Swedish. The Swedish East India Company
(SOIC) was a Swedish trading company
formed in 1731. The company was
dissolved in 1813.
] arrive in the Cape: none, so far, this year and only two, coming from China, the previous year. He cannot send what he has collected with Dutch ships, as [unclear what Thunberg means], he has no opportunity to send things to Amsterdam.

Because he has been anxiously and in vain waiting for ships arriving from Canton, Thunberg is now sending a box of bulbs and a parcel containing seeds on an English ship to the gardener of Kew, William AitonAiton, William (1731-1793).
British. Curator of the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew. Correspondent of Linnaeus
the Younger.
, to be forwarded to John EllisEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, James LeeLee, James (1715-1795).
British. Market gardener, Hammersmith
(London). Correspondent of Linnaeus.
or the Swedish Ambassador and to Linnaeus. These bulbs will produce beautiful flowers: Iris, Ixia, Anthericum, Ornithogalum, Fabricia, Falckia, Heliconia reticulate, Moraea, Gladiolus, Antholyza. Recently Thunberg sent a package with dry seeds to Linnaeus on a Dutch vessel. Another package is ready for delivery, also containing a sample of Cycas the marrow of which is used by the Hottentots to make bread. Thunberg hopes that his little gift will remind Linnaeus in heavenly Hammarby of the affectionate sender far away, who besides his duties to his Dutch benefactors, is anxious to show Linnaeus appreciation and gratitude.

He is enclosing a beautiful little herb which he has named Solandra. The old Solandra was renamed.

The last four months of the previous year, Thunberg spent on his second hazardous expedition in the interior of Africa. He has now added hundreds of new species to his Flora capensis [Thunberg is presumably referring to his planned work, to publish a new flora of the Cape, which he did, at first with the forerunner, Prodromus plantarum CapensiumThunberg, Carl Peter
Prodromus plantarum Capensium, quas,
in promontorio Bonae spei Africes, annis
1772-1775, collegit Carol. Pet.
, 2 vols. (Uppsala
, and almost ten years later, Flora Capensis, sistens plantas promontorii Bonae spei AfricesThunberg, Carl Peter Flora
Capensis, sistens plantas promontorii
Bonae spei Africes, secundum systema
sexuale emendatum redactas ad classes,
ordines, genera et species, cum
differentiis specificis, synonymis et
, 3 vols. (Uppsala
]. So far, he has examined and described about 500 but many remain, several of them probably new to science. This work is difficult due to lack of time, handbooks, and, above all, Linnaeusís good advice, instructions, and encouragement from which his disciples, Fredrik HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
(1722-1752). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist, explorer. Studied under
Linnaeus and Lars Roberg 1741-1749. Went
to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus,
Rhodes and the island of Chios. Died
near Smyrna. Son of Magnus and Helena
Maria Hasselquist, brother of Andreas
Hasselquist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Pehr LöflingLöfling, Pehr (1729-1756).
Swedish. Botanist and explorer. Studied
under Linnaeus. Went to Spain in 1751
and took part in the Spanish expedition
to Venezuela in 1754, where he died.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and the others, can benefit. In the Cape, people only speak about ships, and glory is measured in money. Thunberg hopes a Swedish ship will soon bring him a letter from Linnaeus before his departure for Japan, which he assumes will be this year, according to when the Masters in Amsterdam will send him letters about that.

Thunberg has sent several succulents to Holland: Crassulae, Cotyledones, Portulacae, Gerania, Cacaliae etc. Nahernia is no doubt the same genus as Hermannia.

An appendix to the letter contains a full description of Solandra capensis and Hydrocotyle tomentosa.


a. original holograph (LS, XV, 283-286). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]