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Link: • Carl Peter Thunberg to Carl Linnaeus, 15 June 1774 n.s.
Dated d. 15 Junii 1774.. Sent from Cape Town (South Africa) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


This will be Carl Peter Thunberg’sThunberg, 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
last letter to Linnaeus this year. He presents a table of contents:

1. Seeds of Rothmannia capensis.
2. Fruits of Scoparia arborea.
3. Hair of a Hottentot. Presumably the first time hair is sent from this nation [Africa]. It is like Lichen filamentosus, it might deceive someone like Dillenius [Thunberg presumably refers to Johann Jacob DilleniusDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] if it was found on an old fence or soemthing like that. Thunberg acquired it in exchange for tobacco.
4. A sample of Jaia minuta, very like Helonias minuta.
5. The most beautiful Erica in the world. It grows in the mountain called Bockefeltet [Thunberg means the Kouebokkeveld or Cold Buck Field].
6. Names and additional information [put forward by Thunberg in his last letter to Linnaeus, 1 May 1774Letter L5004] for the following plants:
1. Thesium colpoon or Colpoon Bergii; Thunberg sent a sample of this to Linnaeus last year [see Thunberg to Linnaeus, 28 June 1773Letter L851], and would like to know whether it is a new genus or not;
2. Cynoglossum capense,
3. Helonias viridis,
4. Hermas depauperata,
5. A species of pinus for which Thunberg suggests the name Rhetzia or Pamelaea,
6. Heliophila,
7. Phyma dehiscens,
8. Didyma.

The strange species of gramina defy classification; they will probably be reduced under Restio. Linnaeus’s Restio and Professor Bergius’s Tamnochorthus seem to be identical. Like Elegia, it presents endless varieties.

In a letter to Lars MontinMontin, Lars (1723-1785).
Swedish. Physician and botanist. Studied
medicine in Uppsala under Linnaeus and
Nils Rosén von Rosenstein.
Provincial physician of the province of
Halland. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Thunberg has sent a description of Cliffortia for the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters [Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers SelskabDet Kongelige Norske Videnskabers
Selskab, The Royal Norwegian Society of
Sciences and Letters
Founded in 1760 by Johan Ernst Gunnerus,
Gerhard Schøning Peter Friederich
Suhm as the Trondhiemske Selskab (the
Trondheim Society). It received Royal
affirmation of its statues in 1767 and
became the Kongelige Norske Videnskabers
Selskab (the Royal Norwegian Society of
Sciences and Letters). Its publications
are Det Trondhiemske Selskabs
, 1-3 (1761-1765) and Det
Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs
, 4-5 (1768-1774).
] and asked him to forward it to Linnaeus for necessary corrections.

Apart from the two parcels already dispatched [see Thunberg to Linnaeus, 4 April 1774Letter L4988, and 1 May 1774Letter L5004], no more deliveries home will be possible this year. Hopefully, Carl Gustaf EkebergEkeberg, Carl Gustaf
(1716-1784). Swedish. Captain, employed
by the Swedish East India Company.
will call at the Cape next year on his homeward voyage from China. Thunberg’s collection of insects is not impressive. The insects here are “incredibly few” due to the scarcity of plants, but Thunberg will send home what he has got.

P. S. Thunberg hopes to go to the interior of Africa again. At the moment he has examined and partly described 1300 species 600 of which are new. Another 500 remain to be examined, thus, 1800 in all. In this number there are also European plants that have emigrated and settled down here. Most of them have been collected by Thunberg himself but some of them have been given to him. Among these plants there are succulents of which he has sent specimens to Amsterdam, Leiden, and Leuwarden.


a. original holograph (LS, XV, 291-292). [1] [2] [3] [4]