Johan Peter Falck to Carl Linnaeus,
October-December? 1765 n.s.
L5295. Johan Peter FalckJohan Peter Falck (1732-1774). Swedish.
Johan Peter FalckFalck, Johan Peter (1732-1774).
Falck has the pleasure of congratulating Linnaeus on his oldest daughter’s [Elisabeth Christina LinnaeaLinnaea, Sara Christina
Because of his sickness, Falck has not been able to deliver the requested material of Spiraea sorbifolia that autumn, which makes him very sad. However, if Linnaeus could have patience with him it will be in Uppsala next summer. Only God knows with what pleasure he serves Linnaeus. Falck knows of no one else who has such debt to fulfil as he himself. But fate has brought him to a place where it is impossible for him to fulfil his duties, which is somewhat embarrassing to Falck.
God forbid, that Alstroemeria will be put in exile. Who would else be better to accompany her than a multicoloured tulip or a wrinkled double flower of Carnation.
Johann Jacob Lerche Lerche, Johann Jacob
Falck especially asks Linnaeus not to mention that he provides him with seeds etc; there are such rumours in the Academy. Falck has often been asked if he provides Linnaeus with such things. But he always answers in an evasive way that he has not seen anything here that is not plentiful in Uppsala. Falck encloses a leaf of an unknown tree with bipinnate leaves. It is said to originate in China, but who can trust such stories that are so often false.
The story of the last delivery that Linnaeus write about is well known to Falck, but of such delicacy that he prefers only to tell Linnaeus in person. A piece of a cut leaf is enclosed now. It originates from a plant said to be rhubarb Rhaponticum. It comes from a specimen found in a private garden close to a stand of Rheum palamatum. That particular plant had not flowered that summer. It is said to have a short inflorescence and never produce seeds. Falck says that it is absolutely not Rhaponticum, but it might be Rheum compactum. He cannot remember ever having seen Rheum compactum in Uppsala. Therefore, he is somewhat uncertain what it is. But, if it is that species, it will contradict Philip MillerMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
On Falck’s request the owner of the private garden granted him access to some root samples to be taken from each plant stand. The roots of Rheum palmatum were in general appearance similar to those of the true Chinese Rhabarbarum with its veins and other characters. The roots of the other plant were whitish yellow, and neither the smell nor the taste of it resembled the previous one. The first had developed a tuber-shaped root, big as a hand. The other one had fusiform roots like an ordinary red beetroot. Both plants were said to be seven years old. If Linnaeus, with the help of the enclosed leaf sample, can confirm that it is Rheum compactum, Falck will send a piece of the living rhizome.
Falck conveys his deepest admiration to Linnaeus’s wife [Sara Elisabet LinnaeaMoraea, Sara Elisabet
P.S. Falck’s illness was caused by high fever, combined with innumerable melancholic symptoms. Falck asks God to help him. His melancholia increases every day. It is impossible to hope for some relief while he still is in Russia. To ride a horse is too expensive and to exercise on foot is not as easy as in Uppsala. Too much meat to eat, lack of joyful and encouraging stimulation will certainly contribute to the problems, etc.