Letter L4429
Letter written by Carl Linnaeus
Letter addressed to Frédéric Allamand
 
Date 29 November 1770

Summary

Linnaeus has received a letter from Frédéric Allamand[+], of 3 November 1770[+], and is extremely pleased in his comments. He has never seen anything more beautiful, Allamand has formulated his observations as a commander of botany, not as an ordinary soldier in the service of Flora, and if there were many like Allamand, botany would make immense progress. Linnaeus has read the enclosed work “Genera plantarum Americanarum”[+] [the manuscript was never published] several times and found it very useful, since Allamand has described everything so that Linnaeus almost sees it with his own eyes.

After this very positive introduction, Linnaeus enters into a long series of comments on about forty species in Allamand’s work. Sometimes, Linnaeus thanks Allamand for clarifications, while in other cases, he asks for details or mentions that he has another name for the same species.

Linnaeus asks Allamand to indicate a new species, which he would prefer to be the one called Allamanda after himself, and to tell Linnaeus of his choice very soon. Linnaeus suggests that it could be one of Galarips, Caryocar or Clibadium Linnaeus intends to publish the new species in his second Mantissa [Linnaeus refers to Mantissa plantarum altera, 2nd edition[+]] which is about to be published and will contain about fifty new genera and more than four hundred new species.

In that context, Linnaeus instructs Allamand to use the address of Regia Societas scientiarum Upsaliensis for his replies.

Linnaeus asks Allamand about a species that Allamand should have seen in Surinam. It is a tree, and Linnaeus once had a fruit of it, but he could never decide what the correct genus of the tree was.

Linnaeus is sorry that he had not become acquainted with Allamand earlier. Holland has had very many able botanists, but Allamand seems to be the best, and Linnaeus is surprised that Allamand had been able to give him so much new and important information without knowing Linnaeus beforehand.

Linnaeus concludes with a question: Why were there so many amphibians known from Surinam, and so few species of plants? Linnaeus also asks two more detailed questions on plants. He returns to the issue of the name Allamanda and stresses that the printer is already asking for the manuscript of the Mantissa.

Other persons mentioned:Patrick Browne[+] and Leonard Plukenet[+].

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