Carolus Linnaeus

Carolus Linnaeus

[li-nee-uhs]
Linnaeus, Carolus, 1707-78, Swedish botanist and taxonomist, considered the founder of the binomial system of nomenclature and the originator of modern scientific classification of plants and animals. He studied botany and medicine and taught both at Uppsala. In Systema naturae (1735) he presented his classification of plants, animals, and minerals, and in Genera plantarum (1737) he explained his system for classifying plants largely on the basis of the number of stamens and pistils in the flower. Despite the artificiality of some of his premises, the Linnaean system has remained the basis of modern taxonomy. Species plantarum (2 vol., 1753) described plants in terms of genera and species, and the 10th edition (1758) of Systema naturae applied this system to animals as well, classifying 4,400 species of animals and 7,700 species of plants. These two works are therefore considered the basis of binomial nomenclature, although the early herbalists had used a binomial system before Linnaeus. Among his more than 180 works were several books on the flora of Lapland and Sweden and the Genera morborum (1763), a classification of diseases. After Linnaeus' death his priceless botanical collection was removed to England (see herbarium). Linnaeus was also known as Karl (or Carl) Linné (of which Carolus Linnaeus is a Latinized version); when he was ennobled in 1761 he formally adopted the name Karl von Linné.

See T. Frangsmyr et al., ed., Linnaeus (1983); J. Weinstock, Contemporary Perspectives on Linneaus (1985).

Swedish Carl von Linné

Carolus Linnaeus, detail of a portrait by Alexander Roslin, 1775; in the Svenska elipsis

(born May 23, 1707, Råshult, Smâland, Swed.—died Jan. 10, 1778, Uppsala) Swedish botanist and explorer. He studied botany at Uppsala university and explored Swedish Lapland before going to Holland to study medicine (1735). There he became the first to develop principles for defining genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them, binomial nomenclature. Linnaeus's system was based mainly on flower parts, which tend to remain unchanged during evolution. Though artificial, such a system was valuable in that it enabled students to place a plant rapidly in a named category. Linnaeus not only systematized the plant and animal kingdoms, but he also classified the mineral kingdom and wrote a study of the diseases known in his day. His manuscripts, herbarium, and collections are preserved by London's Linnaean Society. His works include Systema Naturae (1735), Fundamenta Botanica (1736), and Species Plantarum (1753).

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Carl von Linné or Carolus Linnaeus the Younger (20 January 17411 November 1783) was a Swedish naturalist. He is known as Linnaeus filius (abbreviated to L.f. as a botanical authority) to distinguish him from his famous father, the systematist Carolus Linnaeus.

He was enrolled at the University of Uppsala at the age of nine and was taught science by his father's students, including Pehr Löfling, Daniel Solander and Johann Peter Falck. In 1763, aged just 22, he succeeded his father as the head of Practical Medicine at Uppsala. His promotion to professor — without taking exams or defending a thesis — caused resentment among his colleagues.

Linnaeus' work was modest in comparison to that of his father. His best known work is the Supplementum Plantarum systematis vegetabilium of 1781, which contains botanical descriptions by the elder Linnaeus and his colleagues, edited and with additions by the son.

He inherited his father's extensive scientific collections and correspondence and worked to preserve them. When he died childless on 1 November 1783 (of jaundice contracted on a visit to London) his mother sold the collections to the English botanist Sir James Edward Smith, who left them to the Linnean Society of London.

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