Carlos Linneo: Biography, Species plantarum and classification system

Carlos Linnaeus is known today as the father of modern botany.

There are many branches of science that exist today. One of the oldest and most important medicinally is botany. Many people have become famous through new discoveries related to plants. One of them was Carlos Linnaeus, a Swedish naturalist who he is known today as the father of modern botany.

There are many investigations carried out by Carlos Linneo, but the most outstanding contribution of this naturalist is his plant classification system. It is a binomial nomenclature that refers to both genus and species. Linnaeus published this system more than 265 years ago. In addition, it was of great help in classifying the animals as well, although in a different way than the classification system he used for flora. If you want to know more about this great man and his research, read on.

Who was Linnaeus and what did he do?

Carlos Linneo studied medicine

Carlos Linnaeus studied medicine

In 1707 the future modern father of botany was born in Rashult, Sweden. Carl Von Linné, known in Spanish as Carlos Linneo, was the son of a Lutheran pastor and ended up enrolling at the University of Lund, which is located in Scania. There he began his medical studies. He was mentored by a famous doctor of the time named Kilian Stobaeus. During his stay in Lund, Linnaeus took the opportunity to train as much as possible by studying the books and cabinets in the Stobaeus library.

After a year of career, Carlos Linneo changed university and went to Uppsala, where he would continue his medical studies. I often visited the university botanical garden and ended up meeting other naturalists such as Olaus Celsius, Olof Rudbeck, and Peter Artedi.

Carlos Linneo began to travel throughout Europe, studying the fauna and flora of different countries and conducting research. Thanks to this, the Swede met many important scientists of that time. These new contacts turned out to be essential to be able to consolidate as an expert naturalist.

After having traveled extensively, Linnaeus became a professor of botany at the University of Uppsala. There he did a very important job to design a classification system for the three kingdoms of nature. He laid down the rules of his method in his book “Philosophia botánica” in the year 1751. Two years later he published a new book that would culminate his project: the “Species plantarum”.

When was Linnaeus born and when did he die?

Carlos Linneo, the famous botanist naturalist He was born on May 23, 1707 in a town called Rashult, in Sweden. After many years of intense studies and research on the flora and fauna of different European countries, Linnaeus became a benchmark in botany. Through the publication of several literary works and his innovative classification system, he became one of the most famous scientists of his time. On January 10, 1778, the one known as the father of modern botany died in Uppsala, Sweden.

What is Linnaeus theory?

Basically, Linnaeus’ theory is a proposal for the classification of both animals and plants. The first work dedicated to this was published in 1735 and is called “Systema naturae. In it, he presented an innovative proposal at the taxonomic level to be able to efficiently classify the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.

Years later, in 1751, Carlos Linnaeus published another book entitled “Philosophia botanica”, which would end up being his most influential work. This time he claimed that a natural classification system could be created based on the divine, unchanging and original creation of all species. What’s more, showed that plants reproduced sexually and named the involved parts of the flower. With this discovery, Carlos Linnaeus was able to create a taxonomic scheme using the sexual parts of plants. For this he used the stamen to determine the class and the pistil for the order.

Apart from these achievements, Carlos Linneo invented a method in which he uses his binomial nomenclature to give names to specific plants. In order to achieve it, selected a name for the genus and another name for the species. His contribution to animal nomenclature was also important. However, the system differs from that of plants, since for animals it resorted to various characteristics related to their internal anatomy.

The Linnaean system is currently used. However, living beings are classified based on their genetic criteria, since they are the regulatory factors of the expression of anatomical factors.

“Species of plants” by Carlos Linnaeus

The book "Species of plants" is a compilation of all the plant species known by Carlos Linneo

The book "Species of plants" is a compilation of all the plant species known by Carlos Linnaeus

On May 24, 1753, Carlos Linnaeus published the first volume of “Species plantarum”. This book is a compilation of all plant species known by the same author, who at that time was one of the most important botanists. Throughout his life he would publish two more editions that would contain complementary information and corrections to previous versions.

The main reason why this work stands out is the classification system used by Carlos Linneo. This facilitated the identification of the plants. For this, the determination of the specimen went together with a denomination that was based on a binomial nomenclature. Namely: Two names that referred to both the genus and the species of the plant. At the same time that Linnaeus’ classification system established the different groups of related specimens or taxonomic categories, it also grouped plants into classes, orders, genus, and species.

Prior to the publication of “Species plantarum”, Carlos Linnaeus had come a long way as a field naturalist. Through various trips throughout his life he came into contact with many important naturalists of the time. Linnaeus ended up becoming a botanical specialist in different European scientific centers. In this way he made a name for himself as a systematic scientist in what was Europe in the XNUMXth century.

Carlos Linneo and his impact on the botanical world

The criticisms Carlos Linneo received for his book “Species plantarum” were very positive. Great botanists of the time, such as the Englishman William Watson, praised his work. According to Watson, the work done by Linnaeus would be received as the masterpiece of the most complete naturalist of all time, at least by the botanists who had studied the system proposed by the Swede.

Regarding the nomenclature and classification, Carlos Linnaeus was the first naturalist to intentionally apply the binomial nomenclature both in botany and zoology. It was he who established the use of internationally valid Latin and Latinized names for countless species of plants and animals. To verify his work, he added illustrations and descriptions.

How did Linnaeus classify living things?

The binomial proposal made by Carlos Linneo is the basis of the current zoological and botanical nomenclature

The binomial proposal made by Carlos Linnaeus is the basis of the current zoological and botanical nomenclature

The natural classification was initially based on the large number of associated characters. However, Linnaeus’ method was based on the use of a few selected artificial characters to constitute the different groups. To perform this classification system, Carlos Linneo was based on the total number of sexual organs that flowers possess, that is, stamens and pistils. In 1735 he published the book “Systema Naturae”, in which he presented this new system of sexual classification.

The Swedish naturalist classified the plants with angiosperms, phanerogams or with flowers in a total of 23 classes, taking into account their male organs, also called stamens. Linnaeus noticed both their numbers and their height and paid attention to whether they were free or soldiers. Thus, when the plant had only one stamen it was Monandria, with two it was Diandria, etc. Regarding the plants without apparent flowers, they belonged to class 24, the cryptogams. As for plants with female organs, called pistils, when they had only one they were Monogynia, if they had two Digynia, etc. In turn, the orders were subdivided into genera, and these into species.

Regarding the specific name, this was used to identify and differentiate each plant. In order to achieve this, the denomination implied the printed difference between each of them. In order to make his work available to experts and scholars, Carlos Linnaeus wrote his works in a highly technical Latin whose origin is in Europe in medieval and Renaissance times. The binomial proposal that Linnaeus made at that time is the basis of the current zoological and botanical nomenclature.

Thanks to research and works as important as that of Carlos Linneo, we currently have so much knowledge about the world. However, there is still much to discover and improve. The technological advance that we are experiencing allows Science to advance more and more every day. Although there are still many theories and hypotheses that remain to be confirmed, the human being is gradually approaching the secrets that the universe keeps.

I hope this article has been helpful and informative for you. It is important to know about the great discoveries that have already been made, in order to follow in the footsteps of such remarkable people as Carlos Linneo. Maybe, one day, we can be the one to discover something completely new and unknown until now.

Carlos Linneo: Biography, Species plantarum and classification system

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