A Blog Around The Clock

Linnaeus Birthday Celebration

As promised, I will gather here (and update a couple of times during the day) some of the most interesting posts from around the blogosphere about the celebrations of the 300th birthday of Carl von Linne aka Carolus Linnaeus, the guy you cussed at when, back in high school, you had to memorize the order of taxonomic categories: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species (and you all know the mnemonic, don’t you?).

So, what’s with the name? Is it Linnaeus or von Linne? Merriam-Webster explains:

But today we come not to praise Linnaeus but to parse his various names. When Linnaeus was born, surnames were not common in Sweden. His father had been known as Nils Ingemarsson (Nils, son of Ingmar) until he attended the University at Lund with the goal of becoming a clergyman. Needing a proper surname, Nils gave himself the Latinized name Linnaeus, after the Linden tree on the family property (which was a warden tree, a very old tree believed to protect the land and people from bad luck).

So when Carl was born, he was given the surname Linnaeus. When he, in turn, enrolled at his father’s alma mater, he registered in full Latin form: Carolus Linnaeus. Then, in 1761, after he had earned some measure of renown for his work Latinizing and simplifying scientific nomenclature, Linnaeus was raised to the rank of nobility and took yet another name: Carl von Linne.

The main webpage for the tricentennial celebration is here. But let’s now move to blogs….

I just have to start with the best essays first! John Wilkins on Linnaeus’ views of classification and species.

A brief biography by Michael Ryan of Paleoblog.

The Dispersal of Darwin looks at the origins of natural history and the associated cultural imperalism. And notes some radio shows.

Bleimanimal of Zooillogix, of course, has to do something different – here is Amphibsaenia

John Lynch tries to rescue old Carl from the threat of Phylocode. And adds a quote.

Annotated Budak at the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium

After the initial announcement I posted my favourite Linnaeus quote and will post another one later today. OK< here it is, about the sleep in plants and flower clocks.

Listen to the podcast of the NPR story.

Do you know the English names of these species?

Here is the NYTimes article about Linne. If you can’t see NYTimes (or after the article hides behind the subscription wall), the entire birthday article is reprinted here as well as by Matt Dowling.

From a fellow Swede.

Tyra is a fellow gardener.

An article in Wired on Linne, taxonomy and nomenclature.

A Swedish family compares and contrasts Linne and Ken Ham (guess who wins?).

The New Scientist:

He’s more influential than ABBA, more famous than Bjorn Borg and Sweden is celebrating today the 300th birthday of its most illustrious son….

See the wooden statue of Linnaeus in Stockholm (I remember seeing it when I visited in 1990).

Matthew Cob wrote the article for LATimes and kindly reprinted it on his blog.

Bromus tectorum is the Botany Photo of the Day.

An American in Sweden explains it succintly.

A biology teacher uses the opportunity to criticize that awful article in The Economist.

Here is one in Russian, with a nice illustration of Linnaea borealis.

Flatbush Gardener reproduces a portrait of Linne.

A nice biography by Daddicade.

Gardeners love Linne, including Molly Day

A tribute by Leigh Andrew.

Green Chameleon compiled a small linkfest as well.

What is the connection between Linne, apples and Rambo?

A clip from “The Linnaeus Expedition”

Japanese Emperor visits Sweden to celebrate.

Apparently, Linnaeus himself gave an interview yesterday.

This one is bilingual: English and Spanish.


The Independent

A write up on The Writer’s Almanac.

News From The Field on naming plants.

Voltage Gate on sex, God and human origins: Carl Linnaeus, in His Own Words

A photo of a Linnaeus sculpture from the Chicago Botanical Garden taken in 1988.

Skepchick and Linnaeus are obsessed with sex.

Interested in books on taxonomy and systematics?

On ravens and crows, Cheerios and cupcakes for the300th birthday.


For a Swede, he was pretty funny!

Use Linnaeus to learn some Swedish.

And don’t even get me started on the banana.

Linnaeus celebrates his own 300th birthday.

Of course, Carl Brest Van Kempen provides his own original art.

Classification is Art.

Nick Matcke over on Panda’s Thumb compares Carl to Willi Hennig. Yeah, whatever.

Of course the Beagle Project Blog chimes in, with a link to a BBC Frontiers show. And so do the Friends of Darwin.

D. Weinberger links to his article(s) as well.

Cheezy armadillos

ERV has actually built a Linnean flower clock!

Yet Another Unitarian Universalist casually uses binomial nomenclature while going for a walk…

If you have written or seen elsewhere a good contribution, let me know so I can include it here.


  1. #1 MartinC
    May 23, 2007

    Mrs MartinC, who works as a preschool teacher here in Stockholm, was out yesterday with her class for a nature walk to the local park – where the Stockholm Botanical Garden is located – when she noticed a crowd of Japanese journalists. She asked one of them what was happening and suddenly found herself and class whisked to the front and introduced to the Emperor of Japan, King of Sweden and their wives, the Empress and Queen ! Apparently the Japanese regents are visiting this week to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl von Linne.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised to find your link to my post. Thank you!

    The portrait actually comes from Wikipedia. The contributor is anonymous.

  3. #4 Claes Mogren
    May 24, 2007

    Thanks from me too for finding my blog. Didn’t know anyone read it! Made my day. :-)

    And by the way, I’m not really American, I’m Swedish.. 😉

  4. #5 Monado
    May 24, 2007

    “Kings Play Chess On Fine Glass Surfaces”?

  5. #6 Michael Barton
    September 7, 2007

    “Kings Play Chess on Fine Grains of Sand”

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