Carolus Linnaeus was born on May 23, 1707 in Råshult,
Sweden. Carolus, as a child, he did not like to go to school.
He was nevertheless extraordinarily intelligent. He was very
much interested in nature. This is why he studied medicine
at the University of Uppsala. In those days medecines were
made of plants. This explains why he had so much knowledge
about herbs. Linnaeus started a successful doctor practice
in Stockholm. He married Sara E. Moraea and together they
had seven children of whom two died very young.
He worked in the Netherlands for a wealthy
manager, starting in 1735. This man, also very interested
in plants and animals, had a large collection books about
herbaria and rare plants. Linnaeus discovered that plants
had male and female organisms and that they sexually, by means
of fecundation, reproduced themselves. This was shocking among
the people in those days. Linnaeus stayed three years in the
Netherlands and worked meanwhile on his plans to categorise
plants into a neat system. During his life, he classified
7000 species of plants. This resulted in a book, with the
title “Systema Naturae”. Plants were systematically
classified in this book by order of class, genus and species.
Each plant received an appropriate Latin name. He developed
a system of Latin names for animals and minerals. This system
is still being used by biologists worldwide. In technical
terms, this is called “nomenclature”. Today, over
250,000 species of wild plants are known, and every year new
plants are discovered. Books of plants are still write L.
behind their names – the “L.” standing for
Linnaeus. He is also known as Carl von Linné, after
being elevated to nobility.
Linnaeus died on 10 January 1778, leaving humanity an
impressive heritage which made him the most famous Swedish
scientist of all times.