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Linné on line arrow The Life of Linnaeus arrow Why is Linnaeus world-famous?

Why is Linnaeus world-famous?


The Linnaean scientific name on the label in the Linnaeus’ garden can be understood by all botanists. The species position in the sexual system is shown by the numbers V:I, meaning class 5 – Pentandria, order 1 – Monogynia.
Photo: K. Martinsson
  Linnaeus’ way of classifying Nature was so good that this system, called Systema naturae, came to be used all over the world.

He simplified the scientific nomenclature of plants and animals. This system, with two Latin names for every species of animal or plant, is still used the world over and simplifies communication between scientists, gardeners, birdwatchers etc.

Example: All the ornithologists of Europe know what a Parus major is. However a Danish birdlover may not know that what he calls a “musvit” is what the French call a “mésange charbonnière” and the English call a “great tit”. In Swedish it is “talgoxe”.

Linnaeus’ idea was that if we learn the Latin names we won’t need to know the names in other languages. Even in the same language there are often many dialectal names for the same species. In English the great tit is also called titmouse. In Latin there is only one name, Parus major. Thank you Professor Linnaeus!