Linnaeus and a botanical pilgrimage

A garden blogging friend mentioned recently in her FB feed that Abelia x grandiflora has been reclassified as Linnaea x grandiflora, engendering a lively discussion of how plants become renamed and what it takes for a new name to be adopted.  A Smithsonian botanist pointed out that new names are adopted (or not) by consensus (among taxonomists), where both names may well be in use for quite a while.

Linnaeus sculpture

Over our time as botanists and plant people, my gardening companion and I have seen a lot of name changes, especially with the advent of genetic techniques.

As a plant ecologist, I'm not quite as interested in worrying about exact names, but simply that we learn and enjoy the biology, ecology, and attributes of plants, whether wild species or hybrids, such as this one.

But it's reminded me of the lovely pilgrimage we made to Uppsala, the home of Linnaeus (who came up with the method of binomial nomenclature we use today).

Here's the post I wrote about it then.

 His house and garden are a wonderful testament to his curiosity and scientific contributions;  his restored garden was a who's who of North American plants that he named -- what fun!

And looking out his study window, where he wrote his books,  into the garden where he did his experimental plantings was a special experience.

Linnaeus' experimental garden

Uppsala University's botanical garden was also a lovely and venerable place; I was taken with this ornamental bed planted with various sedum species in their collection.


  1. This would be a fun place to visit. There's a great sculpture of Linnaeus at the Chicago Botanic Garden.


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