May 23 ~  Leaps and Bounds Linnaeus: Compleat Naturalist

"Nature does not proceed by leaps and bounds." ~ Carolus Linnaeus

Carolus Linnaeus

The Father of Taxonomy, botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) was born on this day in Rashult, Sweden.

The eldest child of a Lutheran minister, he showed interest in Nature at an early age, cultivating his own garden which he said "inflamed my soul with an unquenchable love of plants."

The garden, he wrote, was "Nature's masterpiece, strengthened by Art."

With passion, Linnaeus spearheaded a scientific expedition from Lapland to the Arctic Ocean. "I was led to another world," he said, discovering new plant species and seeing first-hand the balance of the environment around the "economy of nature."

His detailed journals of the trip formed the basis of his revolutionary treatise, Systema Naturae (1735).

With a hierachy resembling a family tree, he created a system of classifying living things into kingdoms by genus (group) and species (kind). His method gave precise Latin names to 7,700 plants and 4,400 animals, including the name of homo sapiens to humans.

His extraordinary binomial nomenclature brought order, simplified universal understanding, and is still used internationally today. He said of his life's work, "God created...Linnaeus arranged."

Knighted in 1758, he took the name Carl von Linné. "A practical botanist will distinguish at the first glance the plant of the different quarters of the globe and yet will be at a loss to tell by what marks he detects them," he said.

Accept the pace of Nature.