When reading up on species of wood, have you ever wondered what the ‘L’ signifies following a tree’s binomial name? Take that of English walnut for example – Juglans regia L. – the ‘L’ signifies the tree was classified by Linnaeus.
The great naturalist Carl Linnaeus was born in Råshult, Smâland, Sweden on the 23rd of May, 1707, the eldest son of a Lutheran pastor, and amateur botanist, Nils Linnaeus. Linnaeus developed the binomial system of nomenclature, systematising the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. Linnaeus received a title in 1761 and took the name Carl von Linné.
Strangely (for someone of Linnaeus’ enlightenment), Linnaeus was not conversant in our language, though his Systema Naturae (1735), Fundamenta Botanica (1736), and Species Plantarum (1753) were published in English.
Following his death in 1778, Linnaeus’ library formed the heart of the Linnaean Society of London , founded on the 26th of February 1788 at the Marlborough Coffee House.