How many were the disciples of Linnaeus? This question is not that easy to respond.  Only from the Västergötland region there are considered to be  56 disciples (Strandell, B., 1981: Linnés lärjungar. SLÅ 1979 -1981). The disciples of Christ - the original pattern? - were at first 72 men and among them twelve later were chosen. These twelve got a higher position and were named apostles.

It is quite uncertain who should be considered to be among Linnaeus' disciples.  For example  Artedi, Brovallius och Clerck (on this page) should rather be considered as cooperators, friends of Linnaeus or simply contemporary scientists.  

Below are presented twenty-two persons, all men. Maybe they are the best-known disciples of Linnaeus. 

Eighteen of the disciples were sent out to different parts of the world - if there will be a distinction, are these the apostles? - the first eighteen on this page, the others stayed and worked within Sweden. 

"Oh God! When I reflect on fate of these botanists, indeed, it is uncertain whether I will name them wise or insane because of their enthusiasm about the plants".(From Linnaeus: Critica botanica, 1737)

A map showing the routes of Linnaeus' apostles. Only König is missing 


1. Christopher Tärnström (1703-1746)

The very first among the " apostles", some years older than Linnaeus himself.

Became a clergyman in 1739, failed as a school teacher in Östhammar and Waxholm. Was willing leave his wife and the children and with Linnaeus' support he got a job as the ship's priest on the East Indiaman Calmar. The destination was Canton and he had only a few concrete tasks. Primarily he would bring home a tea-bush or at least some tea seeds, secondarily he would make temperature observations, especially at the equator. A third task would to bring home to the Queen Lovisa Ulrika "living goldfishes". The voyage went smoothly by assistance of the trade-winds until they reached the South China Sea. Suddenly the trade-winds blew in the opposite direction and they were not able to get to Canton that year but were forced to hibernate in a seaport at the small island group Pulo Condor outside present Vietnam. Tärnström at once started to botanise, but suddenly his diary ends on Nov 10.  He was seriously infected by some tropical disease and by on Dec 4, he had passed away. He was buried on the shore with four other Swedes. Tärnström was the first of Linnaeus' disciples who died abroad and now the widow started to accuse Linnaeus loudly for inducing her husband to this fatal expedition. Linnaeus was forced to provide for her financially. Linnaeus named a tropical plant after Tärnström, Ternstromia.  


2. Fredrik Hasselqvist (1722-1752)

Naturalist. Born in Törnevalla, Östergötland, Jan 3, 1722. Parents: perpetual curate Anders Hasselquist and Helena Maria Pontin. Student in Uppsala in 1741. Studying medicine and natural history under Linnaeus. Intended to travel to "the Holy land", but was advised by Linnaeus not to go as his health situation was quite poor. Hasselquist on the other hand was stubborn and the financial conditions were soon solved. In August 1749 he began his expedition. The very same year he graduated in Medicine. He arrived at the sea-port Izmir (Smyrna) in Turkey and further along his way he got ashore on some islands in the Mediterranean until he reached Egypt. Facing the culture of the Middle East resulted in a deep impact and culture chock, especially concerning the behaviour of women. The women were afraid to show their faces but were showing such parts of the human body European women never would show. "They were nude from the neck to the waist" Hasselquist described the women on the island of Melos, and thought that the female dancers only were "raising the lusts of flesh". This is really something to consider nowadays when Moslem immigrants react and are horrified at the western style and morals. After his stay in Egypt Hasselqvist brought with him a large amount of Natural History items back again to Izmir, but he was terribly sick. He passed away in the village of Bodga February 9, 1752, only thirty years old. His abundant material was confiscated as substitution for his debts, but all materials could be released by a personal action of Queen Lovisa Ulrika. In 1752 the collections arrived in Sweden and Linnaeus at once went to Drottningholm Palace, where the boxes were kept. He "turned dizzy at seeing such big amount of incredible things at one time". Later all collections of Hasselquist were donated to the University of Uppsala by the Swedish King.  Hasselquists diaries and notes were edited by Linnaeus under the name of Iter Palestinum or A travel to Holy Land (1757) which was translated into several languages.            

3. Pehr Osbeck (1723-1805)
Naturalist, Reverend. Born May 9, 1723 on a small croft named Oset, from which the surname is descended, in Hålanda Parish near Gothenburg. Parents: the crofter Hans Andersson and Ragnhild Andersdotter. As the parents were poor, close friends economically supported  his schooling. Pehr's father Anders died when Pehr was still "very young". Soon he arrived to Uppsala where he is studied Theology and Natural Science. One of his teachers was Linnaeus who gave him personal guidance.1750-1752 he participated in a voyage of the East Indiaman "Prince Carl" to China as  "a ship preacher". His true mission was given by the Royal Science Academy and it was to collect botanical and zoological material, plus a personal desire from Linnaeus to bring home a tea-bush. But, unfortunately during the voyage home,  the pot fell over board and Osbeck was very sad about the fact that he was not able to bring to Linnaeus this exotic rarity. A book of travels is edited in form of a diary: Diary of an East Indian voyage 1750, 1751 and 1752. The famous Tessin  employed Osbeck as his House preacher and Curator of his Natural History Cabinet at the Castle of Läckö. In 1760 Osbeck was appointed Reverend of the Parishes of Haslöf and Voxtorp in Halland. In 1778 he achieved the degree of DD (doctor of divinity).  Osbeck passed away on Dec 23, 1805. Osbeck and Torén were given very good testimonials by Linnaeus, who seldom praised another person. 
Linnaeus and Osbeck possessed the same attitude to life and sciences and obviously seemed to be pushed by the same enthusiasm as well. Osbeckia chinensis and Phalaena osbeckiana bear Osbeck's name. Osbeck was married to Susanna Dahlberg.   

4. Olof Torén (1718-1753)

Son of a registering-clerk from Gällstad at Åsunden Lake.  Naturalist, clergyman.  Immediately after being ordained in Dec 1747, he got a much sought after among younger clergymen a job as ship-priest on the East Indiaman "Hoppet" (Hope) which was destined for Canton, China.  From Java another East Indiaman, "Freden" (Peace),  joined and the two ships cast anchor at Canton on Aug 21 same year. The voyage back started on Jan 27, 1749. "Hope" was so heavily loaded that the ship could use only small sails, but in spite of that the voyage proceeded without any problems and June 11 the two ships were back in Gothenburg.  The year after, 1750, Torén went on board a new East Indiaman, "Götha Leijon" (the Gothic Lion). In 1750 Osbeck also went to China but they were on board different ships.  In spite of that they returned to Gothenburg on the very same day, July 26, 1772. Torén’s health was broken and he passed away in Näsinge, Bohuslän, thirteen months after being back Sweden.  Before he died he wrote seven letters to Linnaeus about his travels and stay in China.  Torén also tried to bring home thee famous tea-bush but during the last voyage the plants withered. However, ten years later, a certain captain named Ekeberg succeeded to bring home a living tea-bush.  But even if Torén failed  concerning the tea-bush,  he brought home a considerable number of other plants. Linnaeus named Torenia after Torén.     

5. Peter (Petter, Per, Petrus)Forsskål (1732-1763)

Peter Forsskål

 He was born Jan 11, 1732 in Helsinki.  His parents were the Rev. Johan Forsskål and Margareta Kålbeckia.  The father was ministering first in Helsinki, later in Stockholm. Peter was brilliant and talented, something of a child prodigy.  His mother passed away when she was 37 and Peter was only three years old. His father remarried and moved with his family to Uppland and the three brethren Forskål were registered at the university of Uppsala.  The Reverend's salary was not enough to pay the tuition fees for all the children, so the father himself served as a teacher, not at least for Peter, who was the youngest of the three and at this time only ten years old.  However, his father was a very competent teacher - Peter could write long texts in Hebrew when he was 13 and in the year of 1751 he was granted a scholarship for five years due to his "rare and beautiful knowledge".  At this time students were striving for studies in a broader field, thus Peter began to study Theology, Philosophy and Natural Sciences
In 1756 Forsskål finished his studies in Göttingen, Germany, by achieving a doctor's degree. Peter now became an intrepid spokesman for the then non-existing freedom of press in Sweden. He edited the document Thoughts upon Middle Class Freedom (1759). This publication was forbidden by the authorities "at a fine of 1000 dales of silver coins" and Forsskål was given a strong warning by the Collegium of Council for his frankly expressed opinions. During his stay in Germany and Göttingen he made friends with the professor Johann David Michaelis (1717-1891). Most likely it was this very professor who proposed the idea of a scientific expedition to Arabia Felix (=Happy Arabia). Denmark and Sweden had throughout history been fighting for political dominance. During the 18th Century the struggle was transferred to the scientific arena. Sweden started to be a great scientific nation and now the Danes had to do something to respond.

A Forsskål link on the net: http://www.peterforsskal.com/sv/tankar-om-borgerliga-friheten
Arabia was considered as a suitable objective for study, at that time still unexplored. The Danes had a colony in Tranquebar, India and Arabia was considered to be situated not too remotely from this place.  King Fredric V of Denmark entered the arena and was willing to support an expedition.  Thus, he put aside a large sum of money for the purpose. The next step was to get the most suitable members for the expedition.  Finally the list was completed as follows: two Danes, Christian von Haven, Theologian, and Kramer, Phycician; two Germans, Carsten Niebuhr, Officer of Fortifications, Astronomist and Mathematician, and Georg Wilhelm Baurenfiend, Artist; two Swedes, Peter Forsskål, Linguist and Botanist, and Berggren, Colonel of Cavalry and man-servant.  As Forsskål was very disappointed in how he was treated by the Swedish authorities, he was drawn by interest to this project and was encour-aged by the invitation to a second Swede, Berggren

Way of the expedition Constantinople - Yemen

The expedition - following royal instructions - began in 1761.  The voyage on the Danish battleship Grönland was very dramatic, sometimes they met terrible storms, sometimes it was calm and they could not move at all.  A number of seamen died during the voyage, but Forsskål seemed to be very healthy and in spite of the hardships he was very hopeful and filled with expectations. Despite the royal admonitions there was no personal chemistry between the members of the expedition - there were constant quarrels. Forsskål showed to be a hot-tempered person, independent and not the kind of person to be oppressed or put down.  He really could express his opinion.  During the voyage Forsskål was busy solving the mystery of luminescence of the sea.  The expedition passed the Strait of Gibraltar and proceeded into the Mediterranean Sea.  They visited Marseilles and Malta and finally they arrived in Constantinople, on July 30 1761.  This part of the expedition lasted for more than half a year.  Von Haven, one of the Danes, showed himself to be totally without scientific ambitions - his ambitions were exclusively pecuniary.  This man actually planned to kill the other members of the expedition by arsenic poisoning in order to steal the ship's money, but his plans were exposed by Dr Kramer in time.  From Constantinople the ship sailed to Rhodes, where Forsskål went out botanizing.  Von Haven was a constant problem during the whole expedition and a letter from the Danish messenger von Gähler did not make the expedition members happier, as von Gähler declared - on behalf of Danish Authorities - that the intention of expedition was no longer scientific but in the honour of the Kingdom of Denmark.  From Alexandria, Egypt, the expedition must proceed on land to Suez as there was no canal at this time.  Now in Egypt, Forsskål was making long excursions and he often got into trouble with robbers. Niebuhr drew maps and Forsskål and Niebuhr measured the pyramids. On 9 Oct 1762, the expedition left Suez on board on a large sailing-ship carrying 500 passengers. Forsskål predicted a solar eclipse on Oct 17, which made an impression of many people on board the ship.  Sick people were brought to him in the hope that he would cure them. Forsskål instead gave the attendants much useful and practical advice how to live a good life.  The voyage to Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, was on the other hand quite slow and boring.  However, some entertainment was on hand.  Wealthy Turks with their harem ladies were on board and Niebuhr occasionally found a small hole in a cracked plank, which was separating the cabins on the ship. Through the hole he could get a glimpse of the bathing women, how exciting! Earlier hardly a face of a Moslem woman was seen. Now, there was "more" to watch; according to Niebuhr's notes.  On 29 Oct 1762 the ship arrived in Jiddah.

However, the expedition members had to wait until Dec 13 before they could proceed southwards with a tarrad, an Arabian ship. It is very confusing that Forsskål did not make any notes from Jiddah, but he had already sent home a large amount of collected material. It is thought that the reason he made no notes could be that he was overwhelmed by a feeling of longing for home. On Dec 29 the ship dropped anchor in the seaport Lohaja. Now the expedition to Arabia Felix had lasted for nearly two years.
In Lohaja the expedition surprisingly was received by a considerable amount of kindness. Forsskål's wanderings in the mountains were the happiest part of the expedition. He collected plants and Niebuhr drew maps. Forsskål fell silent before a flowering Mekkah balm tree - a dream vision for both Linnaeus and Forsskål. Niebuhr and Forsskål adapted themselves to the Arabic dress and were wearing local clothes. The linguistic genius Forsskål already learnt how to speak the local dialect of Arabic, which was spoken up in the mountains. In Beit el Fakeh Neibuhr got a touch of malaria. The expedition decided to move on to Mocha, Yemen, on the coast instead of going to Sana'a. Forsskål was measuring temperature up to 100 degrees, Fahrenheit degrees, meaning more than 39 degrees Centigrade. In Mohka all problems started and what followed was a nightmare. The Turkish dola, or governor, was utterly suspicious, not at least concerning the big trunks filled with collected things kept and guarded by the expedition.
Big iron spits were thrown through the trunks which results in crashing noises and much fluid pouring out. A snake in alcohol was totally damaged, the alcohol container destroyed. One can imagine the reaction among the Arabs present who now felt the smell of this strongly forbidden liquid. The expedition was accused of illegal trading and an order was given to throw everything into the sea. Among the inhabitants of Mocha arose an unlimited rage towards the strange intruders. Niebuhr's malaria became aggravated and even von Haven was infected by the sickness. 1756, May 25, von Haven passed away, an event commented upon by Forsskål with the following words: "by his departure he made it easier for the rest of us". This von Haven was just a problem. Forsskål continued to botanize.
On one occasion his companion, an ass-driver, committed a burglary in a mosque in the village of Torba. However, Forsskål succeeded to prevent the ass entering the mosque, which according to him "would have been the one and only example in the whole Moslem world history". But he feared what would follow the criminal act. Forsskål, luckily, got off scot-free from this event. Forsskål wanted to climb the mountain named Sabre, but he was refused permission. Big bribes, which opened most doors during the expedition, finally made it possible to climb the mountain. It was 28 June 1773. Suddenly, in the afternoon, Forsskål was felled, struck by a malaria attack. Through many hardships, with Forsskål fastened by ropes on a camel, the less-infected expedition arrived at the town of Jerim, and for a shocking amount of money they succeed in getting accomodation at the shelter. When passing the narrow lanes they were exposed to the throwing of stones.
Forsskål fought against the malaria fever for five days, but finally died 10 July 1763, . Niebuhr had to find a place for the tomb and after much trouble he found one. But when the funeral was completed and the expedition members had left the cemetery, the coffin was dug up and clothings and all things of value were stolen. The governor of the town forced the Jews to rebury Forsskål, taking the coffin as a payment for his services. Hastily Forsskål was buried again without a coffin by the Jews. For the expedition, the only thing was now getting home as soon as possible - the expedition was over. Completely exhausted and sick they succeeded to get to Mocha, where Kramer, Baurenfeind and Berggren were taken on board a ship. Only Niebuhr could stand on his own legs. But, in a week Baurenfeind and Berggren had died too - they were not buried like Forsskål - but were sunk in the sea. Kramer and Niebur were the survivals and intended to get home the fastest way possible. Thus, Kramer and Niebuhr reached Bombay, but here unfortunately Kramer passed away. Now Niebuhr was alone. By himself he found his way home via Persepolis, Baghdad, Aleppo, Cyprus, Jerusalem, Constantinople and all way through Eastern Europe to Copenhagen. At home Niebuhr spent the rest of his life arranging the results of the expedition, travel notes, diaries, scientific experiences, etc. His life ended in 1815, blind and partially paralyzed. Forsskål's herbarium, investigated and specified by Wahl, is still retained in Copenhagen. Everything Forsskål did was done with scientific precision. 

Forsskål on a Finnish memorial stamp in 1979

In time, Linnaeus named a nettle-like plant after Forsskål, which, when it came to Neibuhr's ears made him furious; he thought that the plant chosen by Linnaeus was an offence to the dead man. Niebuhr declared his own opinion of Forsskål as follows: "Forsskål was the most educated man of the expedition, and if he had escaped alive from the event, he, indeed, would be the most learned man of all in Europe. He was utterly ambitious, he exposed himself to big risks, he endured difficult conditions and was also a self-denying person. Negative aspects of his personality were that he easily got into disputes, with his self-will and hot temper".. 

6. Pehr Loefling (1729-1756)
Born in Gästrikland and son of the clerk at the factory of Tollfors. He grew up and became "a tall and handsome young man". Linnaeus kept his attention on the young Loefling and he was usually considered to be "the most beloved disciple", like John. In 1743 Loefling achieved the Bachelor's degree at Uppsala and Linnaeus employed him as a teacher to his own son, Carl. Pehr studied Natural History under Linnaeus from 1745. Loefling was given the nickname "Vultur" (The vulture) by Linnaeus based on Loefling's extreme ability and sharp eyes to find the rarest plants. In 1751 the King of Spain asked Linnaeus to send somebody to investigate the Spanish flora.  Loefling was the man to send and well equipped, he went to Spain and made scientific research there for two years. The Spaniards intended at this time to investigate the area between Orinoco River and Amazon River in Venezuela, South America. "Pedro Loefling" was considered to be the man who was most suitable for the job.

Another task was to improve growing a certain kind of cinnamon which originally came from the districts of Quijos and Macas, a certain kind of cinnamon which was thought to be better and of a higher quality than the kind which was encountered on Ceylon. Loefling was given four accompanying assistants.  But the expedition was very badly equipped and the leader, Joseph Iturriuaga, led the participants from one problem to another.  They were suffering from hunger as there was not enough food, even more when the heat became more and more painful and serious fever diseases were prevalent. At the end of 1756 the half number of the expedition members had passed away. Loefling’s own fever attacks became more and more violent and at last he, too, passed away on February 22, 1756; he was buried below an orange tree at  the missionary station of Caraní. At this point his South American stay had lasted for two years. The Natural History collections comprised mostly medicinal herbs and fishes. When hearing about Loefing’s death, Linnaeus expresses deep mourning and grieves  about the fact that South  America would not be explored for a long time in the future. However, Linnaeus composes some of Loefling’s expedition notes in Iter Hispanicum (Travel to Spain), 1758.                  

7. Johan Gerhard Koenig (1728-1785)

Naturalist. Johann Gerhard König was born in Polish Livland.  Became private student of Linnaeus in 1757, lived in Denmark 1959-1767, naturalist at the nabob in Arcot, India 1768-1773, Doctor of medicine 1773, Danish Missionary in Tranquebar, India 1773-1785. Died in Jagrenatporum near Trankebar, India 1785.

Dec 20, 1771 Linnaeus wrote to his friend John Ellis: "Koenig has found many new things in Tranquebar".

A sample of Koenig's own long hand writings

8. Pehr Kalm (1716-1779)

Naturalist.  Born March, 1716 in Ångermanland region. Parents: the Finnish perpetual curate Gabriel Kalm and Katarina Ross, who left Finnish Österbotten to escape the frequent Russian ravaging-expeditions.  He was first studying Natural History at Åbo, achieving a Bachelor's degree in 1735, but arrived in Uppsala and continued his studies under Linnaeus.  He undertook exploration expeditions within Sweden, to Finland and Russia in the 1740ies. Since 1745 he was a member of the Royal Science Academy.  He became a university lecturer in Natural History and Economy at Åbo university in 1747. The same year he went to North America and returned in 1751.  Mainly his research concentrated on Eastern USA and South East Canada. His travel experiences are told in En resa till Norra America (A travel to North America) (1-3, 1753-1761). He passed away in Åbo on Nov 16,1779.  Among his other publications  the most remarkable are perhaps P Kalms Mag. Docv. Västgötha och Bohusländska resa (P Kalm's Travel to Västergötland and Bohuslän) (1746).  Kalm married in Philadelphia, USA to Anna Margareta Sjöman in 1750.

 The plant family and genus Kalmia is named after Kalm.

Kalm on Finnish memorial stamp 1979

Copyright Photo © 2008 Göran Sjöberg

Kalm´s Papilio glaucus sensationally rediscovered

Two photographs compared to two paintings.

Above is a photograph of a female Papilio glaucus in two positions. It is  taken by the Swedish entomologist and Linnean expert Göran Sjöberg, who recently discovered it in the Thunberg collection in Uppsala.

Compared to Carl Alexander Clerck's paintings (below) in his Icones Insectorum Rariorum, the specimen now shows to be identical to Queen Lovisa Ulrika's specimen of Papilio glaucus, which was thought to be lost long time ago and only known by Clerck's paintings.

The Icones Insectorum Rariorum consists of paintings exclusively from Queen Lovisa Ulrika's collection.

But now the Queen's butterfly, the dark female of Papilio glaucus, exists, and its history is quite unique. In fact, this very female once was collected by Pehr Kalm during his stay in North America and it was later purchased by Queen Lovisa Ulrika to become a part of her fantastic butterfly collection. Somehow, during the past 250 years, it has been transferred to Thunberg's collection in Uppsala, where it now has been rediscovered thanks to Göran Sjöberg.   

9. Daniel Rolander (1725-1793)

From Småland, born in Hälleberga. Rolander is undertaking that special voyage Linnaeus himself wanted to make. Linnaeus supported him financially. Unfortunately Rolander  fell sick already on his way out, and even more worse, he was suffering from a mental disturbance. He used big amounts of alcohol and he became more or less a drunkard.  In 1755 the expedition arrived in Paramaribo, Suriname.  Linnaeus had promised him a paradise on earth but instead it showed to be a veritable inferno. Rolander really felt cheated. His dreadful fright of wild animals,  like big snakes and lizards wired around the trees, big cats sneaking around in the rainforest and irritating insects plus a climate wet streaming with damp, resulted in the interruption of the expedition already after seven months. After the arrival home, Rolander's mental condition impaired, he got suspicious, continued to drink and at last, he passes away in Lund, Skåne, after moving from one place to another, economically totally broken. Before that he carefully guarded his plant collections and was not willing to share it to anybody, not even to Linnaeus. His refusal to share with Linnaeus made Linnaeus a burglar. Once when Rolander stayed in Stockholm Linnaeus broke into Rolander's room and stole a plant, a sauvagesia. After this incident Rolander moved to Denmark, cut off all contact with Linnaeus and donated his entire collections to Linnaeus' Danish competitors. Linnaeus got nothing. Linnaeus characterized Rolander as "the ungrateful disciple Rolander". Not until 1811 Rolander's expedition notes, consisting of 700 pages in Latin, was published posthumously in Denmark under the title  Diarium surinamense, quod sub itinere exotico conscripsit Daniel Rolander (Diary from Suriname which is composed during an exotic journey by Daniel Rolander).     

10. Anton Rolandsson Martin (1729-1785)

Born in Reval, Livland, by Swedish parents. Bachelor's degree at the university of Åbo. Specializing in Botanic. Joined a whaling-ship to Spitzbergen. The stay was very short, three days only, but he documented everything he noticed carefully. He collected some moss and lichen which made Linnaeus satisfied. In spite of his short visit, Martin appears to be the first Swedish polar explorer. Also he collected some zoological and botanic items at the west coast of Norway. The rest of his life Martin spent as a poor tutor and naturalist i Finland. He also passed away in Finland.  


11. Carl Fredrik Adler (1720-1761)

Physician and botanist, first barber-surgeon. His parents were Niklas Adler and Brita Geijer.

Adler studied at Uppsala under Linnaeus and achieved the doctor's degree on June 9, 1752,  upon a thesis on the bioluminescence of sea (Noctiluca marina).
Undertook several voyages as a naval surgeon onboard some different Swedish East Indiamen. Sent home some collected material from China, but the result was quite poor,  as he mostly was forced to stay onboard the ship on behalf of his occupation. From his last voyage he never came back home, he passed away in "fever" on the island of Java, at an age of 41.                                                                                                                                                              

12. Anders Berlin (1746-1773)

From northern Sweden. Botanist.
Defended a doctor's thesis on "De "De usu Muscorum..."(On the use of mosses...) before Linnaeus in 1766. In 1779 he went away to London as he received a Stiegler foundation scholarship. Here he was invited to join an expedition to Guinea, West Africa in 1773, arranged by the naturalist Henry Smeathman. "Africa can´t be worse than Lule lappmark" (Lule lappmark is a barren and cold area in north of Sweden), Berlin writes in letter to Linnaeus. At first Berlin is greatly overwhelmed by all things the West African flora and fauna offered. He compared himself to a blind man who had received his sight. How fantastic it was! "What splendour and  beauty!" he exclaimed.  He soon found many new, not yet described plants, but suddenly he fell sick and died already twelve months after his arrival to Africa. Africa, indeed, was worse than Lule lappmark!                              


13. Jöran Johansson Rothman (1739-1778)

Naturalist,  physician. Born in Huseby foundry Nov 30, 1739. Parents: county medical officer Johan Stensson Rothman and his second wife Anna Elisabet Rudebeck. Dr Rothman, the father of Jöran, was one of Linnaeus' teachers during Linnaeus' upper-school time in Växjö. 

Jöran Rothman acheived Bachelor's degree in Uppsala 1757, MA 1761 and Dr of medicine after defending a thesis on De raphania (On black turnip radish) under Linnaeus. Went to Tunisia and Libya 1774 by order of The royal Science academy. The economic support was unfortunately too small and Rothman soon was totally broke. Even his physical condition was extremely bad and he passed away on Dec 4, 1778. His left behind notes and diaries would be kept at the Science academy but are still not edited. Among his contributions to literature we will find Voltaire and pole translated into Swedish. Rothman was a true lover of literature and he possessed much knowledge in different languages.    


14. Johan Peter Falck (1732-1773)

Naturalist, botanist, physician. Born in Broddetorp, Västergötland in 1732. Parents: the judge-advocate at the Regiment of Skaraborg and Beata Vinge. He faced hard conditions and distress during his childhood, which cast a dark shadow over the whole life of Johan Peter. In 1751 he started to study at the University of Uppsala and made such a progress in Natural history that it was observed by Linnaeus, who made him a teacher for Linnaeus' own son Carl.

On Linnaeus' recommendation Falck was appointed Curator at the Natural History Cabinet in St Petersburg, Russia, belonging to the physician in ordinary of the Empress, the Cabinet Minister C F Kruse. Later in 1765 he was appointed botanices professor at collegium medicum and intendent of the Chemist's Garden in St Petersburg. A German-supported expedition started 1768 - with the well-known names of Pallas, Gmelin and Georgi as participants - in order to explore the up until then unknown Siberia. For more then five years the expedition went on and south-east Russia was crisscrossed and even parts of Siberia. Much collected material was sent to St Petersburg but also to Linnaeus. On the way back home Falck was deeply depressed and sick. To soften his depression and in order to cure himself he used big amounts of opium. In Kazan, situated in present Tataria, Falck got "an attack of his old spleen melacholia" and "left life with a pistol,  on March 21, 1773". His research result was later posthumously edited in three German volumes Beyträge zur topographischen Kenntnis des Russischen Reichs (1785-1786).      



15. Adam Afzelius (1750-1837)

Naturalist. The family is descended from the farmer Afze Larsson of Broddetorp,  Hälunda parish. Adam Afzelius was born in the parsonage of Larf, Västergötland, Oct 7, 1750.  The parents were the dean and the Rev. Arvid Afzelius and Katarina Brisman. Adam was studying at Uppsala 1768-1776 and became in 1777 a university lecturer in Eastern languages. He got influences from Linnaeus and was greatly attracted to Natural science.  He was employed as botanices demonstrator and undertook between 1789 and 1791 a travel to England and Scotland. Further in the 1790ies he arranged some expeditions to Africa. In 1791 Afzelius is arriving to Sierra Leone with some colonizers who were sent by the Sierra Leone Association. Like many among the travellers he fell sick but in spite of that he was able to send home a big amount of botanic materials. In 1793 he was forced  to return to London because of bad health, but soon he was back in Africa again and could recommence his work and research there. But  Sept 20, 1794, resulted in a disaster. The area was bombed from the sea by a French fleet squadron. Afzelius' house, kitchen garden, and the worst - the entire collections were destroyed. He now had to start over again. In 1796 Afzelius returns to England bringing with him a considerable number of plants, insects and animals. In 1799 he is back on Swedish ground. During his absence he was raised to Doctor of medicine in 1797. Home again, he is now discharging the duty of professorship in Botanic and he is in 1812 appointed associate professor in materia medica.

He has composed several essays and thesis, especially notable is  Egenhändiga Anteckningar af Carl Linnaeus om sig sjelf (Notes by Carl Linnaeus concerning himself, written by his own hand) . Afzelius intended to edit a book on the Flora and Fauna of Sierra Leone, but the plan was cancelled. His abundant Natural History and Ethnographic collections were partly donated, partly sold to the Academy of Uppsala. Afzelius passed away on Jan 30, 1837. He was married to Anna Sofia Dassau.                                                        


16. Daniel Carl Solander(1733-1782)

Solander on stamps 2001

Daniel was son of a Rev. from Piteå, north of Sweden. Parents: the Dean and Rev. Carl Solander and Magdalena Bogstadius.

The young Daniel Solander achieived the bachelor's degree at Uppsala 1750.  He became more or less a favourite disciple of Linnaeus. Linnaeus was asked by J Ellis and P Collinson to send over some talented student to England. Linnaeus chose Solander, who was kindly accepted and welcomed by lord Northington.

Solander had fallen in love to Linnaeus' daughter Lisa-Stina and Linnaeus very much hoped to get Solander as his son-in-law. At first letter correspondence between Solander and Linnaeus was intensive and warm. Mostly Solander asked about Lisa-Stina's health. Soon Solander is making a voyage to the Canaries and after that he returns to London. Linnaeus wanted him back to Sweden again, but obviously in vain, as Solander preferred to stay in England where he was appointed an assistant librarian at the British Museum and besides he was elected a member of the Society of Science in London.

Honorary Doctor in Oxford 1771. Participating voyages with James Cook in the Pacific. A fruitful cooperation between Solander and the aristocrat Joseph Banks is now well established. All expenses will be paid by Banks. Solander and Banks collected about 30.000 plants, representing 3.607 different species, of which 110 plant families  and 1.400 species are completely new to Science. Solander became more celebrated abroad than in Sweden. Usually he is considered to be the father of Botanics of the Pacific Ocean. There are busts of him in Auckland and Sidney. A magnificent monument in memory of Solander is raised in Botany Bay, Australia, in 1914. In 1772 Solander is appointed a member of the Royal Swedish Science academy, and the very same year he goes away with Banks to the Hebrides and Iceland.
Daniel Solander passed away in London March 12, 1782, at only 49 years of age. 

Solander became one of Linnaeus' biggest disappointments, in competition to Rolander mentioned above. Primarily Linnaeus hoped to get Solander married to his daughter, but this failed. Secondarily he hoped to get a big amount of collected items from the extensive voyages in the Pacific, but these desires were dashed to the ground, too. At last all letter contacts between suddenly were cut off. Why? (In the last letters Solander did not even ask about the daughter!)  Instead England and Banks now enjoyed the fruits of Solander's voluminous work.

There are some theories that Linnaeus himself would be the real father of Solander. During Linnaeus' travel to Lapland in 1732,  he stayed in the house of the Rev. in Piteå. This travel was very unique, Linnaeus travelled completely alone, without any assistants or guides! In 1733 a baby boy, Daniel, was born! It is really remarkable Solander later was so heartily and warmly welcomed to Uppsala. At that time there were many rumours in circulation. Officially Linnaeus powerfully denied fatherhood - to avow a paternity would, indeed, be utterly fatal and ruinous - but up to our own days suspicion still exists and is even strengthened by for instance English research on this matter. (Besides Daniel was given as second Christian name Carl, a fact to consider and observe!).

A group of islands,  the Solander Islands is to find south of New Zeeland.

Linnaeus named a plant family after Solander, the Solandra.

Among Solander's publications  Elementa botanica (1756), could be mentioned.

Solander is honoured by a mutual Swedish-Australian stamp edition in 2001 (See left!).    


17. Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828)

Thunberg's travels in Japan 

Naturalist, physician, botanist, entomologist. Born Nov 11, 1743 in Jönköping. Parents: the order-clerk Jean Thunberg and Margareta Starkman. Achieved degrees of Candidate of medicine 1769 and Licentiate of medicine in 1770, besides he was awarded a scholarship for foreign travel.  Arrived in 1771 at Paris where he continued to study medicine. Here he got acquaintance with some famous Dutch botanists who were much imposed by Thunberg's abundant knowledge in the plants. 

Thus, he is suggested to visit the Dutch colonies all over the world. A travel now took place via South Africa to Japan and the most important task was be to collect plants and seeds to some flower-loving Dutchmen.On Dec 30, 1771 the ship Schoonzigt and two other ships weighed anchor destinated to Cape Town. Captain and commander was a Swede, a certain Rondecrantz  from Kalmar. Officially Thunberg would serve on the Dutch ships a a ship-doctor. The voyage to Cape Town became utterly dramatic. 113 members of the crew died, two voluntarily jumped over board, and the ship-cook poisoned 20 men when using white lead powder instead of flour. The losses of men of the other ships were as follows: Hoenkop 158 and De jonge Samuel 103. On April 16, 1772 the ship with Thunberg on board arrived to Cape Town. He was already short of money and in order to proceed his intentions to arrange  longer expeditions, he was forced to borrow money from his friends. Thunberg observed and reported a severe accident at sea taking 149 men's lives, caused by neglectful authorities.

Thunberg now made two summer expeditions with starting-point Cape Town. First summer he travelled eastwards up to the border of the Dutch colony, the Gamtoo River. Second summer he travelled in the same direction, but  far away up to Sunday River, at some distance east from present city of Port Elisabeth. After every expedition, a lot of collected material - plants, animals and insects - was sent to the Netherlands and to Sweden as well. Besides Thunberg carefully studied and documented  in detail life of men, women, children  and not at least, life of the animals.    

Thunberg (above) och Sparrman on Swedish stamps from 1973

Wild pigs, weaver-birds, baboons, ostriches, even the peculiar behaviour of the Hottentots were described with the utmost accuracy. Antagonism between the primitive population and the Dutch settlers was reported and he told about a slave,  who had killed his white master, was put to death by a disgusting torture and finally broken upon the wheel. On March 2, 1775 Thunberg left South Africa for Japan, onboard the ship Loo, where he,  as before,  was serving as an assistant ship-doctor. The ship cast anchor at Java May 18. Thunberg was very  much aware about the existing difficulties to enter Japan. At this time, Japan on the whole was a forbidden country to strangers. Missionary operations by the Jesuits had caused violent disturbances which resulted in a total confine to all Catholics - Spaniards and Portuguese - to enter the country. Japan was outside the interests of England at this time, which gave the Dutchmen a monopoly on Japan trade. This was a reality Thunberg had to face. June 20, 1775 Thunberg left Java with two ships, Stavenisse, on which he was on board and an accompanying ship, Bleijenburg. On the South China Sea a terrible typhoon was blowing up. The masts of Bleijenburg were broken, the hull was damaged and the body of ship sprung a leak. They succeeded to get into a harbour of refuge, Macao, but soon Stavenisse weighed anchor again in direction to Nagasaki, where the ship dropped anchor Aug 13. The Japanese showed to be utterly suspicious, even concerning the Dutchmen, which most likely depended on earlier bad behaviour of  Dutch sailors.

Thunberg now had to use all his ability, talent and list to get ashore. Sometimes the sailors were like prisoners on their own ship. The crew had permission to visit only one island, Dejima, at which they cast anchor, not more. What to do now, to get something to be done? How to find an expedient? The language Japanese was forbidden to teach foreigners, but Thunberg showed to be ingenious and started in secret to deal with this for Europeans quite hard tongue. Otherwise, the crew on the ship spent their days in "carousing", and some "pleasant company", which meant a woman could be ordered, with accompanying servant. These "guests" stayed onboard the ship for a day or two, or as long as the sailor desired. If the order was not completely satisfactory,  there was a possibility in making a suitable "exchange".

Doubtfully specified satyrids from Lapland in Thunberg's Swedish butterfly collection

But these pleasures meant nothing to Thunberg. He now pretended to be a Dutchman, it was no problem, as he since his stay i South Africa was able to speak Dutch fluently. Besides, he used the Japanese addictedness to superstition to obtain some economic resources in order to perform his planned excursions. Thus, he sold to the "Japoneses" an earlier purchased "unicorn horn", which originally was a tooth of a narwhale, for a considerable sum of money. With such things the Japanese hoped to get "a longer life, strengthen the powers of life, support memory and cure all sicknesses", according to Thunberg's notes.
After the selling Thunberg was able to both finance his Japanese expeditions and pay his creditors. 

Thunberg's stay in Japan was undertaken during the Tokugawa-shogunate, which started in 1603 and lasted until 1867. There were two leaders in Japan at that time. The Emperor, the religious leader, residing in Kyoto, and the Shogun, the profane leader in Jedo (Tokyo).(Japan was a closed country until the 1860ies, when the isolation was broken).

 On March 4, 1776, a Dutch delegation left Nagasaki to pay a visit to the Shogun in Jedo. In sedan-chairs, "norimons", three Europeans were carried through fourteen Japanese provinces and by sea eight more provinces,  accompanied by 200 Japanese officials, interpreters, servants and soldiers. Thunberg was much irritated by the sedan-chairs and got tired of them, as he could not escape to collect plants. The company on the journey passed  the active and imposing volcano Aso and valleys cultivated by the Japanese for more than a  thousand years. March 9,  they reached Kokura and continued over the narrow strait separating the island Kyushu from Honshu, the Japanese "mainland".  March 14,  they sailed from Shimonoseki,  Honshu and arrived April 7, in Hyogo, a sea-port next to Kobe.

They cast anchor and stayed for three weeks at a small island at sea, and were not able to get ashore, because they had to wait for a suitable wind. Next part of the journey, the part Osaka-Kyoto, was much interesting and the landscape offered striking views. But from a botanic point of view,  the journey was much disappointing. But when Thunberg and his attendants came to the Hakone Mountains he suddenly was allowed to leave the sedan-chair,  and by foot he climbed up and down the hilly slopes of the mountains. What a sight to watch the well-trained Swede,  followed closely by his Japanese sweaty and painting escorting guards! Now finally,  he was able to collect a big number of Japanese plants. Also his Japanese interpreters supported him  in getting lots of material. All collected items would later be presented in Flora japonica (1784), all in the Latin language.

On April 27 the company with Thunberg arrived in the Shogun's City, Jedo. But the strangers had to wait another thee weeks for the audience.  May 18, it took place. The three Europeans were dressed in their finest Dutch cloths, even the "false Dutchman" Thunberg. But only one of the guests was allowed to come before the Shogun, the one who was considered ambassador. And this audience lasted only for only some minute. The way back to Nagasaki gave better results for Thunberg ad he was not that carefully watched as earlier. A lot of plants and seeds were collected,  which would later grow and flourish in Dutch and Swedish gardens.

In Dec 23, Thunberg again was onboard Stavenisse to return to Europe. On his way home de descended upon the coast of Java, where he stayed for six months. Even the inner parts of Java was visited by Thunberg. For the very first time Thunberg here was infected by malaria, but was fortunately cured by some extract of quinine.

On July 5, he proceeded from Java to Ceylon.  He remained here for seven months and visited mostly coastal areas collecting plants and seeds.
In April 1778, he was back in Cape Town and continued his voyage to Europe by the ship Loo and  on March 14, 1779,  he stood again on Swedish soil in the sea-port of Ystad.

In 1784 Thunberg stepped into Linnaeus' shoes as a professor in Uppsala. By and by Thunberg was given the name "Linnaeus of Japan".  Regarding to the field of entomology, a German physician and naturalist Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) later named a certain Japanese knight butterfly 
Papilio memnon thunbergi Siebold after Thunberg.

Thunberg passsed away on Tunaberg Aug
8, 1828. Since 1784 he was married to Brita Charlotta Ruda. Among other publications might be mentioned Flora capensis (1807-1813), and Resa uti Europa, Africa, Asia, förrättad åren 1770-79 (Travel to Europe, Africa, Asia, undertaken during 1770-1779), in four parts, translated into German, English and French. 

18. Anders Sparrman(1748-1820)

Naturalist, physician. Born in Uppsala February 27, 1748. Parents: the Dean and Rev. Erik Sparrman and Brita Högbom. Studied in Uppsala and got in touch with Linnaeus. Linnaeus Natural History lectures made a great impression to him. Linnaeus also noticed Sparrman and considered him to be much talented.
Already at 17, he had the opportunity to join an East Indiaman as a ship-doctor. He returned to Sweden in 1767 and coming year he enrolled at Surgeon faculty. Sparrman was theoretically examined in 1769.  In 1772  the East India Company offers him a  voyage free of charge. He accepted the invitation and the voyage started from Gothenburg and ended in Cape Town. On April 16, 1772 Thunberg and Sparrman met in Cape Town. Sparrman arrived four days earlier than Thunberg. Both of them were greatly surprised to see each other and they now made some fruitful excursions together. But, they had difficulties to cooperate and soon they split up. Sparrman's stay in South Africa lasted for seven months whereupon he sailed away with James Cook.

The voyages with Cook became so extensive that it is estimated they would comprehend about 60.000 nautical miles before they again cast anchor in Cape Town in 1775. Thunberg on the other hand, remained in Cape Town until 1775 and in March, the this year he went to Japan. (See biographical notes under Thunberg!)

In 1781 Sparrman became professor of Natural History and in 1790 he was appointed an assessor of  Collegium medicum.

In 1787 an expedition to Senegal was made. The intention was to establish a Swedish colony - on behalf of the King Gustaf  III - which would differ from earlier colonizers in their attitude to the primitive population. This act would be a protest against the existing slavery, which Sweden considered was unworthy, shameful and inhuman. There was no colony established, but the efforts resulted nevertheless in some good, as Sparrman several times was called as a witness to trials in London where his given evidence strengthened the anti-slavery movement. The natural history outcome of the Senegal adventure was unfortunately quite poor.

Sparrman passed away in Stockholm  Aug 8, 1820.  A lof of publications had left his hand for instance: Resa till Goda Hoppsudden, södra polkretsen och omkring jordklotet, samt omkring Hottentott- och Kafferlandet åren 1772-86, (Travels to Cape of Good Hope, South Polar Circle and around the earth, and around in the Hottentot's and Kaffer's lands during 1772-86)(2:a delen 1783-1818). Some edtions were illustrated.

The plant family Sparrmannia is named after Sparrman.

(Wallström:Swedish explorers, 1982)

19. Johan Gustaf Wahlbom (1724-1808)
Naturalist, physician. Born Jan 7, 1724 in Svennevad, Nerike. Parents: foundry proprietor Johan Wahlbom and Anna Margareta born Ryning. Wahlbom enrolled as a student at Uppsala in student i Uppsala 1744 and he soon became a favourite disciple of Linnaeus. He was conferred a doctor's degree on medicine in 1751 and soon thereafter he was appointed by the Collegium medicum a professor of anatomy and medicine in Stockholm. Went to Berlin in order to continue his anatomical studies. He got an invitation to an employment as a county medical officer in Kalmar. The invitation was so attractive to him that he resigned his appointment as a professor, accepted the invitation and moved to Kalmar. As he belonged to the inner circle of Linnaeus' most confident men, it was supposed he would go abroad for scientific purposes like the others, but it did not happen. He remained in Kalmar all his life and worked here very successfully as a physician. In 1794 he finished his career and received royal signs and attained high honours as a first royal physician in order. During his lifetime he attained even more marks of respect and for instance he was crowned with laurel as a jubilee doctor in Uppsala in 1804. Wahlbom passed away in Kalmar in Jan 25, 1808. Linnaeus honoured Wahlbom by naming a microlepidoptera (a very small moth) species after him, Tortrix wahlbomii, and Thunberg termed one of his recently discovered flowers Wahlbomia indica. Since 1757 Wahlbom was married to Elisabet Kristina Björnstjerna, a daughter of the bishop of Kalmar.  

20. Peter Jonas Bergius (1730-1790)
Naturalist, physician. Born on Erikstad, Hvittaryd parish, in July 6, 1730. At the age of sixteen he enrolled as a student in Lund. Was conferred a doctor's degree on medicine in  Uppsala in 1754. He now  took up his residence in Stockholm. Appointed a professor in natural history and pharmacology in 1761. Assessor in Collegium medicum in 1766. Bergius was as a doctor in great request. He also made research upon the cause of infectious diseases and their disseminations. His knowledge in botanic was great and unusual. He usually is considered to be among Linnaeus' disciples even though he did not perform any longer travels abroad. Through his will, he donated his precious plant collection to the Scientific Academy. A learning centre on gardening was founded on his domains at Karlberg avenue, named "the Bergian Garden". Bergius was the one who introduced the rhubarb in Sweden. Later his property was sold and for the amount received, Haga-Frescati area at Brunnsviken was purchased. 

A number of publications has left Bergius' hands, some about medicine matters, others about gardening.

Some plants were named after Bergius by Linnaeus. Peter Jonas passed away in Stockholm July 10, 1790. He did not marry. 

21. Lars Montin (1723-1785)

Born in a clerical family in Lundby outside Göteborg. At first he came to Lund for studies, but later he went on to Uppsala where he started to study medicine. He travelled to alpine areas in Sweden in 1749. In 1750 he was conferred a doctor's degree on medicine. Thereupon he was working as a physician in the Gothenburg area for some years, later in the province of Halland.   

In the 1800th Century the county medical officers were introduced. One of the tasks of the physicians at that time, was to become familiar with the medical herbs. In time, most physicians became skilled botanists. But Montin did not travel abroad - he remained within the borders of Sweden - and his work developed to become much similar to Linnaeus' own work. Through his numerous contacts and connections he maintained an extensive network.   

Montin started to cooperate with Pehr Osbeck concerning the inventory of flora in the province of Halland, situated on the west coast of Sweden. There were also intense communications with Löfling, Thunberg och Sparrman. Financially Montin supported especially Thunberg. As a token of thanks,  he had the favour and pleasure to investigate and specify a number of plants collected by Thunberg and by other disciples of Linnaeus. 
Thunberg honoured Montin in dedicating him a certain African plant family,  the Montinia.

Montin passed away unmarried in Halmstad, 1785.

22. Peter Hernquist (1726-1808)
Veterinary surgeon, naturalist. "The father of Swedish Veterinary Science". Born in Skrelunda village, Skara parish, Västergötland on May 8, 1726. Parents: horseman Gunnar Jonsson and Kristina Andersdotter. Student at Uppsala 1750. Hernquist showed to possess extraordinary knowledge in natural history that it imposed to Linnaeus so much,  that Hernquist
was entrusted with the task to proof-read Linnaeus' disputations. Many times Hernquist corrected Linnaeus for incorrect writings and quotations. Hernquist achieved the MA degree at Greifswald 1763 and after that,  he and some other Swedes were sent to France to continue, on behalf of the Swedish state, their studies in Veterinary Science in Lyon, at the Bourgelat Veterinary college. The financial support was suddenly stopped by the Estates of Sweden in 1765, and Hernquists companions   were forced to return to Sweden, unable to fulfil their studies. Only Hernquist was left in France and he was the only one capable enough to gain his livelihood by teaching natural history. In this way,  the studies were successfully completed. When he was back in Sweden in 1969,  he started to plan a Veterinary college institution in Sweden. By very poor funds he started on his own land,  Brogården at Skara in 1776 a horse hospital, a chemist's shop, a laboratory etc. By adding money of his own, he finally succeeded to introduce a Veterinary college. He himself was always the impelling force of enterprise, until his death, taking place in Dec 18, 1808.
He married in 1781 Helena Maria Skarin. 

Introduction page

1. Carl(Carolus) Linnaeus

2. Linnaeus' disciples

3. Some Swedish entomologists and other naturalists from the 1700th,  1800th, 1900th and early 2000th Centuries

4. Some foreign entomologists from the 1600th, 1700th, 1800th, 1900th, 2000th and 2100th Centuries


Alfred Brehm: Djurens liv, Världslitteraturens Förlag, Malmö 1931

Berömda män, Stora gestalter genom tiderna, Reader´s Digest 1967

Encarta Encyclopedia Standard 2003

Gaedike, R. & Groll, E. eds. 2001 Entomologen der Welt (Biographien, Sammlungsverbleib). Datenbank, DEI Eberswalde im   ZALF e.V.

Motýlkár Castelpulauthor

Nationalencykolpedin 1998, Bokförlaget Bra böcker, 263 80 Höganäs

Göran Sjöberg, entomologist, consultant

Sörlin, Fagerstedt: Linné och hans apostlar, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, Örebro 2004.

Tuzov, Bogdanov, Devyatkin, Kaabak, Krolev, Murzin, Samodurov, Tarasov: Guide to the  Butterflies of Russia and Adjacent Territories, Moscow 1997

Webster´s Interactive Encyclopedia 1996

Copyright © 2008 Göran Waldeck   All rights reserved

Last updated Mars 30, 2008