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August 25, 1962


JAMA. 1962;181(8):722-723. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050340060015

Carl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus, 1707-1778) is better known for his binomial nomenclature in natural science than for his contributions in the teaching or practice of medicine. The familiar "L" in botany refers to the binomial names of plants in his Species Plantarum (1753). This classification of plants was based upon characteristics derived from the sexual organs of the flower, the stamens and pistils. Since the design of classification emphasized the identifying features of the flower at the expense of the whole plant, the taxonomic system was not ideal but extremely useful. It dominated European botany for a century.

Linnaeus came of peasant stock; his father, an amateur botanist, was a pastor of extremely modest means and desired that his son follow him into theology. Linnaeus, on the other hand, came to believe that the Lord had chosen him to study the natural sciences and, through Divine Grace, to explore

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