Happy birthday, Carl Linnaeus!

Born May 23, 1707, in Stenbrohult, in the province of Småland in southern Sweden (1),

Solanum lycopersicum Virginia Sweets fruit2

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)

Carolus Linnaeus is considered the father of modern taxonomy and the creator of the binomial naming system. What does that mean? Without his classification system, we would be calling a tomato Solanum caule inermi herbaceo, foliis pinnatis incisis, meaning ‘solanum with the smooth stem which is herbaceous and has incised pinnate leaves’. Under Linnaeus’ method, the tomato is simply Solanum lycopersicum (2). When you see an “L.” after a Latin name, this indicates it was named by none other than Linnaeus.

(1) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/linnaeus.html
(2) https://scientiaandveritas.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/carl-linnaeus-the-man-of-many-names/)


About Julie Weisenhorn

U of MN Extension Horticulturist; Minnesota gardener; photographer; Linnaeus admirer.
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