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LINUM - A little 'who’s who' in some Linum genera

About me:

In retirement and without a garden - a completely new experience - I began in Berlin about 15 years ago to take a closer look at the genus names of plants in which people are more or less "hidden" except for their names, which at times are not easy to bring out, due to the use of anagrams and other incidental concealment. These generic names are called "eponyms". I have published several articles on this at the Botanical Garden Berlin, e.g. 2018 arranged in alphabetical order by the genus names (1) and 2022 in alphabetical order by personal names (2). If you enjoy hunting for kings, queens and other aristocrats, please look under the respective countries (France, Sweden, etc.) or duchies (Baden, Oranien, Württemberg and so on). These publications are freely accessible via the Botanic Garden and can be used according to the guidelines in the imprint.

I came to this work because in the course of my research I came across a great many errors in scientific literature, but also in the popular reference books on the Internet. I dealt with these errors in detail in Part 2 of my 2018 directory. In the publication of 2022, I have therefore given the dedications in the respective original language, but the acquisition of the original literature was sometimes very difficult. When "leafing through" you can see that you probably also have many of the people honoured in your home, on your terrace or in your garden. Just use the search function to look up Bougainvillea, Clivia, Dahlia, Forsythia, Saintpaulia, Wisteria ... I wish you many an 'Aah' and 'Ooh'.

- Lotte Burkhardt

The genus Linum has many species names, scientifically called epithets, with Linum usitatissimum being the most prominent on this website. In the genus Linum, however, many people are also honoured in species names. Be it that they lived locally or made expeditions to the respective areas, or that they made a great contribution to botany in general. A few people will be presented here as representatives, all of whom, with the exception of François de Beauharnais, are also honoured in a genus and can thus be found in my publications.

François de Beauharnais, copyright-free photo at:çois_de_Beauharnais.jpg.

L. beauharnaisianum Spadoni 1808 (from Siberia)

François VII de Beauharnais (1756-1846), French aristocrat, as a member of Parliament, he defended the privileges of the nobility and the rights of the king. Thus he stood in contrast to his brother Alexandre de Beauharnais. Through him he was brother-in-law to Napoleon's future wife, Joséphine (1763-1814). Among other things, François de Beauharnais was envoy at the court in Etruria and Spain. He is said to have been a great patron of the natural sciences, especially botany.

L. boissieri Asch. & Sint. ex Boiss. 1888 (from Turkey)

Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810-1885), Swiss botanist, undertook botanical journeys to Italy, Spain and the Canary Islands as well as to the Orient (as far as India). Often accompanied by his daughter Caroline Barbey-Boissier and her husband William Barbey(-Boissier) he collected plants, shells and snails. He possessed a large Herbarium and wrote among others 'Voyage botanique dans le midi de l'Espagne', 'Flora orientalis'. Both the 'Herbier Boissier' and the 'Herbier Barbey-Boissier' are today in the Geneva 'Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques', where a journal entitled 'Boissiera' is also published.

L. burkartii Mildner 1972 (from Uruguay and Argentina)

Arturo Erhardo (Erardo) Burkart (1906-1975), Argentine botanist and agricultural engineer, specialist in legumes, professor of agricultural sciences in La Plata 1939-57, was also director of the Botanical Institute Darwinion 1936-75, studied and worked among others with Lorenzo Raimundo Parodi, published with others the 'Enciclopedia argentina de agricultura y jardinería'.

Adelbert von Chamisso during the voyage round the world, Drawing by Louis Choris, copyright-free photo at:

L. chamissonis Schiede 1826 (from central Chile)

Ludolf Karl Adelbert von Chamisso (French: Louis Charles Adélaïde Chamissot de Boncourt) (1781-1838), (French) German writer, poet, botanist and naturalist. He lived in Berlin after the French Revolution, took part in the Rurik expedition of the Russian Count Nicolaj Petrovic Romanzoff in 1815-18, and botanised and mapped the American west coast. With the ship's doctor and naturalist Johann Friedrich Gustav von Eschscholtz, he observed the generational change of the salps (also called sea grapes; barrel-shaped tunicates) and later dedicated the 'Eschscholzia californica' (Californian poppy) to him. Chamisso was curator at the (old) Botanical Garden from 1819 onwards in Berlin, wrote many scientific works, including his 'Voyage pittoresque autour du monde', but is better known as a writer of prose such as 'Peter Schlemihl's Miraculous Story' and poetry.

L. komarovii Juz. 1949 (from Russia)

Wladimir Leontjewitsch Komarow, engl. Vladimir Leontyevich Komarov (1869-1945),

Russian botanist and geographer, took part in two expeditions to Turkestan and Kazakhstan, later to the Far East, wrote extensively about each e.g. 'Florae peninsulae Kuz. Florae peninsulae Kamchatka' and 'Coniferae of Manchuria', from 1898 curator at the Botanical Garden, from 1902 lecturer, then professor at the University of St. Petersburg, president of the Russian Botanical Society, the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the Komarov Botanical Institute in St. Petersburg, named after him. He published the 'Flora SSSR', and was therefore honoured in this linen name.

L. lewisii Pursh 1813 (in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and on the Missouri)

Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809), American pioneer, private secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, 1804-06 explored the American West with William Clark ('Lewis-Clark Expedition') and was afterwards governor of the Louisiana Territory. In his diaries he describes the often arduous, dangerous journey west, the geology, geography, Indian tribes and their languages as well as the plants and animals found. Lewis died in 1809 either by murder or suicide during a journey to Washington to publish his travelogues (collected by Lewis himself).

Peter Simon von Pallas, copyright-free photo at:

L. pallasianum Schult. 1820 (from Romania, from Ukraine with Crimea to east of Volgograd, Saratov to Caspian Sea)

Peter Simon von Pallas (1741-1811), (German) Russian naturalist and geographer, was in Russian service under Catherine the Great, undertook an expedition to southern Siberia, the Caspian Sea, the Urals and the Baikal region as far as the Chinese border in 1768-74, and lived in Crimea for 15 years. Pallas wrote numerous zoological, geological, geographical and ethnological works, also dealt with an iron meteorite (a 'prototype' of the Pallasites*). He died during his work on the 'Zoographica Rosso-Asiatica' in Berlin.

*probably collected by Pallas "in Chersoneso heracleotico" - Chersones (at first also called Herakleia) in the Crimea, today in Sevastopol.

L. thunbergii Eckl. & Zeyh. 1835 (from Angola, Cape Provinces, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe)

Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), Swedish physician, naturalist and the most successful of Linné's students, the so-called 'apostles'. He became professor of medicine and botany, from 1784 head of the botanical garden at Uppsala University in succession to Carl Linné filius. As a ship's doctor, he travelled with the Dutch East India Company in 1770, first to the Cape, where he collected plants on expeditions into the interior. He travelled on to Japan via Java and worked as a surgeon in the Deshima settlement off Nagasaki from 1776 on. Despite the Japanese isolation of foreigners policy, he was able to establish some contacts with the Europeans and thus brought Western medicine there. He was also able to obtain plants - sometimes from animal feed, of necessity - and make his own observations on a trip to Edo (now Tokyo). Thunberg wrote a travelogue and a 'Flora Japonica' about this trip.

L. weberbaueri (from Ecuador, Peru)

August Weberbauer (1871-1948), German-Peruvian botanist, was director of the Victoria Botanical Garden in Cameroon from 1906-7, and later (1908-14) of the zoological and botanical garden in Lima/Peru. From 1922-32 as a professor of pharmaceutical botany at the University of Lima. He explored the flora of the Andes intensively. Weberbauer also wrote about the climatic dependence of the plant world, e.g. 'Grundzüge von Klima und Pflanzenverteilung in den peruanischen Anden' and 'Plant Geographical Studies in Southern Peru'.

text prepared by:

Lotte Burkhardt

Joachim-Karnatz-Allee 23, 10557 Berlin


1/ Verzeichnis eponymischer Pflanzennamen - Erweiterte Edition - 2018 / Index of Eponymic Plant Names - Extended Edition 2018 / Index de Noms Éponymiques des Plantes - Édition augmentée. 2018 (

2/ Enzyklopädie zu eponymischen Pflanzennamen - Von Menschen & ihren Pflanzen / Encyclopedia of Eponymic Plant Names / Encyclopédie de Noms Éponymiques des Plantes (


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