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Critica Botanica


Critica Botanica ("Critique of botany", Leiden, July 1737) was written by Swedish botanist, physician, zoologist and naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778). The book was published in Germany when Linnaeus was twenty-nine with a discursus by the botanist Johannes Browallius (1707–1755), bishop of Åbo. The first and only edition was published in July 1737 under the full title Critica botanica in qua nomina plantarum generica, specifica & variantia examini subjiciuntur, selectoria confirmantur, indigna rejiciuntur; simulque doctrina circa denominationem plantarum traditur. Seu Fundamentorum botanicorum pars IV Accedit Johannis Browallii De necessitate historiae naturalis discursus.Linnaeus's principles of botanical nomenclature were first expounded in Fundamenta Botanica ("Foundations of botany") of 1736 chapters VII to X which contained the aphorisms (principles) 210 to 324 that outlined the rules for the acceptance and formation of names. These were later elaborated, with numerous examples, in his Critica Botanica of 1737. The practical application of these rules was soon seen in subsequent publications such as Flora Lapponica ("Flora of Lapland", 1737), Hortus Cliffortianus ("In honour of Clifford's garden", 1738), and Flora Svecica ("Flora of Sweden", 1746). Together the Fundamenta and Critica summarised Linnaeus's thoughts on plant nomenclature and classification which he later revised and elaborated in his Philosophia Botanica of 1751. In the Critica Linnaeus presented a series of rules which guided him in his own publications, established standards of procedure for his followers, and led him to discard on a grand scale the names used by his predecessors. Many of his canons have long since been disregarded, but they ensured that modern botanical nomenclature at least began with a series of well-formed, euphonious and convenient names.
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original title: Critica Botanica
language: Latin
date of publication: 1737

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