January 20, 1741
Today is the birthday of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus the Younger, the son of the great Carl Linnaeus or Carl von Linné.
To distinguish him from his famous father, he was referred to as Linnaeus filius, Latin for Linnaeus, the son. For botanical purposes, he is referred to with the abbreviation L.f. for Linnaeus filius.
Carl Linneaus learned of his son’s birth while he was away in Stockholm. He wrote a letter straight away to his wife Sara Lisa, saying:
“How excited I was when I received the news I had been longing for…
I kiss the gracious hand of God ... that we have been blessed with a son.
Take care to avoid changes of temperature and draughts, for carelessness of that sort might harm you.
I remain, my dearest wife, your faithful husband,
Greetings to my little Carl.”
When he was just nine years old, Linnaeus filius enrolled at the University of Uppsala and taught by great botanists like Pehr Löfling, Daniel Solander, and Johan Peter Falk.
Eleven years later, Linnaeus filius backfilled his father’s position as the chair of Practical Medicine at the University. Unfortunately, Linnaeus filius was resented by his peers after favoritism played a role in the promotion. At the tender age of 22, Linnaeus filius got the job without applying or defending a thesis.
Twenty years later, Linnaeus filius was in the middle of a two-year-long expedition through Europe. When he reached London, Linnaeus filius became ill and died from a stroke. He was just 42 years old.