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Carl Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus and the floral clock

Date of Birth-Death :1701-1778
Country of Birth :Sweden
Major Contribution :Binomial system of nomenclature
Writing by the Scientist :
Systema Naturae (1735)
Classes plantarum (1738)
Philosophia Botanica (1751)
Species plantarum (1753)
Species Naturae (1758)

Carl von Linné or Carl Linnaeus's as the world knows him, had a passion for nature that was well known. His in-depth study of the vast variety of plant and animal species has remained unquestioned even today. Traveling across the European countries on foot, Linnaeus gave concise descriptions of 7,700 species of plants and 4,400 species of animals. He established the modern binomial system of nomenclature (genus name plus species name) for plants and animals, and a method of classification which is, even today indispensable. Linnaeus was the first to designate human beings as Homo sapiens.

So deep was his understanding of plants, that he invented a floral clock to tell the time of the day! He had observed over a number of years that certain plants constantly opened and closed their flowers at particular times of the day, these times varying from species to species. Hence one could deduce the approximate time of day according to which species had opened or closed their flowers. He planted a garden displaying local flowers, arranged in sequence of flowering over the day. These plants would flower even on cloudy and cold days. This constituted a kind of floral clock. Linnaeus called it horologium florae or "Flower Clock". His floral clock idea has been adapted in many gardens since.

The name, Linnaeus, incidentally was his grandfathers invention., A Swedish farmer by birth, he had no surname. He thus invented the name Linnaeus referring to the large and ancient tree known as Linnegard which grew on the family property.

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