Shuffle and Reshuffle

Linnaeus herbarium sheetI don’t know yet what to make of it, but a tiny piece of information on one of the Mark Dion exhibition wall panels caught my attention: Linnaeus was the first botanist to use herbarium sheets. Before, the dried plants destined to become type specimens were glued to a sheet of stiff card – often different specimens on a single sheet – and then bound into a book. Introducing loose sheets, however, allowed Linnaeus to gradually reorganise, reclassify and add to the collection as new species or new information about existing species were discovered.

Picture: Herbarium sheet that Carolus Linnaeus used to describe the plant Hyoscyamus physalodes (Species Plantarum, 1753).

2 thoughts on “Shuffle and Reshuffle

  1. Thanks Greg, this looks interesting. Reminds me a little bit of the six-degrees-of-separation theory according to which everyone can be connected to every person in the world through a chain of six contacts. Good to know we’re not only being catalogued but linked as well!

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