Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/511

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LINNÆUS

has come to prevail of judging of the nature of plants from the etymology of their names," and recommends that generic names be formed exclusively "out of words that have of themselves no meaning"; and he ridicules the long descriptive names then used by many botanists.[1] The designations of species, however, he considers, should consist of the name of the genus plus a clear descriptive indication of the differentia of the species; and since the latter can not always be expressed by a single word, Tournefort does not employ a uniformly binomial nomenclature. But from the reforms already recommended and adopted by the great botanist of the preceding generation to the Linnæan system of "trivial" specific names, the step was easy and obvious.

Again, in providing botany with an appropriate set of terms for the concise indication of the parts and organs of plants, Linnæus was merely following the suggestion and extending the work of another great seventeenth-century reformer in science. It was Joachim Jung[2]—a naturalist whose intellectual force so impressed his contemporaries that Leibniz did not hesitate to compare him to Aristotle, or Comenius to liken him to Euclid—who was the father of comparative morphology in botany, who introduced into the study of the characters of plants real thoroughness and precision, who insisted upon the need for a system of clear, unambiguous organographic terms, and who himself devised and introduced a number of the terms still in use. His "Isagoge Phytoscopica" (1622) was wholly devoted to urging and exemplifying this reform; all the principal parts of plants are distinguished and defined with admirable clearness, their possible variations of form noted, and new and explicit names for these variations proposed. Jung seems,[3] for example, to have been the first to employ the terms petiole or pedicule and perianth; to classify the arrangements of leaflets as digitate and pinnate, and to subdivide the latter sort into paripinnate and imparipinnate; to speak of the disposition of leaves as opposed, alternate, triangulate, etc. The descriptive terminology of botany has, of course, since expanded immensely; but the credit for the origination of the language of that science must unquestionably be assigned to Jung and not to Linnæus.

It still remains true, however, that Linnæus united these three reforms in a single system; that he carried each of them farther than had any of his predecessors; and that by the force of his personality he was able to gain for them a general acceptance which they had hitherto lacked. Though we must, therefore, make some deduction


  1. "Elemens de Botanique," 1694, pp. 14, 36, 38.
  2. Born in Lübeck, 1587, (lied at Hamburg, 1657. He published comparatively little, and his principal botanical works were brought out by friends after his death.
  3. The assertion that Jung was not anticipated in the use of these terms rests upon the authority of Hoefer, "Hist, de la Botanique."