The illustrated journals of Carl Linnaeus


“I noticed that she was blood-red before flowering, but that as soon as she blooms her petals become flesh-coloured. As I looked at her I was reminded of Andromeda as described by the poets, and the more I thought about her the more affinity she seemed to have with the plant…

“Her beauty is preserved only so long as she remains a virgin (as often happens with women also) – i.e. until she is fertilized, which will not now be long as she is a bride. She is anchored far out in the water, set always on a little tuft in the marsh and fast tied as if on a rock in the midst of the sea.”

– Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist and father of modern taxonomy, on observing a small Lapland shrub, which he subsequently named Andromeda polifolia.


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