Historical botanical illustration of the day

Strelitzia reginae, Robert Thornton, New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus, Carl Linnaeus, Mrs Morgan's Florilegium, Natalie Waddell

Yesterday, to coincide with the 305th anniversary of the birth of celebrated Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the Biodiversity Heritage Library released The Carl Linnaeus Collection, its latest series of titles via iTunes U.

Linnaeus laid the foundations for the way we categorise plants and animals today.

The collection put together by BHL spans 13 of his published works including Species Plantarum, which established a binomial naming system for plants, and Systema Naturae, which applied the same approach to the animal kingdom.

Also available is Robert Thornton’s New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus, the magnificent florilegium containing Philip Reinagle’s watercolours, including the one above, The Queen Flower, or Strelitzia reginae.

Night-blooming orchid, Mrs Morgan's Florilegium, Natalie Waddell,Also to coincide with Linneaus’s birthday, each year the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University releases a top ten of new species described for the first time in the past 12 months.

Given that more than 18,000 new species were officially described in 2011 and several hundred of these were nominated to the IISE’s committee of experts, whittling the number down was no small task.

The 2012 Top 10 New Species list includes species with creative names and from ancient times as well as species that are sure to become icons for conservation, said the organisation.

The one to the right is the Night-blooming Orchid, or Bulbophyllum nocturnum, photographed by Jaap Vermeulen. You can find the other nine new species here.

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