Fundamenta Botanica

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Title page of Linnaeus's Fundamenta Botanica of 1736.

Fundamenta Botanica (“Foundations of botany”) (Amsterdam, Salomon Schouten, ed. 1, 1736) was one of the major works of the Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) and issued both as a separate work and part of the Bibliotheca Botanica.[1]

This book states, for the first time, Linnaeus's ideas for the reformation of botanical taxonomy. The first edition is dated 1736 but it was released on 14 September 1735 (Linnaeus wrote in his personal copy “Typus absolutus 1735, Sept. 3”).[2] The full title was Fundamenta Botanica, quae Majorum Operum Prodromi instar Theoriam Scientiae Botanices by breves Aphorismos tradunt. The first edition was dedicated to Olof Rudbeck, Lorenz Heister, Adriaan van Royen, Johann Jacob Dillen, Antoine de Jussieu, Giulio Pontedera, Johann Amman, Johannes Burman, Pierre Magnol and Giuseppe Monti. A second edition was published in Stockholm in 1740 and a third in Amsterdam in 1741. The publication of this work as well as Genera Plantarum and Systema Naturae was encouraged by Herman Boerhaave who had been Linnaeus's teacher.

The Fundamenta in combination with the Critica Botanica lays Linnaeus's foundations for his system of nomenclature, classification and botanical terminology that were later reviewed and expanded in the Philosophia Botanica (1751). He does this by means of 365 Aphorisms (principles) arranged into 12 chapters:

Table of contents[edit]

Fundamenta aphorisms

I. Bibliotheca (library), Aphorismen 1–52
II. Systemata (systematics), 53–77
III. Plantae (plants), 78–85
IV. Fructificatio (fruit carrier), 86–131
V. Sexus (sex), 132–150
VI. Characteres (characterisation), 151–209
VII. Nouns (names), 210–255
VIII. Differentiae (distinction), 256–305
IX. Varietates (Varieties), 306–317
X. Synonyms (synonyms), 318–324
XI. Adumbrationes (description), 325–335
XII. Vires (forces), 336–365

Bibliographic details[edit]

Full bibliographic details including exact dates of publication, pagination, editions, facsimiles, brief outline of contents, location of copies, secondary sources, translations, reprints, manuscripts, travelogues, and commentaries are given in Stafleu and Cowan's Taxonomic Literature.[3]


  1. ^ A full scan of ed. 1 of Fundamenta Botanica
  2. ^ Stafleu, Frans A. 1971. Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: the Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735–1789. Utrecht: International Association for Plant Taxonomy. ISBN 90-6046-064-2. p. 29.
  3. ^ Stafleu & Cowan, p. 75.


  • Stafleu, Frans A. & Cowan, Richard S. 1981. "Taxonomic Literature. A Selective Guide to Botanical Publications with dates, Commentaries and Types. Vol III: Lh–O." Regnum Vegetabile 105.