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Linné on line arrow The Life of Linnaeus arrow What was really his name?

What was really his name?

In Linnaeus’ day it was usual for a man who studied to become a clergyman to exchange his patronym for something more refined. The new surname could, for instance, be the name of his village or home farm in a Latin form. So what is the origin of the name Linnaeus/ Linné?

Well, two brothers of Linnaeus’ paternal grandmother took the name Tiliander when they, the sons of a farmer, studied to become clergymen. They were inspired by the mighty linden tree (Latin: Tilia) that stood on their father's farm in Vittaryd, Småland. So when Linnaeus’ father set out to study theology he followed his uncles' example, taking the name of the linden tree but in its Swedish form "lind" - Linnaeus. The old tree is still there today, though in poor condition.

Linnaeus’ signature as a nobleman.

When he became famous internationally he was still Carl Linnaeus and is therefore known in many countries by that name. In Sweden Carl von Linné, his name as a nobleman, is generally used.