2007 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of famous Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, who published the first Flora of Sweden. To mark the event a number of publications have appeared, including one with a Liverpool connection. John Edmondson, head of science at World Museum Liverpool, has edited an English translation of Linnaeus’ travel diaries of his tours of the Baltic islands of Öland and Gotland in 1741. There, Linnaeus observed many plants and animals previously unrecorded from Sweden as well as many aspects of the local folklore, geology, agricultural practices and copies of runic inscriptions.
The account, which was translated into English by William T. Stearn and Marie Åsberg, has been brought right up to date, with the plant, animal and fossil names revised by numerous scholars including Guy Knight, Ian Wallace and Alan Bowden of World Museum Liverpool as well as specialists at the Natural History Museum and elsewhere. It has been published (ISBN2: 978 91 633 0361 6) by the Swedish publisher Gyllene Snittet, and includes photographs of Linnaeus’ plant specimens and notes from the Linnaean herbarium in London. A new Runic font has been designed for the book, which reproduces and translates the inscriptions on ancient memorial stones found during the expedition.