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Herbarium of Nils Rosén von Rosenstein

A pre-Linnean collection of plants at the Swedish Museum of Natural History comprises 53 small sized sheets with pressed plants that belonged to Nils Rosén von Rosenstein (1706-1773).

Rosén was a contemporary of Carl Linnaeus and Professor of Medicine and Botany at Uppsala University, a position that Linnaeus later had. Rosén von Rosenstein is regarded as the father of Swedish Pediatrics, but was also personal physician to the Swedish kings Fredrik I, Adolf Fredrik, and Gustav III.  

The herbarium

The herbarium contains plants that were used in herbal medicine, a reference collection. They are all provided with pre-Linnean phrase names as well as trivial names in German.

References to old works

At a later stage, more modern phrase names have been added, probably by Rosén von Rosenstein himself, in several cases followed by "CBP", "JRH", "Moris. Hist.", eller "JBH". These abbreviations are references to old botanical works and collections where the name occurs [CBP = Caspar Bauhin, Pinax theatri botanici (1623); JRH = Johannis Rajus (John Ray), Historia plantarum (1686-1704); Moris Hist. = Robert Morison, Plantarum historiae universalis Oxoniensis (1680-1699); JBH = Joachim Burser (†1639) Hortus siccus].


Each specimen in the collection has a printed red or black label with an urn or a pennant. This kind of herbarium ornamentations were used on the continent by several of the botanists in the 17th and early 18th centuries. If similar labels could be found in a collection elsewhere, we would learn more about the origin of the herbarium.


The plants in Rosén´s herbarium could have been collected by himself, but more likely they represent specimens presented to him by some of the physicians and botanists he met with during his journey through Germany, France and the Netherlands in 1730.


Strandell, B. 1970-1971. Ett par tidiga biografier över Linné och Rosén. Svenska Linnésällskapets årsskrift 53/54: 36-43.