Wheat type specimen

George Clifford

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum

The wheat type specimen is from the George Clifford Herbarium. Linnaeus described this specimen and gave it the scientific name Triticum aestivum in his catalogue Species Plantarum published in 1753.

The Clifford Herbarium contains over 3,000 specimens collected by George Clifford (1685-1760), an extraordinarily wealthy Anglo-Dutch director of the Dutch India Company.

The herbarium includes plants that were newly cultivated in Europe at the time of collection, as well as specimens from collectors around the world. Clifford had a great passion for plants, and his garden at Hartekamp was inspired by the famous botanists of his time, such as Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1739).

On a visit to the home of botanist Johannes Burman (1706-1779), Clifford was introduced to an up-and-coming young Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus. Clifford was keen to employ Linnaeus at Hartekamp. So, in 1735 Linnaeus started his dream job of supervising the hothouses and naming and classifying specimens according to his new system.

During his stay he produced an important botanical work, the Hortus Cliffortianus, considered a precursor of his Species Plantarum (1753).

Linnaeus described many new species from living and dried specimens in Clifford's possession. Many of the plants in the Clifford Herbarium are the actual specimens that Linnaeus described and assigned a scientific name to for that plant species: the type specimens.

Explore other key objects related to Naming nature >

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Wheat type specimen
  • Creator: George Clifford
  • Location: Netherlands
  • Location Created: Hartekamp, Heemstede, Netherlands
  • Subject Keywords: Naming nature