With the Spaniards to South America - Pehr Löfling (1729–1756)

The little plant Loeflingia of the Pink family

In 1750 Linnaeus was affected by gout and had to stay in bed for a period of time. By his side the young student Löfling sat and wrote manuscripts at Linnaeus’ dictations. Löfling's only passion was botany, and he soon became Linnaeus’ favourite pupil. He was born in Valbo in the county of Gästrikland and he took his PhD at Uppsala University at the age of 20.

Linnaeus had sent his pupils to all corners of the world, but still he did not know very much about the plants of the Mediterranean. He was eager to send someone to Spain and asked Löfling to go there. Löfling's journey to Spain was successful and he sent home many new plants to Linnaeus, who gave the name Loeflingia to a new genus in the Pink family, Caryophyllaceae.

Löfling was a humble man who was much appreciated in Spain. He was offered to join a Spanish expedition to South America, and in Venezuela he collected many plants. Unfortunately he caught malaria in the tropical climate. He died in a mission and was buried close to an orange tree.

The death of Löfling was a terrible loss for Linnaeus. He published his discoveries in a book and wrote that he never would forget Löfling, his dearest and best student.

Last modified: 2021-06-21