This Day in History: 1753-05-01

Linneus’ Species Plantarum was first published on this day.
The publication of Species Plantarum marks the start of modern taxonomy, it was the first botanical work to consistently apply binomial names, listing all the plant species known to Linneus at the time, consisting of 5,940 names. Replacing the earlier, cumbersome, polynomial names with a more concise, consistently used two word name simplified botany and zoology immensely. In 1758 Linnaeus’ tenth edition of Systema Naturae would extend the same technique to animals for the first time.

With the scientific world’s acceptance of these works the Linnaean system was born, and is currently used today much as it was in the 18th century, these two publications are regarded as the starting point for valid scientific names with pre-Linnaean names being considered invalid.