Happy 300th birthday

Today is Carl Linnaeus’s 300th birthday. Linnaeus invented binomial nomenclature, those two-part Latin names biologists have for living organisms.

I celebrated Linnaeus’s birthday by going out for a walk.

Just down the street from our apartment, I noticed that several Alianthus altissima — an invasive exotic that can be difficult to eradicate — are springing up near the pedestrian bridge over Route 18, and I wondered if the city would remove them before they overwhelmed all the nearby plants. Then I realized that the nearby plants were Euonymus alatus, an equally pernicious invasive exotic.

On the Fairhaven side of the bridge, the tide was low. Standing on the mud flats I saw quite a few Larus delawarensis and Larus argentatus, and a Larus marinus standing there preening. Two Branta canadensis swam in amongst the gulls.

Happy birthday, Carl Linneaus. For even though using binomial nomenclature in ordinary conversation is a pain in the neck, we still admire your genius as a taxonomist.