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Model of a Horse-chestnut

Plants can be classified according to various criteria: their medicinal properties, where they grow, alphabetical order, etc. In the 18th century, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus classified the plant kingdom based on an external feature: the number of pistils and stamens in the flowers. This was a clear system, which was used for over two hundred years, up until the end of the 20th century. Today’s botanists, however, classify plant species according to DNA matches.
  • Maker: R. Brendel (manufacturer)
  • Date: 1860 - 1950
  • Location: Wroclaw, Polen - Grunewald, Berlijn, Duitsland
  • Scientific name: Aesculus hippocastanum
  • Collection: History of Sciences
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Plants can be classified according to various criteria: their medicinal properties, where they grow, alphabetical order, etc.

Who was Robert Brendel?

Robert Brendel (1821-1898) and his son Reinhold (1861-1927) were botanical model makers. They built more than two hundred different models of plants in all the different groups – algae, mosses, ferns and seed plants – at their workshops in Breslau (present-day Wrocław) and Berlin.  Many of their models can be taken apart to study the underlying structures. They are almost like 3D jigsaws. 

How did Linnaeus classify the plant kingdom?

The botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) used the number of pistils and stamens in a flower as the main characteristic for his classification of the plant kingdom. He distinguished 24 different classes in his ‘sexual system’, with the 24th class consisting of plants without flowers, known as Cryptogamia.

How did Linnaeus classify Aesculus hippocastanum?

Linnaeus classified Aesculus hippocastanum in the class of Heptandria. 

Which family does Aesculus hippocastanum belong to now?

Based on similarities in DNA, Aesculus hippocastanum is now considered to belong to the Sapindaceae (soapberry family).

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