Forskal or Forrskal (or something else) ?

Petersen, Mary Elizabeth (MSX) MEPetersen at ZMUC.KU.DK
Tue Mar 7 14:07:01 CST 2000

Tuesday, 7 March 2000

Dear Colleagues,

As I wrote earlier in a note to Patrik Mráz, the spelling of Peter
Forsskål's family name is as given here, as also confirmed by Ib Friis and
others, but judging from Ib's references and mine, also the given name
(Peter/Pehr) has had more than one version. A slightly more recent
publication dealing with some of Forsskål's work is the following:

Yaron, I., T. Schiøtte & G. Wium-Andersen. 1986. A review of the molluscan
taxa described by P. Forsskål and C. Niebuhr with citation of original
descriptions, discussion of type-material available and selection of some
lectotypes. - Steenstrupia 12 (19): 157-203.

Finally, I sent Patrik misinformation when I stated that Forsskål
(1732-1763) had died in Mocca. I misread - it was the philologist Fr. von
Haven (1727-1763) who died (of malaria) in Mocca; Forsskål died in July 1763
in Yerim, also of malaria.


Dr. Mary E. Petersen
Assistant Editor, Steenstrupia
Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen
Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel +45-35 32 10 67 - Fax +45-35 32 10 10
E-mail: mepetersen at

        -----Original Message-----
        From:   Ib Friis [SMTP:ibf at BOT.KU.DK]
        Sent:   07 March 2000 11:48
        To:     TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
        Subject:        Re: Forskal or Forrskal (or something else) ?

        Dear Colleagues subscribing to TAXACOM,

        The spelling of Forsskål's name is controversial, as he himself was
not very
        consistent in this matter and died in Arabia before his large works

        However, since the 12th International Botanical Congress in
Leningrad in 1975, it
        has been unanimously agreed by systematic botanists that the
spelling "Forsskål"
        should be adopted.

        This spelling was written into the International Code of Botanical
        Art. 23(6), where it has been accepted ever since. More recferences
to Forsskål
        and his work has come into later versions of the International Code
of Botanical
        Nomenclature, using the same spelling.

        Together with a Swedish colleague I reviewed the situation in a note
in the
        botanical taxonomic journal, "Taxon." The reference is: Friis, I. &
M. Thulin,
        1984. The spelling of Pehr Forsskål's family name. - Taxon 33: 668 -

        The subject has also been touched upon in a publication by the RBG,
Kew. The
        refernce is: Hepper, F. N. & I. Friis. 1994. The Plants of Pehr
Forsskål's `Flora
        Aegyptiaco-Arabica' - collected on the Royal Danish Expedition to
Egypt and the
        Yemen 1761-63. - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (pp. i-xii & 1-400).

        There is also a book in large folio on the expedition on which
Forsskål died:
        Rasmussen, S.T. (ed), Den Arabiske Rejse, 1761-1767. Munksgaard. 2.
ed. 1997.
        (there is also a French translation which should have been published
        but I do not have the reference; an English translation does not
exists as yet).

        However, in spite of publications in languages unknown to the
typical English or
        American reader, the main point is that in Rasmussen's work, the
zoologist (the
        marine biologist Torben Wolff) and the botanist (myself) agree on
the spelling
        "Forsskål". Obviously, other zoologists, including the Finnish Pekka
T. Lehtinen,
        may have a different opinion.

        Ib Friis
        Botanical Museum and Library, Copenhagen
        (where we have Forsskål's botanical collctions)

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