Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society

Cover image for Vol. 182 Issue 4

Edited By: Michael F. Fay

Impact Factor: 2.523

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 48/209 (Plant Sciences)

Online ISSN: 1095-8339

Associated Title(s): Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

Society Information

The Linnean Society of London was founded in 1788 by James Edward Smith for '...the cultivation of the science of Natural History in all its branches ...' and takes its name from the celebrated Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus [1707-1778]. The Society received its Royal Charter in 1802 and is called 'The Linnean Society of London' to distinguish it from other Linnean societies elsewhere in the world. Fellowship is open to all interested in Natural History and now numbers around 2600, approximately 800 of the Fellowship being based outside the UK. Queen Elizabeth II is our Royal Patron and Honorary Members include other members of the British Royal family, the King of Sweden and his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Japan. The first commoner appointed Honorary Member since 1812 was Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone in 2001.

The Fellowship is elected, each Fellow being required to sign the Roll & Charter book before being formally admitted by the President. Apart from Fellows, the Society has various other categories of membership. 'Foreign Members' are limited to 50. The equivalent for British members is the 'Fellow honoris causa' which is limited to 25 people.  There is as an 'Associate' membership for those under 30 and a student membership.

The Fellows receive the Linnean Newsletter, Pulse and Proceedings as well as an Annual Report. They can use the Library and have books on loan while resident in the UK, including journals. They can attend meetings and use other facilities.

The Fellows elect a Council to govern the Society from which they choose a President, Treasurer and Botanical, Editorial and Zoological Secretaries. These are honorary positions. Council usually meets four times a year and instructs the Society's paid staff of Executive Secretary, Librarian, Accountant, Office Manager and Membership Secretary to conduct the Society's business, delegated via various specialist Committees.

The Society has occupied its present purpose-built Rooms in Burlington House since 1873 when it moved from accommodation in Old Burlington House (now the Reynolds Room of the Royal Academy of Arts). The Darwin/Wallace papers on evolution by natural selection were presented in the Reynolds Room and a plaque marks that event. Our present Meeting Room is on the ground floor of Burlington House and has the well-known portrait of Charles Darwin by John Collier and a portrait of Alfred Russel Wallace, by Roger Remington. The rooms provide additionally a Library, various Committee rooms and offices, which are used for meetings by a number of other cognate Societies not having their own premises.

The Society holds regular meetings throughout the academic year. These range from evening meetings to symposia extending over several days. These are open to all, some have a registration fee to cover costs. We try to offer a service to those overseas by e-mail. Apart from published works the Society also holds many manuscripts and correspondence collections which are available by appointment. The Library is also available to non-Fellows for reference purposes only by appointment.


The Society publishes three scientific Journals jointly with Wiley (Botanical Journal, Biological Journal and Zoological Journal) and arranges a series of scientific meetings, which range from evening meetings to symposia extending over several days. As the oldest extant biological Society in England, these are often held in association with other more specialist Societies. The results can be published in one of the Society's Journals or as a special Symposium volume. 

Income is generated from the sale of books and journals, the provision of facilities such as rooms, the subscriptions of the Fellows and careful management of invested capital. Financial details are given in April every year in the Annual Report.