Collecting localities



Biographical data


Torén (or Toreen), Olof


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 5: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement I)


Born: 1718, Sätila, Västergötland, Sweden. Died: 1753, Nersingoë or Näsinge, Bohuslän, Sweden.



Was matriculated in Uppsala University in 1737, and entered the service of the Swedish East India Company as a chaplain in 1747, making two voyages to China. From 1750-52 chaplain on a ship of the Swedish East India Company during a voyage to India and China. From July 1751-Jan. 1752 the ship, the ‘Gothic Lion’ was anchored at Whampoa (near Kanton), at the same time as that of Osbeck (see there).

He presented Linnaeus with seven letters and an itinerary, which were appended to the diary of Osbeck.1 From the cited data it is evident that he touched at Queda (= Kedah, Malay Peninsula) in Malacca Strait on May 13, 1751. He was one of Linné’s apostles, but died of consumption when still young.

He is commemorated in the genus Torenia L.


Collecting localities:2

In the ‘Hoppet’, 1748-49. Sailing from Göteborg in Jan. 1748; via Cadiz, the Cape; passing Sunda Straits, anchoring at Angri (= Anjer) in W. Java (July 24), T. was ashore for some hours; Canton (Aug. 21-Jan. 28, 1749); on the home voyage anchoring in New Bay (= Meeuwenbaai) between Prinsen Isl. and the SW. point of Java (Feb. 16-17), touching Mew Island; Keeling Islands, the Cape, St Helena; July 1749 back at Göteborg.-In the ‘Götha Leyon’, 1750-52. Sailing from Göteborg, April 1, 1750; via Dunkirk, Cadiz, Madeira (T. ashore), the Cape, between S. Africa and Madagascar, Johanna, to Surat (India, staying for more than 5 months), Mangalore and Mahié (Mahé) (also coast of Malabar); passing Malacca Straits, touching at Queda (May 13-26, 1751), on the way to Canton (staying 6 months); Jan. 4, 1752 sailing from Canton on the home voyage, this time passing Sunda Straits, taking in water in New (Mew) Bay (Jan. 19-20) in the meanwhile T. visiting a little coral islet Cantaye; rounding the Cape, anchoring at Ascension, and from there in company with the ‘Prins Carl’ (see Osbeck) to Göteborg (arrival July 26).



He presented plants collected during this voyage to Linnaeus. In Herb. Linn. Soc. Lond. [LINN]; dupl. in Herb. State Mus. Stockholm [S].

Evidently material (also zoological) from both voyages was sent to Linnaeus by M. Lagerström, Director of the Swedish E.I.C.



(1) cf. German edition Osbeck, Reise nach Ostindien and China, Rostock 1765, p. 433-514.

(2) Carl-Axel Torén: ‘Om Olof Torén. Hans färder till Kina och Indien som skeppspredikant samt om växtxläktet Torenia L.’ (Svensk. Linné-Sällskap. Årsskr. 36, 1953, p. 17-56, fig. 1-25, Bil. 1-9 incl. map). Author consulted MS diaries and reports of the ship’s assistant and clerk Christ. Hindr. Braad, who accompanied both voyages.


biographical data:

Bretschneider, Hist. Bet. Discov. China, 1898, p. 60; Krok, Bibl. Bot. Suec., 1925, p. 721-722; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; Svensk. Linné-Sällskap. Årsskr. 36, 1953, p. 17-56.