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Academy of Natural Sciences
Jefferson’s Botanists: Lewis and Clark Discover the Plants of the West
Richard McCourt (au); Earle Spamer (au)
This beautiful concise book discusses how Meriwether Lewis collected plant specimens on the journey of exploration that he & William Clark led across the American West to the Pacific Ocean & back. It includes facsimile excerpts from their original journals. The task of plant collecting was Lewis’s military duty, but he seems to have had a real flair for collecting & describing the specimens. It is clear that he spent long hours observing the specimens, perhaps with a magnifying glass, cross-checking the anatomy of the plant before him with an illustrated ed. of Linnaeus’s botany book. The hundreds of specimens that survive today are stored in special storage cabinets, in a climate controlled room at the Acad. of Natural Sci. in Phila. Color illus.
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