When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark embarked on their landmark journey of discovery in 1804, President Thomas Jefferson directed them to notice “the soil and face of the country, its growth and vegetable productions.” The explorers collected and preserved nearly two hundred seeds and specimens, from small prairie flowers to towering evergreen trees, many of them previously unknown to science. From the Indians they encountered, they learned which plants were ediblethus avoiding starvationand which could be used as building materials for their canoes and shelters. Looking to find a water route across North America, map the uncharted territory, and discuss peaceful trade with the Indians, Lewis and Clark became central figures in the country’s westward expansion and major contributors to its scientific scholarship.
In this welcome companion to Animals on the Trail with Lewis and Clark, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent traces the celebrated journey, examines the rich array of plant life the men sighted, and tells what became of the specimens over the ensuing two centuries. Adorned with William Munoz’s beautiful photographs of a variety of colorful plants, this visual feast is sure to captivate nature lovers and historians alike. Route map, suggestions for further reading, chronology of plants collected, index.