Journals of Lewis and Clark: Shrubs and Undergrowth

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The Journals of Lewis and Clark: The Shrubs and Undergrowth
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark - Shrubs and Undergrowth. A general description of the beasts, planys and Shrubs and Undergrowth, &c. found by the party in this expedition.

The undergrowth consists of honeysuckles, alder, seven bark or nine bark, huckleberry, a shrub like the quill wood, a plant like the mountain-holley, a green briar, the fern.

1. The honeysuckle common to the United States we found in this neighborhood. We first discovered the honeysuckle on the waters of the Kooskooskee, near the Chopunnish nation, and again below the grand rapids.

2. The alder which is also common to our country, was found in great abundance in the woodlands, on this side of the Rocky mountains. It differs in the color of its berry: this being of a pale sky blue, while that of the United States is of a deep purple.

3. The seven bark, or, as it is usually denominated, the nine bark of the United States, is also common to this country.

4. The huckleberry. There is a species of huckleberry, common to the highlands, from the commencement of the Columblan valley to the seacoast, rising to the height of six or eight feet, branching and diffuse: the trunk is cylindrical, of a dark brown color; the collateral branches are green, smooth, and square, and put forth a number of alternate branches of the same color, and from the two horizontal sides only. The fruit is a small deep purple berry, held in much esteem by the natives: the leaf is of a pale green, and small, three-fourths of an inch in length, and three-eights in width, oval, terminating more acutely at the apex than at the insertion of the footstalk: the base is nearly entire, and but slightly serrate: the footstalks are short; their relative position is alternate, two-ranked, and proceeding from the horizontal sides of the boughs only.

5. There are two species of shrubs, first seen at the grand rapids of the Columbia, and which have since been seen elsewhere: they grow in rich dry grounds, usually in the neighborhood of some water course: the roots are creeping and cylindrical: the stem of the first species is from a foot to eighteen inches in height, and about as large as an ordinary goose quill: it is simple, unbranched, and erect: its leaves are cauline, compound and spreading: the leaflets are jointed, and oppositely pinnate, three pair, and terminating in one sextile, widest at the base, and tapering to an acuminate point: it is an inch and a quarter in its greatest width, and three inches and a quarter in length: each point of the margin is armed with a subulate thorn, and from thirteen to seventeen in number: are veined, glossy, carinated and wrinkled: their points obliquely tending towards the extremity of the common footstalk: the stem of the second species is procumbent, about the size of that of the first species, jointed and unbranched: its leaves are cauline, compound, and oppositely pinnate: the rib is from fourteen to sixteen inches in length, cylindric and smooth: the leaflets are two inches and a half long, and one inch wide, and of the greatest width half an inch form the base: this they regularly surround, and from the same point tapering to an acute apex: this is usually terminated with a small subulate thorn: they are jointed and oppositely pinnate, consisting of six pair, and terminating in one: sessile, serrate, and ending in a small subulate spire, from twenty-five to twenty-seven in number: they are smooth, plain, and of a deep green, and allobliquely tending towards the extremity of the footstalk: they retain their green all winter.

The large leafed thorn, has a leaf about two inches and a half long, which is petiolate, and conjugate: the leaflets are petiolate, acutely pointed, having their margins cut with unequal and irregular incissures: the shrub, which we had once mistaken for the large leafed thorn, resembled the stem of that shrub, excepting the thorn: it bears a large three headed leaf: the briar is of the class polyandria, and order poligymnia: the flowers are single: the peduncle long and cylindrical: the calyx is a perianth, of one leaf, five cleft, and acutely pointed: the perianth is proper, erect, inferior in both petals, and germen: the corolla consists of five acute, pale scarlet petals, inserted in the receptacle with a short and narrow cleft: the corolla is smooth, moderately long, situated at the base of the germen, permanent, and in shape resembling a cup: the stamens and filaments are subulate, inserted into the receptacle, unequal and bent inwards, concealing the pystilium: the anther is two lobed and influted, situated on the top of the filament of the pystilium: the germ is conical, imbricated, superior, sessile and short: the styles are short, compared with the stamen, capillary smooth and obtuse: they are distributed over the surface of the germ, and deciduous without any perceptible stamen.

7. The green briar grows most abundantly in rich dry lands, in the vicinity of a water course, and is found in small quantities in piny lands at a distance from the water. In the former situation the stem is frequently of the size of a man's finger, and rises perpendicularly four or five feet: it then descends in an arch, becomes procumbent, or rests on some neighboring plants: it is simple, unbranched, and cylindric: in the latter situation it grows much smaller, and usually procumbent: the stem is armed with sharped and forked briars: the leaf is petiolate, ternate and resembles in shape and appearance that of the purple raspberry, so common to the Atlantic states: the fruit is a berry resembling the blackberry in all points, and is eaten when ripe by the natives, which they hold in much esteem, although it is not dried for winter consumption. This shrub was first discovered at the entrance of Quicksand river: it grows so abundantly in the fertile valley of Columbia, and the islands, that the country is almost impenetrable: it retains its verdure late in summer.

8. Besides the fern already described, as furnishing a nutritious root, there are two other plants of the same species, which may be divided into the large and the small: the large fern rises three or four feet: the stem is a common footstalk, proceeding immediately from the radix, somewhat flat, about the size of a man's arm, and covered with innumerable black coarse capillary radicles, issuing from every part of its surface: one of these roots will send forth from twenty to forty of these common footstalks, bending outwards from the common centre: the ribs are cylindric and marked longitudinally their whole length, with a groove on the upper side: on either side of this groove, and a little below its edge the leaflets are inserted: these are shortly petiolate for about two thirds the length of the middle rib, commencing from the bottom, and from thence to the extremity sessile: the rib is terminated by a single undivided lanceolate leaflet: these are from two to four inches in length, and have a small acute angular projection, and obliquely cut at the base: the upper surface is smooth, and of a deep green: the under surface of a pale green and covered with a brown protuberance of a woolly appearance, particularly near the central fibre: the leaflets are alternately pinnate, and in number, from one hundred and ten to one hundred and forty: they are shortest at the two extremities of the common footstalk, largest in the centre, gradually lengthening, and diminishing as they succeed each other.

The small fern rises likewise with a common footstalk from the radix, from four to eight in number: from four to eight inches long: the central rib is marked with a slight longitudinal groove throughout its whole length: the leaflets are oppositely pinnate, about one third of the length of the common footstalk, from the bottom, and thence alternately pinnate: the footstalk terminates in a simple undivided lanceolate leaflet: these are oblong, obtuse, convex, absolutely entire, and the upper disk is marked with a slight longitudinal groove: near the upper extremity these leaflets are decursively pinnate, as are all those of the large fern. Both of these species preserve green during the winter.

Accounts of the Plants

Accounts of the Fruits and Berries

Accounts of the Trees

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