Plants discovered by Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark Picture

Lewis and Clark Expedition for kids: Plants discovered by Lewis and Clark
The discoveries of Lewis and Clark included 178 plants, shrubs, trees and herbs not previously recorded for science. Lewis and Clark collected hundreds of different specimens of plants and recorded descriptions and information on their habitat, growth, and their uses by Native American Indians.

Plants discovered by Lewis and Clark
The explorers made significant additions to the botanical knowledge of the North American continent. President Thomas Jefferson believed that the new plants found on the voyages of discovery would add to the supply of food crops and medicinal qualities of new plants that would prove to be beneficial to the human race. Also refer to the entries in the journals relating to

Accounts of the Plants

Accounts of the Fruits and Berries

Accounts of the Trees

Accounts of the Shrubs

Plants discovered by Lewis and Clark: Use of Plants by Native American Indians
The Native American Indians made excellent use of all the natural resources provided by plants and some of this knowledge was passed on to the explorers. Natural herbs were used by Native Indians to treat and prevent illness and to aid the healing process. The Native American Indians understood the properties of plants, how the plants should be prepared and the quantities that were safe to administer. Some of the herbs and plants used were toxic or poisonous but were not dangerous if the correct quantities were taken. The Native American Indians used the plants and herbs in many ways. Different parts of plants were used as remedies including the leaves, flowers,  bark, juice and roots to make powders, poultices, essential oils, ointments and salves.

Plants discovered by Lewis and Clark
Some of the plants 'discovered' by Lewis and Clark were used by Native Indians in the following ways:

  • Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata) had the medicinal properties of an antispasmodic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, stimulant and sedative and poultices made from the seeds, flowers and leaves of the plants could be used as a natural remedy for asthma

  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) was one of the Aromatic plants with the medicinal properties of a diaphoretic, carminative (relieves intestinal gas) and tonic. The flowers and seeds were found helpful in treating circulation problems and as a tonic

  • The leaves and flowering tops of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) were used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, narcotic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic to aid illnesses related to indigestion problems, gastric pain, fevers and dysentery

List of Plants discovered by Lewis and Clark
The following is a list of plants, shrubs, herbs and trees discovered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The members of the expedition took great delight in choosing the names for the plants.

Alkali Cordgrass
American Silverberry
Antelope Bitterbrush
Aromatic Aster
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Bear Grass
Bessey's Locoweed
Big Sagebrush
Bigleaf Maple
Black Cottonwood
Black Hawthorn
Blue Elderberry
Blue Flax
Blue Huckleberry
Broom Snakeweed
California False Hellebore
California Hazelnut
California Rhododendron
Canyon Gooseberry
Cascade Oregon-Grape
Cat's Ears
Chocolate Lily
Cluster Rose
Clustered Elkweed
Common Snowberry
Curlycup Gumweed
Deerhorn Clarkia
Disc Mayweed
Dwarf Mountain Fleabane
Eaton's Aster
Edible Thistle
Engelmann's Spruce
Evergreen Huckleberry
False Buckthorn
Fernleaf Desert-Parsley
Fernleaved Lousewort
Four-Wing Saltbush
Fragile Prickly-Pear
Gardner's Saltbush
Geyer's Onion
Giant Rye Grass
Glacier Lily
Golden Currant
Golden Yarrow
Grand Fir
Gray Rabbitbrush
Great Blanketflower
Green Rabbitbrush
Hair Grass
Hollyleaf Oregon-Grape
Idaho Fescue
Indian Breadroot
Indian Tobacco
Jacob's Ladder

Lacy Tansyaster
Large Monkey Flower
Large-Flower Tritelia
Large-Flowered Clammyweed
Large-Head Clover
Leafy or Dwarf Thistle
Lemon Scurfpea
Lewis Monkeyflower
Lewis's Mock Orange
Lindley's Silverpuffs
Linear-Leaved Phacelia
Lodgepole Pine
Long-Leaved Mugwort
Long-Tailed Wild Ginger
Lyall's Angelica
Lyall's Nettle
Maiden Blue-Eyed Mary
Menzies' Larkspur
Missouri Milkvetch
Mountain Balm
Mountain Brome
Mountain Death Camas
Mountain Hemlock
Mountain Lady's Slipper
Narrow-Leaved Skullcap
Narrow-Petaled Stonecrop
Narrowleaf Cottonwood
Narrowleaf Mountain-Trumpet
Needle and Thread Grass
Netleaf Hackberry
Nootka Rose
Nuttall's Toothwort
Ocean Spray
Orange Honeysuckle
Oregon Ash
Oregon Boxleaf
Oregon Crab Apple
Oregon White Oak
Oregon Wood Sorrel
Osage Orange Tree
Owl's Clover
Pacific Blackberry
Pacific Dogwood
Pacific Madrone
Pacific Yew
Peach-Leaved Willow
Pestle Parsnip
Ponderosa Pine
Prairie Apple
Prairie Rose
Prairie Smoke
Prickly-Pear Cactus
Purple Coneflower
Purple Wake-Robin
Red Alder
Red Columbine
Red-Flowering Currant
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant
Rocky Mountain Maple
Scarlet Globe Mallow
Seashore Lupine
Showy Phlox
Shrubby Beardtongue
Silky Lupine
Silver Sage
Silvery Buffaloberry
Silvery Lupine
Sitka Alder
Sitka Mountain Ash
Sitka Spruce
Slender Popcorn Flower
Slender Willow
Slimflower Scurfpea
Small-Head Clover
Spring Birch
Squaw Bush
Stemless Evening-Primrose
Sticky Currant
Straggly Gooseberry
Subalpine Fir
Three-Leaf Bitterroot
Tolmie's Onion
Tufted Evening-Primrose
Umatilla Gooseberry
Varileaf Phacelia
Vine Maple
Water Birch
Western Blue-Flag
Western Bracken
Western Huckleberry
Western Larch
Western Mountain Kittentails
Western Red Baneberry
Western Red Cedar
Western Serviceberry
Western Snakeweed
Western Springbeauty
Western Sweetroot
Western Wake-Robin
Western Wallflower
Western White Pine
White Alder
White Milkwort
White Squaw Currant
Whitebark Pine
Wilcox's Beardtongue
Yellow Bell
Yellow-Flowering Pea

Animals discovered by Lewis and Clark

Accounts of the Animals

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Modified 2018