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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

American Black Currant

This entry describes one of 30 specimens that were sent to President Jefferson from Fort Mandan and then logged into the Museum in Philadelphia on November 16, 1805, but subsequently lost.  We include this species as an example of the breadth of discovery and the explorers’ scholarship; attribution to this species is based upon Lewis’ description, early botanical work on the specimens, current botanical literature, and knowledge of the regional flora.

Capt. Lewis, August 1, 1804 - No 12.  1st of august 1804, one of our hunters brought us a bough of the purple courant, which is frequently cultivated in the Atlantic states; the fruit was ripe; I presume it is a native of North America   here it grows generally in the praries but is not very abundant.  N° 12 is a specimine of it's leaves.

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