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

Virginia wildrye

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, July 27, 1804 - N°. 21. is another species of the wild rye it dose not grow as tall as N°. 20 (ed. - Canada wildrye). neither does it like that species confine itself so much to the open ground; it is sometimes found in the timbered land. the grain it produces is [n]either so large or so abundant as the former.

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