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

red columbine

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, November 17, 1804 - N° (100) Novb 17th the seed of a plant given me by the recara (ed. - Arikara) chief who accompanyed us to the mandanes (ed. – Mandans) he informed me that a tea of the seed was a strong diaerettic. and that the squaws chewed them and rubed their hair with them as a perfume.

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