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

grand fir

Capt. Lewis, February 6, 1806--No. 3. A species of fir which one of my men informs me is precisely the same with that called the balsam fir of Canada. it grows here to considerable size, being from 2 1/2 to 4 feet in diameter and rises to the hight of eighty or an hundred feet. it's stem is simple branching, ascending and proliferous. it's leaves are sessile, acerose, one 1/8 of an inch in length and 1/16th of an inch in width, thickly scattered on all sides of the twigs as far as the growth of four preceeding years and rispect the three undersides only the upper side being neglected and the under side but thinly furnished; gibbous, a little declining, obtusely pointed, soft flexible, and the upper disk longitudinally marked with a slight channel; this disk is of a glossy deep green, the under one green tho' paler and not glossy. this tree affords considerable quantities of a fine clear arromatic balsam in appearance and taste like the' Canadian balsam. smal pustules filled with this balsam rise with a blister like appearance on the body of the tree and it's branches; the bark which covers these pustules is soft thin smoth and easily punctured. the bark of the tree generally is thin of a dark brown colour and reather smooth tho' not as much so as the white pine of our count[r]y. the wood is white and soft.

Capt. Clark, February 6, 1806--No. 3 a species of fir, which one of my men inform me is presisely the same with that called the balsam fir of Canada. it grows here to considerable size, being from 2 1/2 to 4 feet in diameter and rises to the hight of 100 or 120 feet. it's stem is simple branching assending and proliferous. it's leaves are cessile, acerose, 1/8 of an inch in length and 1/16 of an inch in width, thickly scattered on all sides of the twigs as far as the groth of four proceeding years, and respects the three under sides only, the upper side being neglected and the under side but thinly furnished; gibbous a little declineing, obtusely pointed, soft flexable, and the upper disk longitudinally marked with a slight channel; this disk is of a glossy deep green, the under one green tho paler and not glossy. this tree affords a considerable quantity of a fine clear arromatic Balsom in appearance and taste like the Canadian balsom, small pustuls filled with the balsom rise with a blister like appearance on the body of the tree and its branches; the bark which covers these pustules is soft thin smoth and easily punctured. the bark of the [tree] is generally thin of a dark brown colour and reather smooth tho' not as much so as the white pine of the U. States the wood is white and soft.

 
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