President Jefferson instructed Meriwether Lewis to collect information on “the soil & face of the country, [its] growth & vegetable productions… the animals of the country generally, especially those not of the U.S.” In fulfilling these instructions, members of the Expedition were the first to describe for science 178 plants. The explorers’ written descriptions and the seeds and specimens they collected were Jefferson’s window onto the new west.
Learn more about some of the plants collected and used by the Expedition:
Did You Know?
Two hundred years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the only physical evidence of the journey is found near Billings, MT. In July 1805, William Clark carved his name into the soft rock of what he called Pompeys Tower. This site is now preserved at Pompeys Pillar National Monument.