• photo of a replica keelboat with a crew member on the bow at sunset

    Lewis & Clark

    National Historic Trail ID,IL,IA,KS,MO,MT,NE,ND,OR,SD,WA


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:

Common camas (Camassia quamash)

Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)

Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Uniformed NPS ranger and staff member from the Academy of Natural Sciences look at plant specimen collected by Meriwether Lewis.
Academy of Natural Sciences staff member shares a plant specimen collected by Meriwether Lewis.
NPS photo

Did You Know?

Seaman was Lewis's Newfoundland dog

Seaman, Lewis’s Newfoundland dog, joined the Expedition in Philadelphia when Lewis purchased him for $20. On the journey, Seaman served the Corps as hunter, sentry, and companion. Upon reaching the Pacific, Seaman became the first dog to travel the breadth of the North American continent.