• 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

Plants

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?

Columbia River

Jefferson sent the Corps of Discovery to find the "most direct & practicable water communication across [the] continent." Although the Corps did not find the water route Jefferson had hoped for, they did explore 4 major rivers: the Missouri, the Columbia, the Snake, and the Yellowstone.