Used by permission of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
The notation at extreme upper left of the image above was written by Frederick Pursh, the German (Saxon) botanist who had come to the United States in 1799, and who was given Lewis's entire collection of herbarium specimens for study and classification. It reads: "Lewisia ilicifolia. Great rapids of Columbia with soil among rocks. April 11, 1806."
Ilicifolia (ee-li-ki-FO-lee-uh) is a Latin noun denoting evergreen trees and shrubs; the root of the word is ilex, which is Latin for holly.
The memorandum in the upper right hand corner, also in Pursh's handwriting, reads: "Lewisia ilicifolia Nov: genus [new genus]. Mountain Holly. The flowering stem Springs up from near the ground & is upright; the infertile Shoots trail along the ground. Rich soil among rocks. Great rapids of Columbia. April 11th 1806."
The note "copy Lewis," faintly visible below the date, may have been entered by Thomas Meehan, the botanist at the Academy of Natural Sciences who found the long-neglected Lewis and Clark herbarium at the American Philosophical Society in 1896.
Beneath this label is written "Pursh's specimen." The rubber-stamped words are: "Ex. [from] Herb[arium of] A. B. Lambert."
The handwriting at left, just below Pursh's note, reads: "Torrey & Gray in Flora N. Amer 1:51 footnote say the separate leaflets are from a Menzies collection in the Banks herbarium." It is signed "J. A. Mears 3/ 76." Mears was a curator at the ANS.
Sir Joseph Banks obtained many specimens gathered by naturalists around the world which he added to his own extensive collections that he had obtained mainly in Newfoundland and Australia. The Banks herbarium is now part of the general herbarium of The Natural History Museum in London.
The printed label at center top reads: "Lewis and Clark Herbarium/Ph.L.C.38: Berberis aquifolium Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept.: 219. pl[ate].4. Dec (sero) 1813. –Lectotype!–minus leaves from the Menzies sheet. James L. Reveal (MARY [University of Maryland]), Alfred E. Schuyler (PH [Academy of Natural Sciences]) Jun 1998."
But the type method was not introduced until after Pursh's death, so a later botanist has designated Pursh's (Lewis's) specimen as a substitute for the undesignated holotype of Berberis aquifolium.
In 1790, Archibald Menzies, a Scottish physician and naturalist, was appointed by the British government to accompany Captain George Vancouver on a global tour in the good ship Discovery. His primary responsibility was as the ship's surgeon. His natural history responsibilities included making observations on plants, recording their scientific as well as Indian names, and noting whether English settlers might be able to thrive in each place as farmers.
Alfred E. Schuyler is curator of the Lewis and Clark Herbarium at the ANS.
For many years this plant was known as Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. "Nutt." stands for Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), an English naturalist who came to the U.S. in 1808 and studied botany under Benjamin Smith Barton, one of Lewis's mentors. Nuttall renamed the genus Mahonia in honor of Bernard McMahon (c. 1775-1816), the prominent horticulturist in whose Philadelphia home Pursh began the study of Lewis's specimens.
The accepted name today is Berberis aquifolium.
Gary E. Moulton, editor, The Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (12 vols., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983–99), vol. 12, Herbarium of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 108 and plate 109.
James L. Reveal, Gary E. Moulton, and Alfred E. Schuyler, "The Lewis and Clark Collections of Vascular Plants: Names, Types, and Comments." In Proceedings of The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (1999) 139:1–64.
This page has been reviewed by Richard M. McCourt, Associate Curator of Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences, and James L. Reveal, formerly of the Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland.