James Reveal, Professor Emeritus, Botany University of Maryland
Recorded at Packer Meadows in the Clearwater Forest near Lolo Pass
on the crest of the Bitterroot Range, July 3, 2003.
It's interesting that Lewis collected the Canadian Dogwood or Cornus candadensis. This is a plant he knew well from Virginia. It's interesting to speculate whether he collected it because he knew it, collected it because he wanted to show that something from Virginia also grew in the Rocky Mountains, or what. Maybe he was homesick. The other specimen that I have here is the new genus of mariposa lily collected by Lewis and Clark along the Lolo Trail in Idaho and Montana in late June and early July. This is Calicortis pulcella, or "beautiful mariposa lily".
Two specimens that Lewis would have handled during the stop in Packer Meadow is a skyrocket, this little high elevation blue flower which occurs near the summit, and also near the summit is this species of menzesia, named for the surgeon naturalist Archibald Menzies who preceded Lewis and Clark in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1790's. Menzies collected only along the coast, and this is one of those species that goes from the coast to the high mountains in the Rockies. Lewis was very judicious in what he collected. He made only small specimens. Even though this is a large shrub he would have collected only a little bit of it. The reason is simple, someone had to carry it to Philadelphia.
Supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Governor's Lewis and Clark Trail Committee