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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/493

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489
BOTANY AT ST. LOUIS

the plants of the eastern states and of Europe were already well known at the close of the eighteenth century. Of course many new western plants were discovered, the medical properties of which had to be determined; but this was not the main object in making a study of them. We find three distinct periods of botanical work which include the one hundred and thirteen years that have elapsed since Michaux's visit. These may be designated as follows: First, exploration by botanists on transient visits of a few days' to a few months' time; second, collecting by persons who lived in or near St. Louis for a number of years; third, modern botany as contrasted with the purely systematic work of early days. These three periods overlap one another, but can still be distinguished without difficulty. The first includes most of the work done previously to 1850; the second began with the work of Engelmann and his numerous contemporary collector friends, who relied upon him for assistance in naming their collections: it may even be said to extend until the present time, as considerable work is still being clone upon the local flora of the district; the third period may be said to date from the founding of the Shaw School of Botany, and the assumption of control of the Missouri Botanical Garden by the board of trustees.

André Michaux, the great French botanist, who explored so extensively the territory of the thirteen original colonies as far west as the Mississippi River, is the first botanical worker concerning whom published records have yet been found as having worked in the vicinity of St. Louis. Fie is known to have visited Kaskaskia and Cahokia, and the evidence seems to indicate that he must have visited the west shore of the Mississippi, since a few species are listed in his "Flora" as coming from the Missouri River.

André Michaux[1] was born at Satory, near Versailles, France, in 1746. He was destined by his father for the superintendence of a farm of the royal estate, and early became interested in agriculture. Upon the death of his young wife, at the birth of their son, François André, he devoted himself to scientific studies, especially botany. He studied botany under Bernard de Jussieu, and sought in foreign lands for strange plants. In 1779-81 he traveled in England, the Auvergne, the Pyrenees and Spain. In 1782-5 he was in Persia in a political capacity, but really to explore a country at that time almost unknown to scientific men; he intended to return to Persia, but was requested in 1785, by the French government, to introduce into France such North

  1. Hooker, W. J., Amer. Jour. Sci. and Arts, 1st series, 9: 266-269, 1825.
    Gray, Asa, Ditto, 1 ser., 42: 2-9, 1842.
    Coulter, J. L., Bot. Gaz., 8: 181-183, 1883.
    Rusby, H. H., Bull. Torrey Bot. Club, 11: 88-90, 1884.
    Sargent, C. S., "Scientific Papers of Asa Gray," 2: 23-31, 1889.
    Thwaites, R. G., "Early Western Travels," 3: 11-19, 27-104, 1904.