The American Journal of Science/Series 1, Volume 4/Plants of the North-West

The American Journal of Science
conducted by Benjamin Silliman
Volume 4 (1822) pp. 56-69
"Plants of the North-West"

Art. VI.Notice of the Plants collected by Professor D. B. Douglass, of West Point, in the expedition under Governour Cass, during the summer of 1820, around the great Lakes and the upper waters of the Mississippi: the arrangement and description, with illustrative remarks, being furnished by Dr. John Torrey.

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Letter from Dr. Torrey to Professor Douglass.
New-York, August 4, 1821.
Dear Sir,

Inclosed I have the pleasure of sending you a catalogue of the plants from the North-West, which you forwarded me some time since for examination.   Many of the species are very rare, others are from entirely new localities, and the whole are valuable in increasing our knowledge of botanical geography.  To those species which are but little known or imperfectly described, I have added such remarks as I supposed would be useful.

The Indian and popular names and localities are taken from your notes annexed to the specimens.

With great respect,
I remain your humble Servt.
Professor Douglass,
West-Point Military Academy.

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Explanatory Letter from Prof. Douglass to the Editor dated New-York.Aug, 22 1821.
Dear Sir,

I must beg leave to observe, in the first place that the collection of plants made by a person, who, besides not being a professed botanist, was almost constantly engaged with other objects of research.   The formation of an Herbarium, requiring much leisure and frequent attention, could scarcely be expected, under such circumstances, and would not have been undertaken, except in the exigency of having no professed botanist attached to the Expedition.  Secondly, the region of country traversed by the Expedition, particularly that bordering upon Lake Superior and the upper Mississippi, as well as a considerable portion of that on the Ouisconsin and Fox Rivers and around Lake Michigan, is but indifferently rich in plants at best, and this collection is besides chiefly confined to such as flower in the course of the summer months.  The deficiency I have endeavoured to supply as far as possible by notes, particularly on the forest growth, which I have interspersed in my journal; these however being at West Point, it is at present out of my power to communicate them.

Finally, a part of the collection was injured by an accident on the Ouisconsin, in which my canoe was very nearly filled with water before it could be got ashore.   The consequence of which was that nearly all the plants in one case were completely spoiled before I was able to dry them.  Such as the collection is, however, the catalogue is entirely at your service, and I am glad that so much interest has been given to it by Dr. Torrey.  The uvularia perfoliata of this catalogue is the plant which I mentioned to you some time since, as efficacious in the cure of the Rattle-snake bite — Of this I have been witness, but the efficacy of the Pedicularis Canadensis for the same purpose, I can only state from report.

I remain, dear sir, your friend
and humble Servant,

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Monarda allophylla Mx.   (Wild Balm.)Savannah Portage. July 10.
M. MollisL.–Willd.–Ph.

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Fedia radiata Mx.   Gross Isle, May 22d.
Valeriana radiata Willd.
V. locusta [ radiata  {{sc| L.}  Sp. pl.
Iris lacustris Nutt. Gen. 1. p. 23.   On the gravelly shores of the Islands of Lake Huron.

Scape five to six inches high, about the length of the leaves.  Radical leaves eusiform, one fourth of an inch broad.  Mr. Nuttall discovered this Iris in the same place where it was found by Capt. Douglass.

Sisyrinchium mucronatumMx.Pluk. Phytorg. t. 61. f. 1. Gross Isle, May 21.

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Panicum longisetum.*   On the banks of Fox River, &c. August.

Stem terete, smooth, a foot and a half high; leaves lanceolate, very large, (about an inch broad) subglaucous; spike compound, resembling a panicle, dense, clandestine at base, somewhat nodding; spikelets alternate and opposite: calyx three-flowered, exterior valve very small, the others unequal, ovate acuminate, hispid, each terminated by a long awn.
Awns from one and a half to three inches in length.

Bromus ciliatusL.   On Fox River. August.
B. canadensisMx.
Arundo phragmitesL.   (Reed.)Near the head of the Mississippi.
Elymus hystrixL.?   With the preceding.

Involucrum one to two-leaved, lateral, linear, nearly the length of the corolla.

Atheropogon ApludoidesMuhl. in Wild. Sp. pl. 4. p. 937. Muhl Gram. p. 237. Nutt. Gen. 1. p. 78  
Chloris curtipendulaMx

This grass has certainly a two-valved calyx as described by Nuttall and Muhlenberg. The inner valve however, is almost setiform. Neutral flower partly lodged in a grove of the inner valve of the hermaphrodite flower, two-valved, exterior valve with a very short awn below the apex, the other deeply cleft and two-awned. Hermaphrodite flower with lanceolate glumes, exterior one trifid, or with three short awns, interior one bifid. Anthers blood red. Nuttall remarks that the neuter flower consists of one folded valve; this however, did not seem to be the case in the specimens I examined. Hab. On the Ouisconsin the Mississippi generally. August.

Atheropogon oligostachyumNutt.Gen. 1. p. 78. 

Mr. Nuttall has described this plant very accurately and minutely in the work quoted. He discovered it on the plains of the Missouri. Capt. Douglass found it in abundance on the Mississippi above Sandy Lake.

Cornus canadensisL.   On the River St. Mary's.

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Batschia canescensMx.   (True Puccoon.)Near Detroit.
Anchusa canescensMuhl,Cat.
A. lutea minor &c. {{sc| Gron.}  virg 19.
Menyanthes trifoliataL.   Portage of Pt. Keeweenah, Lake Superior, June 26th.
Pulmonaria virginicaL.   Black Rock, May 2d.
Primula farinosaL.Muhl. Cat. Shores of Lake Huron.

Leaves abovate-spatolate, crenately toothed, under surface covered with a yellowish green powder.  Corolla lilac coloured, segments two parted.  On a careful comparison of the American plant with specimens of P. farinosa, from Germany and Norway, I can find no difference except that the leaves are more toothed than crenate in the former.  Mr. Nuttall found it in the same place, but not in flower, and Muhlenburg states in his catalogue of North American plants that it grows in Canada.  It is a rare plant in this country and is not described in Pursh's Flora.

Lysimachia ciliataMx.   Sandy Lake and Upper Mississippi generally.
Phlox divaricataL.   Black Rock, May 2d.
Campanula rotundifoliaL.   St. Louis and Upper Mississippi. July.
Caprifolium parviflorumPh.   On a primitive peninsula near Deadman's river, Lake Superior. June.
   C. bracteosumMx.
   Lonicera parvifloraLam. Pers.
   L. diorcaL. Act.-Willd.
   L. mediaMurr.
Diervilla TournefortiiMx.   Savannah Portage. July.
   D. humilisPers.
   D. canadensisMuhl.
   D. luteaPh.
   Lonicera DiervillaL.
Ribes lacustrePh.   Shores of Lake Huron.
R. axyacanthoides β. lacustrePers.
Ribes FloridumWilld.   With the preceding.
R. rocurvatumMx.
R. pennsylvanicum {{sc|Lam.} 

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Viola pubescensAit.  
V. pennsylvanicaMx
Claytonia VirginicaL.   Black Rock, May 2d.
Comandra umbellataNutt.   Point Keeweenah, Lake Superior. Used by the Indians and traders in fevers.
Thesium umbellatumL.
Thesium corymbulosum {{sc|Mx} 
Apocynum androsaemifolium L.   On the river St. Louis. July
Thaspium aureumNutt.   Near Detroit.
Smyrnium aureumL.
Viburnum LentagoL.   Near Detroit, May 20th.
Parnassia carolinianaMx.   East shore of Lake Michigan, Sept 6th.
Aralia nudicaulisL. (Sarsaparilla.) Near Detroit.
Tradescantia virginicaL. A variety with very narrow leaves. 

West shore of Lake Michigan, August 27th.

Hypoxis erectaL. (Wabunocausk.) Shores of Lake Huron.
Phalangium escullentumNutt.Gen. 1. p, 219.   (Quamash.)Found on Cross Isle, Detroit river, May 18th.
Phalangium quamashPh.Fl. Am. 1. p. 226.
Scilla esculentum {{sc| } Bot. Mag. 1596.

Rootbulbous, truncated, nearly round, and an inch and a half or two inches in diameter.  Scape two or three feet high, leaves more than a foot long, and about half an inch wide.  Flower pale purple, in a spiked raceme.  Stigma trifid, Capsule three-angled, three-celled.  Mr. Nuttall has observed it near the confluence of Huron river and Lake Erie, near St. Louis, and on the lowest banks of the Ohio.  Gov. Lewis brought specimens of this plant from the upper part of the Missouri, near the Rocky Mountains, where the natives use the bulbous roots extensively as an article of diet.  They are known among them by the name of Quamash, and are eaten, baked between hot stones.  Capt. Douglass did not understand that the Indians of the region where he found the plant, made use of the roots for food.

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Uvularia perfoliataL. On the Islands of Lake Erie. 

This plant is said to cure the bite of a rattle-snake, and is believed by the Indians to grow wherever that animal is found.

Streptopus roseusMx.   Shores of Lake Huron, May 30th.
Uvularia roseaBot. Mag. 1489.Muhl. Cat. p. 34.
Smilacina canadensisPh.   (Matasbuck)Nearly allied to Conval bifolia of Europe.May 28th. Shores of L. Huron
Convallaria canadensisRedoute.
Majanthemum canadense Desf.
Convallaria bifoliaMx.
Smilacina racemosaDesf.-Ph.   Shores of L. Huron
Convallaria racemosaL.
Smilacina stellataDesf.-Ph.   Gross Isle, May 22d.
Convallaria stellataL.
Dracena borealisAit. (Cus-cus-cun-domeneca.) Shores of Lake Huron, May 28th.

Leaves oblong, oval, sometimes obovate, muscronate, smooth, membranous six-seven inches long and from two to three inches broad, ciliated on the margin, Scape six to eight inches high, terminated by three or four nodding flowers of a yellowish-green colour.  Corolla six-petalled, petals lanceolate, rather obtuse, slightly connected at the base.  Stamina the length of the corolla, inserted at the base of the petals: others oblong, two-celled, large, style thick, one third the length of the stamina: stigma three-lobed.

Trillium erectumWilld.α. atropurpureum Ph.   (Birth root)Black Rock. May 3d.
T. rhomboideumα.Mx.
Trillium Parad. Lond.   With the preceding
T. rhomboideum and grandiflorumMx.

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Trientalis europæa β. angustifolia*
T. AmericanaPh.
T. europæa β. Americana Nutt.
  (Schoshogonicish.)Shores of Lake Huron, May 28th.
Œnothcra biennisL.   Upper Mississippi generally.
Epilobium spicatum Lam.Pers. Muhl. Cat.   St. Louis River, &c.
E. AngustifoliumL. et plur. auct.
Acer saccharinumL.   Shores of Lake Huron.
Arbutus Uva ursiL.  (Kinni-kinnik.) Smoked by the Indians as a substitute for tobacco.

The Arbutus is seldom used by itself, though it forms the principal ingredient in the composition called Kinni-Kinnik.  The bark of Cornus sericea, and of several other plants are generally mixed with it, though a little tobacco is preferred.  Pursh says the Indians of the Missouri call it Sacacommis.

Andromeda polifolia β. rosmarinifolia*   Leaves linear, revolute.

This variety is perhaps the A. polifolia α. angustifolia of Aiton, and Pursh, and is probably a distinct species from A. polifolia of Europe.  It is not uncommon in New-England and in the northern parts of the state of New-York, growing in sphagnous swamps, and on the borders of mountain lakes.

Ledum latifoliumAit.Willd. (Labrador tea.) Shores of Lake Superior &c. June 19.
Kalmia glaucaAit.Willd. With the preceding.
Pyrola rotundifoliaL.   Savannah portage, July 10th.
Mitella diphyllaL. Shores of Lake Huron. May 10th.
Tiarella cordifoliaL.  (Paa-sewung.) Shores of Lake Huron.

Root mucilaginous.  Petals lanceolate acute, attenuated at the base, three-nerved.

Cerastiumn. sp.   Sandusky, May 8th

Cespitose, pubescent.  Leaves lanceolate-oblong erect, acute shorter than the joints: flowers are long terminal peduncles; leaflets of the calyx oblong; corolla obovate two-cleft twice the length of the calyx.  About eight inches high.

This species is allied to C. termifolium of Pursh, but the leaves are much broader, and the calyx obtuse.  The petals are only twice instead of thrice the length of the calyx.  With the C. glutinosum of Nuttall, it has also much affinity, but that plant is much larger and viscous, and the capsule is double the length calyx, while in our plant it appears to be oblong and shorter than the calyx.

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Prunus virginianaWilld.   Shores of Lake Huron.
Cerasus virginanaMx.
Prunus depressaPh.    With the preceding.
Cratægus pyrifolaAit. Willd. (Wild Apple.)Detroit, May 30th.
Pyrus ovalisWilld.arb.   On the river St. Mary's
Mespilus AmelanchierWalt.
Rosa parvifloraEhrh.Willd.  On Lake Superior. July 4th.
Rubus saxatilis β. canadensisMx. Head of the Mississippi. Swamps.
Geum rivaleL.   Shores of Lake Huron, May 30th.
Potentilla anserinaL.   Near Detroit.
Potentilla pennsylvanica Mx.Willd.  
Geum agrimonoidesPh.

Willdenow and Pursh quote as a synonym of this plant the G. Pennsylvanica of Gmelius Flora Sibirica, 3. t. 34. f. 1, but the figure is altogether unlike our plant, and does not agree with Michaux's description of it. Willdenow however, remarks, Planta sibirica majus est glabra sed folorum florumque structura eadem ac in Americana! Sp. pl. 2. p. 1099.

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Actaea AmericanaPh.   Shores of Lake Huron.
A. rubra Willd.
A. spicata  {{sc| Mx. } 
Sarracenia purpureaL. (Ko-ko-koh Mokasin. Owls' Mockasin.)

Point Keeweoah, Lake Superior, June 26th.

Cyamus luteusNutt.   Found in great quantities near Sandusky Bay, west end of Lake Erie.
C. flavicomasSalisb. Ph.
Nelumbium luteumWilld.
Nymphæa NelumboWalt.
N. NelumboBl.

The only difference Willdenow makes between his N. speciosum and luteum is that the former has hispid peduncles and petioles, and the latter smooth ones. He however describes a variety of the N. speciosum with smooth peduncles and petioles, and the American plant according to Nuttall and the present Prof. Barton had them sometimes partly muricate. Hence there seems to be but little difference between the two species. The colour of the flowers, unless there are other distinctive characters, is not of much consequence.

Aquilegia canadensisL. Near Detroit. May.
Ranunculus fascicularisMuhlCat.—Big. Fl. Bost.Near Detroit.
Ranunculus sceleratusL. With the preceding.

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Stachys asperaMx. Ph. excl. syn. Ontonagon river, June 30th.

The S. tenuifolia of Willd. is placed as a synonym to this species by Pursh, but Muhlenberg makes them distinct in his catalogue.  Specimens of S. tenuifolia sent from N. Carolina by Mr. Schweinetz, appear quite different from the aspera.  The short description of the former by Willd. will agree equally well with either.

Hyssopus anisatusNutt.Gen. 2. p. 27   Savannah Portage. July.
Stachys fœniculumPh.  2. p. 407

Stem obtusely four-angled, leaves ovate-cordate, with large accuminate serratures, hoary beneath.  Flowers in a dense somewhat interrupted spike.  Stamina and style excert.  First discovered on the plains of the Missouri by Mr. Nuttall.

Verbena hastataL.   Upper Mississippi, generally.
Bignonia radicansL.   Near Sandusky Bay.
Bartsia coccineaL.   Near Detroit.
Euchronia coccineaNutt.
Pedicularis canadensisL. Near Detroit. 

Said by the Indians to cure the bite of a rattle-snake.

Pedicularis gladiataMx.   Shores of Lake Huron, May 30th.
Linnæa borealisL.   Near White Fish Pt. Lake Superior, June 19th.
Gerardia PediculariaL. Willd. Ouisconsin river, Aug.
Arabis rhomboideaPers.   β. purpurea*
A. bulbosaMuhl.

Smooth: root bulbous granulated, leaves rbomboid; the superior ones with large repand teeth, inferior ones in very long petioles, obsoletely toothed, cordate.  Flowers corymbose, pale purple, as large as in Raphanus sativus.  About ten inches high.  Cardamine rotundifolia Mx ?

Arabis lyrataL.   Banks of Lake Huron, June 5th.

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Lobelia claytonianaMx.   Savannah Portage.
Petalostenum violaceumMx.   Prairies of the Upper Mississippi, below Sandy Lake.
Dalea violaceaWilld.
Petalostenum villosumNutt.Gen. 2. p. 65. 

Petals 5, nearly equal alternating with the stamens.  Calyx five-toothed.  Grows with the preceding species.  First discovered by Nuttall on the banks of Knife River, near Fort Mandan, Missouri.

Polygala paucifoliaMuhl. Willd. Shores of Lake Huron.
Vicia Douglassii.*   Sandusky Bay. May 8th.

Spikes many flowered, somewhat retrorsely imbricated, shorter than the leaves; stipules ovate-Ianceolate, entire, leaflets numerous, (5 to 6 pairs) ovate oblong, mucronate, slightly pubescent beneath.  Resembles V. cracca

Pisum maritimumL.   Sandy Point, Lake Superior, July 4th.

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Liatris squarrosaWilld.   West shore of Lake Michigan, August 27th.
Serratula squarrosaL.

Stem erect, smooth, about two feet high.  Leaves very long and narrow, smooth, slightly scabrous on the margin.  Raceme about six-flowered, flowers approximated, on short peduncles, calyx containing twenty florets, subcylindric, squamose below; scales ovate mucronate, a little ciliate, interior ones foliaceous; Segments of the corolla linear, villose within.  Allied to L. graminifolia.

Liatris scariosaWilld.   West shore of Lake Michigan, August 27th.
Serratula scariosaL.

Stem simple, three feet high, nearly smooth.  Leaves lanceolate, very smooth, and the upper surface a little shining.  Flowers in a long dense spike, very numerous, (40 to 70,) on short peduncles: calyx twenty–twenty-three flowered; scales spatulate, obtuse, membranous and coloured: pappus a little longer than the villous seed; corolla deeply cleft, smooth, with diaphanous punctures.

Erigeron bellidifolium Muhl.–Willd.   Near Detroit.
E. pulchellumMx.
Neottia cernuaWilld.   East shore of Lake Michigan
Ophrys cevnuaL.
Calopogon pulchellusR.Brown.   Portage of Pt. Keeweenah, Lake Superior, June 26th.
Cymbidium pulchellumSwartz
Limodorum tuberosum {{sc|L.Mx.} 
Cypripedium spectabileSwartz.   Point Keeweenah, Lake Superior, June 26th.
C. albumAit.
C. canadense {{sc|Mx.} 
Cypripedium pubescensWilld.   (Mocktasin flower.)Presque Isle, June 5th.
C. calceolusMx.
C. calceolus β. {{sc|L.} 

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Zizania palustrisLin.Mantiss. 295. Sp. pl. 1408.Willd. sp. pl. 4. p. 395.  
Muhl. Gram. p. 271.Schreb. Gram. t. 29.
Z. quatica Lamb. in Lin trans 7. p. 264.Pursh. 1. p. 60. 2. p. 210.Gron. virg. 148.
Z. clavulosaMx.  1. p.75.Muhl. Gram. p.270.Willd. sp. pl. 4. p. 394.

(Wiid rice — Water oats.)  Abundant in the shallow rivers which fall into the Great Lakes, but in the greatest luxuriance and plenty in Fox river.

Quercus albaL.   St. Louis and the Upper Mississippi

This was the first oak seen after leaving Michilimakinak.

Fagus ferrugineaAit.-Willd.   Shores of Lake. Huron.
Betula nigraL.   Savannah Portage.
Pinus balsameaL.   Mississippi, above Sandy lake.
Abies balsamiferaMx. arb.
Pinus nigraLamb.   On the Mississippi, near St. Louis.
Pinus denticulataMx.
Pinus banksianaLamb.   Near the head the Mississippi.
Pinus rupestrisMx. arb.
Thuya occidentalisL.   River St. Mary's.
Euphorbia corollataAit.   
Salix lucidaMuhl-Willd.   Shores of Lake Huron. This species is omitted in Pursh's Flora Amer.
Salix incanaMx.
Populus balsamiferaL.   Savannah portage.
Populus trepidaWilld.   With the preceding.
Populus grandidentataMx.
Populus tremuloidesMx.   In the same place.
Shepherdia canadensisNutt.   Shores of Lake Huron.
Hippophaë canadensisL.
Juniperus communisL.   Near Chicago.
Juniperus prostrataPers. Synop. 2. p. 632. Muhl. Cat? p. 98.   On Lake Huron.
Juniperus repensNutt.

Stem prostrate; branches running eight or ten or more feet along the ground; leaves imbricate in four's, ovate submucronate, bearing a gladulous depression in the middle.  Berries larger than in the I. virginiana, but nearly of the same smell and taste.  On Lake Huron, where it was also observed by Mr. Nuttall.

Taxus canadensisWilld.   On the St. Louis river.
Taxus baccata minor Mx.