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Plant Hunters with Constance Carter
Constance Carter

Meet Constance Carter, Head, Science Reference Section, Science, Technology & Business Division, Library of Congress.

Constance Carter, Head of the Science Reference Section, Library of Congress, describes the work of the intrepid group of scientists from the U.S. and beyond who traveled the world collecting plants to enrich botanical knowledge and their nations’ gardens.

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Library of Congress Web Sites of Interest

Library of Congress Online Catalog
To search for materials on plant hunters, select Browse, and use the following subject headings:  plant collectors history; plant collecting historyplant introduction history

Science Tracer Bullets Online: Plant Exploration and Introduction

Other Web Sites of Interest

Archives Research Guide: Sources for the History of Plant Hunters 18th to 20th Centuries for Plant Hunters .doc [MS Word] External Link
A nine-page guide from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, listing their archival holdings.

Bartram’s Garden External Link
John Bartram, an early American plant hunter who explored much of the Southern colonies, sold plants to the Founding Fathers and to European gardeners.  His house and garden are located in Philadelphia and open to the public.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden External Link
Dr. David Fairchild (1869-1954) traveled the world in search of useful plants. This garden was founded to nurture plant diversity; some of the plants he collected are still growing in the garden. The 83-acre garden is open to the public.

National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) External Link
NPGS is a cooperative effort by the federal and state governments and private organizations to preserve the genetic diversity of plants.

Plant Hunters External Link
New York Botanical Garden’s interactive teaching tool providing interesting information on plants from all over the world—giving users a chance to be “plant hunters.”

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Other Materials of Interest

Print Sources on Plant Hunting: Pre-1923

Barron, Leonard.  “Chinese Wilson—Plant Hunter.”  World’s Work 27 (Nov. 1913): 41-52.
LC call number:  AP4.W85

Bigelow, John.  Memoir of the Life and Public Services of John Charles Frémont.  New York: Derby & Jackson, 1856.
LC call number:  E415.9.F8 B5 FT MEADE

Clark, Edward B.  “Plant Hunter in the Wilds.”  Technical World Magazine 15 (July 1911): 519-24.
LC call number:  T1.T12

Darlington, William.  Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall, with Notices of Their Botanical Contemporaries.  Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1849.
LC call number:  QK31.B3 D3

Douglas, David.  Journal Kept by David Douglas during His Travels in North America, 1823-1827.  London: W. Wesley, 1914.
LC call number:  QK110.D7 RBK

Fairchild, David. “A Hunter of Plants: Frank Nicholas Meyer, 1875-1918.” National Geographic 36 (July 1919): 57-77.
LC call number:  G1.N27

———.  “New Plant Immigrants.”  National Geographic 22 (Oct. 1911): 879-907.
LC call number: G1.N27

———.  “Our Plant Immigrants.”  National Geographic 17 (Apr. 1906): 179-201.
LC call number:  G1.N27

———. Systematic Plant Introduction: Its Purposes and Methods.  Washington: Government Printing Office, 1898.
LC call number:  SB109.F2

Forman, Samuel Eagle.  The Life and Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Including All of His Important Utterances on Public Questions, Comp. from State Papers and from His Private Correspondence.  Indianapolis: The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1900. 
LC call number:  E332.F72 FT MEADE

Forrest, George.  “The Perils of Plant Collecting.”  Pts. 1 and 2. Gardeners’ Chronicle 47 (1910): 325-26; 344.
LC call number:  SB4.G3

Fortune, Robert.  A Journey to the Tea Countries of China, Including Sung-Lo and the Bohea Hills with a Short Notice of the East India Company’s Tea Plantations in the Himalaya Mountains.  London: J. Murray, 1852.
LC call number:  DS709.F75

———.  A Residence among the Chinese; Inland, on the Coast, and at Sea.  London: J. Murray, 1857.
LC call number: Microfilm 9543 DS

Frémont, John Charles.  The Life of Col. John Charles Frémont, and His Narrative of Explorations and Adventures in Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon and California.  The Memoir of Samuel M. Smucker. . . .  New York: Hurst & Co., 1881.
LC call number:  F592.F88

———.  Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the years 1843-44.  New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1848.
LC call number:  F592.F864 FT MEADE

———.  Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-44.  By Brevet Capt. J. C. Frémont, under the Orders of Col. J. J. Abert, Chief of the Topographical Bureau.  Printed by Order of the House of Representatives.  Washington: Blair and Rives, 1845.
LC call number:  F592.F83 RBK

Gass, Patrick.  Gass’s Journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, by Sergeant Patrick Gass, One of the Persons Employed in the Expedition.  Reprinted from the Edition of 1811, with Facsimiles of the Original Title-Page and the Five Original Illustrations, a Reproduction of a Rare Portrait of Gass, and a Map of the Lewis and Clark Route.  Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1904. 
LC call number:  F592.5.G2 1904

Lewis, Meriwether.  History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark to the Sources of the Missouri, Thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean: Performed During the Years 1804-5-6 by Order of the Government of the United States.  A Complete Reprint of the Biddle Ed. of 1814, to Which All the Members of the Expedition Contributed, with an Account of the Louisiana Purchase by John Back McMaster, and Notes upon the Route.  New York: Allerton Book Co., 1922.
LC call number:  F592.4 1922

———.  Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806; Printed from Original Manuscripts in the Library of the American Philosophical Society and by the Direction of Its Committee on Historical Documents, Together with Manuscript Material of Lewis and Clark from Other Sources, Including Note-books, Letters, Maps, etc., and the Journals of Charles Floyd and Joseph Whitehouse, Now for the First Time Published in Full and Exactly as Written.  8 vols.  New York: Dodd, Mead, & Co., 1904-5.
LC call number:  F592.4 1904 Nt

———.  Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean.  Performed by Order of the Government of the United States, in the Years 1804, 1805, and 1806.  By Captains Lewis and Clarke.  Published from the Official Report, and Illustrated by a Map of the Route, and Other Maps.  A New Ed. in Three Volumes.  3 vols.  London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1817.
LC call number:  F92.4 1817L

London Genuine Tea Company.  The History of the Tea Plant.  London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones for the London Genuine Tea Company, [1819?].
LC call number:  SB271.L8

Meyer, Frank N.  “China: A Fruitful Field for Plant Exploration.”  Yearbook of Agriculture (1915): 205-24.
LC call number: S21.A35 FT MEADE

Pieters, A. J. “The Business of Seeds and Plant Introduction and Distribution.”  Yearbook of Agriculture (1905): 291-306.
LC call number:  S21.A35 FT MEADE

Rothrock, Joseph T., Sereno Watson, George Engelmann, Thomas C. Porter, M. S. Bebb, William Boott, George Vasey, D. C. Eaton, Thomas P. James, and Edward Tuckerman.  Reports upon the Botanical Collections Made in Portions of Nevada, Utah, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, during the Years 1871, 1872, 1874, and 1875.  Washington: Government Printing Office, 1878.
LC call number:  QE74.W6 vol. 6

Sargent, Charles Sprague, ed.  Plantae Wilsonianae: An Enumeration of the Woody Plants Collected in Western China for the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University during the Years 1907, 1908, and 1910, by E. H. Wilson.  3 vols.  Cambridge, Mass.: The University Press, 1913-17.
LC call number:  QK490.C6 S3

Torrey, John.  “Plantae Fremontianae; or Descriptions of Plants Collected by Col. J. C. Frémont in California.” Smithsonian Contributions of Knowledge. 6, art. 2 (1854): 1-24.  (“Incorrectly numbered vol. V, art. 1.”)
LC call number:  Q11.S68 vol. 6

Ward, N. B. On the Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases.  2nd ed.  London: J. Van Voorst, 1862.
LC call number: Microfilm 32123 SB

Wilson, Owen. “Travels of a Plant Hunter in China.”  World’s Work 18 (June 1909): 11670-84.
LC call number: AP4 .W85

Print Sources on Plant Hunting: Post-1923

Beidelman, Richard G“David Douglas in Pursuit of Plants.”  Horticulture 47 (Feb. 1968): 30-33, 49, 59.
LC call number:  SB1.H86

Burton, Walter E.  “Treasure Hunters Comb Earth for Priceless Plants.”  Popular Science Monthly 121 (Aug. 1932): 34-35, 112.

Cowan, J. M., ed.  The Journeys and Plant Introductions of George Forrest, V. M. H.  London: Oxford University Press for the Royal Horticultural Society, 1952.
LC call number:  SB109.C67

Creech, John L. “Expeditions for New Horticultural Plants.”  Arnoldia 26 (Sept. 23, 1966): 49-53.
LC call number:  QK479.A7

Cunningham, Isabel Shipley.  Frank N. Meyer, Plant Hunter in Asia.  Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1984.
Bibliography: 291-305.
LC call number:  SB63.M55 C86 1984

Cutright, Paul Russell.  Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989.  First published 1969 by the University of Illinois Press.
Bibliography: 457-68.
LC call number:  F592.7.C87 1989

Dalton, David A.  The Natural World of Lewis and Clark.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008.
Bibliographical references: 229-40.
LC call number:  QH104.5.W4 D35 2008

Douglas, David.  Douglas of the Forests: The North American Journals of David Douglas. Ed. John Davies.  Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980.
Bibliography: 189.
LC call number:  QK31.D6 A32 1980

Fairchild, David.  Exploring for Plants, by David Fairchild; from Notes of the Allison Vincent Armour Expeditions for the United States Department of Agriculture, 1925, 1926, and 1927.  New York: The Macmillan Co., 1930.
LC call number:  SB109.F18

———.  The World Was My Garden: Travels of a Plant Explorer.  London: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1938.
LC call number:  SB63.F3 A3

[Fairchild, David.]  “The Corsican Citron (Citrus medica, Linn.).”  With cover title “Manuscript (presumably unpublished) found in David Fairchild’s papers held by Fairchild Tropical Garden archives.  October 1993.”  Unpublished manuscript, David Fairchild Collection, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Archive. 

Farney, Dennis.  “Meet the Men Who Risked Their Lives to Find New Plants.”  Smithsonian 11 (June 1980): 128-30, 132, 134, 136, 138-40.
LC call number:  AS30.S6

Farrington, Edward Irving.  Ernest H. Wilson, Plant Hunter; With a List of His Most Important Introductions and Where to Get Them.  Boston, The Stratford Co., 1931.
LC call number:  QK31.W55 F3

Frémont, John Charles.  The Crossing of the Sierra Nevada in the Winter of 1843-44; Report of the Exploring Expedition to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-‘44.  Edited from United States Senate Document no. 174, by Bob Graham.  Rev. ed.  Sacramento: B. Graham, 2001.
LC call number:  F868.S5 F74 2001

Fry, Carolyn.  The Plant Hunters.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 
Includes pockets with additional materials.
LC call number:  QK61.F79 2013 SCIRR

Gardener, William.  “Robert Fortune and the Cultivation of Tea in the United States.”  Arnoldia 31 (Jan. 15, 1971): 1-18.
LC call number:  QK479.A7

Gollner, Adam.  The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession.  New York: Scribner, 2008.
Bibliographical references: 266-71.
LC call number:  SB354.8.G65 2008

Gribbin, Mary, and John Gribbin.  Flower Hunters.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 
Bibliographical references: 312-16.
LC call number:  QK26.G75 2008

Gunderson, Mary.  The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark: Recipes for an Expedition.  Yankton, S.D.: History Cooks, 2003.
Bibliographical references: 152-54.
LC call number:  TX715.2.W47 G875 2003

Harvey, Athelstan George.  Douglas of the Fir: A Biography of David Douglas, Botanist.  Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1947.
Bibliography: 261-75.
LC call number:  QK31.D6 H3

Knapp, Sandra.  Plant Discoveries: A Botanist’s Voyage through Plant Exploration.  Buffalo: Firefly Books, 2003.
Bibliographical references: 330-31.
LC call number:  QK50.K99 2003 fol. SCIRR

Jefferson, Thomas.  The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Vol. 32. Ed. Barbara B. Oberg. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.
LC call number:  E302.J442 1950a vol. 32

Lemmon, Kenneth.  The Golden Age of Plant Hunters.  London: Phoenix House, 1968.
Bibliography: 219-20.
LC call number:  QK61.L44

Lewis, Meriwether, et al.  The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  Ed. Gary E. Moulton and Thomas W. Dunlay. 13 vols. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2000.
LC call number: F592.4 1983

Lindsay, Ann.  Seeds of Blood and Beauty:  Scottish Plant Collectors.  Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2008.
Bibliographical references: 301-5.
LC call number:  QK26.L56 2008

Lyte, Charles.  The Plant Hunters.  London: Orbis, 1983.
Bibliography: 186-87.
LC call number:  QK26.L9 1983

McLean, Brenda.  George Forrest Plant Hunter.  Woodbridge: Antique Collectors’ Club, in Association with the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 2004.
Bibliographical references: 228.
LC call number:  QK31.F72 M38 2004

Martin, Tovah. “Gardening in History: Plant Shipment.”  American Horticulturalist 65 (Feb. 1986): 6-9, 32-33.
LC call number:  SB1.N3

Morwood, William.   Traveler in a Vanished Landscape: The Life and Times of David Douglas.
New York: C. N. Potter, 1973.
Bibliography: 223-31.
LC call number:  QK31.D6 M67

Munger, Susan H.  Common to This Country: Botanical Discoveries of Lewis and Clark.  New York: Artisan, 2003. 
Bibliographical references: 126.
LC call number:  QK133.M86 2003

Musgrave, Toby, Chris Gardner, and Will Musgrave.  The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World.  London: Ward Lock, 1998.
Bibliographical references:  218-20.
LC call number: QK21.G7 M88 1998

Nelmes, Ernest, comp.  Curtis’s Botanical Magazine Dedications, 1827-1927.  London: B. Quaritch for the Royal Horticultural Society, 1931.
LC call number:  QK1.C3

Scottish Rock Garden Club.  George Forrest, V.M.H., Explorer and Botanist, Who by His Discoveries and Plants Successfully Introduced Has Greatly Enriched Our Gardens: 1873-1932.  Edinburgh: Stoddart & Malcolm, 1935.
LC call number:  QK31.F6 S3

Seymour, William.  “Botanist Explorers of Two Continents.”  History Today 29 (Aug.1979): 497-505.
LC call number:  D1.H818

Silvey, Anita. The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth.  New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2012.
LC call number:  QK26.S57 1912

Stoner, Allan, and Kim Hummer.  “19th and 20th Century Plant Hunters.”  HortScience 42 (Apr. 2007): 197-99.
LC call number:  SB317.5.H675

Tyler-Whittle, Michael Sidney.  The Plant Hunters, Being an Examination of Collecting; With an Account of the Careers & the Methods of a Number of Those Who Have Searched the World for Wild Plants. Philadelphia: Chilton Book Co., 1970.
Bibliography: 269-72.
LC call number:  QK61.T8 1970

Tubbs, Stephanie Ambrose, and Clay Straus Jenkinson.  The Lewis and Clark Companion: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Voyage of Discovery.  New York: Henry Holt, 2003.
Bibliographical references:  333-45.
LC call number:  F59.7.T83 2003

Washington, George.  The Diaries of George Washington.  Ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig.  6 vols.  Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-79.
LC call number:  E312.8 1976

Wilson, Ernest Henry.  The Flowering World of “Chinese” Wilson.  Ed. Daniel J. Foley.  New York: Macmillan, [1969].
Bibliography: 323-24.
LC call number:  SB455.W74 1969

———.  The Lilies of Eastern Asia: A Monograph.  London: Dulau & Co., 1925.
LC call number:  QK495.L72 W5

———.  Plant Hunting.  Boston: The Stratford Co., 1927.
Contents: vol. 1: Africa, South and Central, Australia and New Zealand; vol. 2: The Tropics, The Orient.
LC call number:  QK101.W5

Winters, S. R.  “With Uncle Sam’s Plant Hunters.”  Popular Mechanics 45 (Feb. 1926): 259-64.
LC call number:  T1.P77

Useful Periodicals in the Study of Plant Hunting

LC call number:  QK497.A7

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.
LC call number:  Q1.C9 Landover

Edinburgh Journal of Botany.
LC call number:  QK1.E3

LC call number:  SB1.G28

Gardeners’ Chronicle & Gardening Illustrated.
LC call number:  SB4.G3

Kew Bulletin.
LC call number:  QK1.K4

National Geographic Magazine.
LC call number:  G1.N27

Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
LC call number:  QH1.A2

Royal Horticultural Society, London.  Journal.
LC call number:  SB4.R8

United States. Bureau of Plant Industry.  Bulletin.
LC call number:  QK1.U45

United States. Department of Agriculture.  Miscellaneous Publication.
LC call number:  S21.A46

———.  Technical Bulletin.
LC call number:  S21.A72

———.  Yearbook of Agriculture.
LC call number:  S21.A35 FT MEADE

United States. Forest Service.  Bulletin.
LC call number:  SD11.A2

United States. Patent Office.  Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents.  Pt.2, Agriculture.
LC call number:  S21.A19

World’s Work . . . A History of Our Time.
LC call number:  AP2.W8

Selected Botanical Gardens enriched by Plant Hunters

Most have educational programs for students.

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130
Telephone: 217-524-1718
Website: External Link

Chicago Botanic Garden
100 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
Telephone: 847-835-5440
Website: External Link

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 20 8332 5655
Website: External Link

Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Telephone: 610-388-1000
Website: External Link

Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Boulevard
St, Louis, MO
Telephone: 314-577-5100
Website: External Link

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Telephone: 718-817-8700
Website: External Link

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Arboretum Place
Edinburgh EH3 5NZ
United Kingdom
Telephone: + 44 131 248 2909
Website: External Link

United States National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue NE
Washington, DC, 2002
Telephone: 202-245-2726

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