Friday, September 5, 2008

Book Recommendation

I am quickly making my way through a pretty diverting read, Common to This Country: Botanical Discoveries of Lewis and Clark.

It is a fast, easy read that tracks Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's expedition west, commissioned with the task to find the northwest passage.

While Clark was primarily responsible for creating maps that documented their travels (beginning in St. Louis, heading west through the Dakotas, then past the Continental Divide, finally reaching the Pacific Coast via the Columbia River, near modern-day Oregon), Lewis clearly was the one who had an eye and passion for plants.

Each chapter is about a plant they discovered and features information on their expedition, hardships and survival skills. Finally, there is a coda about the plant's modern-day use.

This is not a book for one to necessarily learn new plants - it is scant on identifying characteristics - and the illustrations, though beautiful, are not technically detailed. However, I'm finding it a good addition to my plant library. Like one of my favorite out-of-print books, The Folklore of Trees and Shrubs, this is a great resource for some anecdotal information on plant species.

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