Thursday, June 25, 2009

David Douglas

Back in March, I put up a post about Archibald Menzies. Today is the birthday of one of the other great names of California botany, David Douglas (born 1799), who was Menzies's contemporary and worked in many of the same areas from California, to British Columbia, to Hawaii. A reading of his short biography will probably dispell any impressions that old-time botany was a career for the timid.
Further reading: Google Books offers the entire text of David Douglas, Botanist at Hawaii by William Frederick Wilson. I haven't read it yet, other than browsing through it, but it looks quite worthwhile, being various contemporary memories of the botanist, as well as some extracts from his own correspondence.
(Since I come from Tehachapi, the Douglas-associated plant which leaps most readily to mind is the blue oak (pictured) which is Quercus douglasii in scientific terms.)

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