THE BOTANICAL JOURNAL OF G. W. CLINTON
Rendered by P. M. Eckel
Editor, The Clinton Papers
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14211 USA
www.buffalomuseumofscience.org/botany/DiaryIntro.htm
February 10, 2003

Return to Home

THE BOTANICAL JOURNAL OF G. W. CLINTON – April 1864

[1864]    April. 4. Monday. Last Friday, noticed in the Corporation Square, a pair of blue‑birds. The Robins have been here some days. 

Took my first stroll. Walked out to the dark wood, in the State Line R. R. There took specimen of an Alnus in flower. Day thinks we have both A. incana & A. serrulata, & it may be so. If so this may be the latter. In the wood, found an old man & a woman established in a bough shanty. He had a basket full of Prince's Pine, goldthread, Osier bark & slippery elm bark. Says he sells such things. The woman says they have been quite comfortable there, except when it snowed once, & then they had to go to a neighbor's. 

In the wood by the wood road after crossing the ditch, scattered seeds of Poa sylvestris, &, by the ditch, of Tripsacum dactyloides. On the railroad, just by a pile of old boards, scattered seeds of Euphorbia herniarioides, & by the ditch (on the right going out, & between the pile & the 3d telegraph pole from the crossroad into the wood) seeds of Ludwigia alternifolia, and some of Stylisma Pickeringii. In the hollow, by the creek, just by the far end of the R. R. Bridge, scattered seeds of Ammannia humilis, A. latifolia, & of something else unknown, & some of Poa nemoralis also escaped. On Wheelbarrow Point, two men fishing, one had caught 2 mullet, had also caught a Menobranch. Plenty of men & boys about, generally with guns, occasionally with a fish spear, dogs of course, looking along the ditches for pickerel. Saw no one who had got one. The only birds were sparrows. Vegetation hardly commenced.  The most conspicuous green were the leaves of the Barbarea. 

 

[Ammannia coccinea Rottb. (=A. latifolia Gray, Manual not L.  "Apparently the more developed form of the southern A. latifolia L.  ...: p. 185 Gray, 6th edition: Lythraceae. The 1997 New York checklist  of Mitchell and Tucker gives Rotala ramosior (L.) Koehne ex Mart., Tooth‑ cup, as a synonym of Ammania ramosior L., a species rare in the state.  Alnus incana (L.) Moench and Alnus serrulata (od Day, 1882) are now  considered Alnus rugosa (Du Roi) Spreng. In Gray's Manual of 1862 there is a Euphorbia herniarioides, Nutt. "Banks of the Mississippi and lower Ohio, in rich alluvial soil, and southwestward.' p. 386."]

 

[ The couple seems to be employed in the service of the local medicine  trade: Prince's Pine is Chimaphila umbellata (leaves "used in medicine  for stones in the bladder and retarding excretion of urine. Contains  ericolin, arbutin, chimaphilin, urson, tannin and gallic acid." (Uphof p.  125); Goldthread is Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb. ‑ another English name  is  Canker‑root, "Entire dried plant is used medicinally as stomachic, tonic,  has similar action as Hydrastis. Used locally for ulcerated mouth. Contains  berberine and coptin, being alkaloids." (Uphof p. 151). Of the different  species of Willow (Salix) mentioned by Uphof, two are alien but commonly  planted by streamsides (Salix alba and S. fragilis), one is native (Salix  nigra) whose bark is "rich in tannin; used as home medicine for fevers."  (p. 465) and is probably the one indicated here as the environment noted  appears to be native and not farmed.  Notice how liberal and compassionate Clinton is to be speaking to  people who live in this condition and asking what their condition was.  Barbarea is the Barbarea vulgaris R. Br. called Winter Cress, as its  basal rosettes are conspicuous in the spring ‑ note it is a common weed at  this early date, perhaps associated with the railroad and cattle areas of  Buffalo.]

 

[1864]    April 6. After dinner, took Main St. car to Granger's Creek. Hiram E. Howard, in the car, told me that the blue‑grass of Kentucky was "the common knot grass", that it was difficult to get rid of when once it got a footing, that his father took great pains to get it & it turned out to be that. Don't know what he means by knot grass, probably Triticum repens. Got out at the grocery by the cross road, & scattered seed of the KY bluegrass (procured for me by Mr. Cook, it is a Poa.), on the vacant lot at the corner, & by the road side, here & there, up to the toll gate. Crossed to the grove on the left, & there, and in the two quarries, scattered more. In the grove scattered berries of [greenbriar?] received from Mr. Haskins of New Albany, Ia. [= Indiana], & planted seeds of the Persimmon (=Diospyros virginiana). Crossed the road & fields to the wood which goes nearly to Delaware St. Along the fence, easterly of the old house, in the south edge of the wood, & up to the house, planted more Persimmon seeds. The frogs in the swampy places in the wood, singing sweetly. Not a flower, nor a flower bud. Returned the same route. Saw one meadow lark. 

 

[1864]    April 7. or thereabout. Put seed of Elatine americana on edge of ditch crossing Squaw Island, just this side of fist willow tree, left hand side going towards the River.

 

[1864]    April 11. Walked from the Erie St. Depot to Black Rock, strewing seeds, here & there, of the Kentucky Blue Grass, along the track. Thence to Squaw Island, on west side of Lock & along below Bob Austin's, do [= ditto]. In the ditches crossing the Island, & in Creek, below Curtis's, planted seeds of Nelumbium. In the hillocks, by creek, below Curtis's, put in pods of the Glycyrrhiza, & some seeds of Enslenia or Gonolobus. Went to the Conjocketie's, left bank, just above the saw‑mill, & there planted more seeds of Nelumbium. In the groves thereabout, & up to the road, put in seeds of Persimmon. Also, near & above the mill, scattered more blue grass & Anychia dichotoma seed, & dibbled in seeds of Gonolobus &c., &c. some, I think, of Tecoma, also Lysimachia vulgaris and Persimmon.

 

[Conjockety Creek is the original name of what is now, and has long been written, Scajaquada Creek. The creek was named after Philip Conjockety. "In the old navy yard at the mouth of this stream five vessels were reconditioned for Commodore Perry's fleet during 1813" (from a plaque erected by the New York State Education Department and Abigail Fillmore Chapter, D. A. R., 1937). The plaque is located on part of the Elmwood Avenue bridge where it passes over the Scajaquada Creek (http://222.andrle.com/markers/mark002.htm ‑ noted in 2003). "Dibble" indicates Clinton took a stick and dibbled a hole in which he planted his Gonolobus seeds.]

 

[1864]    April 11 ‑ 18. Between these dates gave Mr. E. S. Warren seeds of the Gymnocladus, Cassia Marylandica, Tecoma? Gonolobus or Euslenia? [spp.?] and of the cucurbit received from C. C. Haskins. 

 

[Gymnocladus canadensis Lam. the Coffee Tree, native in New York to Illinois and Tennesee. Probably Cassia Marilandica L., American Senna (Leguminosae)]. Tecoma, Juss. (Bignoniaceae), the Trumpet‑flower, species of climbing plants; Gonobolus, Mx. (Asclepiadaceae); Eugenia? of the Myrtaceae. the Myrtleblooms, Eugenia Jambos, the Rose Apple, a tree with a sweetish rose‑like flavor.  Mr. C. C. Haskins is apparently of New Albany, Indiana (see Miscellaneous Index). The cucurbit is Echinocystis lobata Torr. & A. Gray, see 1863: Oct.20, the "Wild Balsam‑Apple".]

 

[1864]    April 19. 7 1/2 A.M. Two swallows, the first I have noticed this Spring, flying over the houses. Gave pods of Gymnocladus to Mr. Letchworth, for Glen Iris. Sent packages, by Express, and wrote to Rev. Joseph Blake & Prof. Porter. Wrote to William Saunders, London, C. W., inclosing copy from list of desirable plants in his Catalogue. Wrote to Daniel Clarke, M.D., Flint, Mich, for specimen of Solidago Canadensis v. procera & Aster ericoides, v. villosus. To E. W.  Hubbard, Tottenville, for botanists in Staten Island, &tc. To Miss Laura Sanford, Erie, Pa., for naturalists, part'y [particularly] botanists, there. To S. B.  Mead, M.D., Augusta, Menard Co., Ill., de his [ancient? word added] list of plants of North Salem, N.Y., communicated to me by Dr. Lee, &c., &c.  Also to Dr. Sartwell.  17th ‑ 18th & today, mailed the circular of the Regents, with the lists of deficiencies of the Cabinet, to Prof. Gray, Dr. Lee, Peekskill [? not in index], Dr. Sartwell, Dr. Vasey, John A. Paine, Jr., M. S. Bebb, Miss Mary H. Clark, Dr. Dewey, E.  G. Pickett, Prof. Porter, Grote, Coleman T. Robinson, Edward Huntington, Rome, Dr. Engelmann, Rev. P. P. Kidder, Dr. Geo.  Thurber, Dr.  Daniel Clarke, Rev. Joseph Blake, Wm. M.  Canby, Wm. Boot, Dr. Robbins, Oxbridge, Mass., O. R. Willis, H. M. Douglass, South Richland, N.Y., Dr. Bostwick, Litchfield, Conn., Miss Hale, care Hon. Robert S. Hale, Dr.  Skinner, E. W.  Hubbard, M.D., Tottenville, N.Y., G. W.  Hazeltine, N.Y. 

Wrote to Dr. Woolworth, requesting him to send copies to Miss Shattuck, E. G. Trembley, M.D., Toledo, C. B. Dyer, Prof. A. Bradish, Dr. Grossmann, Dr. G. A. Lapham, Milwawkee, Rev. G. S. Barris, North Evans, Hon. Robert S. Hale & Dr. Safford E. Hale, Elizabeth Town, N.Y. Richard Remington, Esq., of same place. Charles F. Hammond, Esq., Crown Point, Gratham G.  Witherbee, Esq., & Wm. H. Stone, Esqs., Port Henry, Essex Co., and divers others. 

 

[C. B. Dyer is in Cincinnati; 'Grote' is Augustus R. Grote. North Salem, N.Y. is in the town of North Salem, Westchester Co. William Saunders replied (see 1864. April 19). See 1863:Dec.1 for the initiation of this request. The Cabinet is the ancestor of the natural history collections of the New York State Museum, Albany, New York.]

 

[1864]    April 20. Received letter from Edward Tatnall, Esq., Wilminton, Delaware, wrote & mailed him the circular. 

 

[1864]    April 22. Friday. Strolled out to Swartz's Ravine. Populus tremuloides in flower, P. grandidentata behind, Corylus rostrata in blossom. Collected a little of Claytonia Caroliniana. In the swamp in the grove (and also below) Caltha palustris in flower. Saw three very small blossoms of Sanguinaria. The Dirca shows signs of blossoming. At the foot of the hill and edge of the marsh in the grove, a fine beech tree, of which I took some unexpanded catkins, probably Betula lenta. Explored the marsh below Forest Lawn, thence to Delaware St., crossed creek, took road to the right, to the stone quarry, thence through the little wood & fields to Main St. cars, home. 

 

[1864]    April 25. Monday. Sent a small package to Gray. Got materials together for package for Dr. Clarke of Flint, Mich. & Wm. Canby of Chadd's Ford, Pa. Wrote to them, & also to Wm. Bebb.

 

[Chadd's Ford is a post‑village in Delaware Co., Pennsylvania on the Brandywine Creek, 30 miles west by south of Philadelphia.]

 

[1864]    April 26. Wednesday. Walked, along R. R., to York St. Beginning just beyond the Round House, planted, here & there, seeds of Lathyrus maritima, &, especially, in the pool, on the left side of R. R. & near end of Round House, and on left side of R. R. on vacant lot next York St., omnium gatherum of seeds. Up York to Niagara, & so home. Received capital letter from Col. Olney & one from Dr. Clarke. Raining. Looked over the collection of plants received, last Fall, from Dr. Robbins. Received letter from Gray, saying that a Scirpus sent him recently (and collected Aug. 12, 1863,) is S. Torreyi. Walked to Ms. Howland's, on Niagara St., and gave her 4 seeds of the Balsam Apple (?) received from C. C. Haskins. Planted one before my house. 

 

[The cucurbit is Echinocystis lobata Torr. & A. Gray, see 1863: Oct.20, the "Wild Balsam‑Apple".]

 

[1864]    April 28. Thursday. 7 A.M. The Rain ceased last evening, ice formed in the Streets last night. Wrote to Col. Olney, John A. Paine, Jr., Wm. Boott, Esq., Dr. W. M. Hunting, Fairfield. 

 

[1864]    April 29. Friday. Mr. Barr (Woodyard man on Scott St.), rows every now & then, on west side of Grand Island, & lands at Hagerman Point, in the grove on which is a spontaneous pear & a spontaneous apple tree. He says that, if I will let him know when I wish to go, he'll take me there.

After dinner, rode in car to Schanzlin, took road to the east, & after crossing the Bridge, & next field, went through orchard to the creek, &, by the fence side, a short distance up the creek, found a small Ulmus racemosa, just commencing to flower. Recrossed the road & went to the grove where the U. racemosa, found by Day last year is, will not be in flower for a week & a difficult tree to get specimen from. In that grove collected a little Claytonia Caroliniana. Went past the stone quarries to the Frasera grove, nil. Returned & went into grove south of Insane Asylum, nil. Went to the Grove, & in the swamp at the foot of the hill, collected a little Cardamine rhomboidea v. purpurea. A Salix, the Alnus. Then, through the fence, to the top of the bank approaching Swartz's Ravine, & there, took specimen of a willow. Made a small blaze on all the willows I took from. The poplar tree in the south side of the cross road (probably P. monilifera with a very small leaf) shows no signs of flowering. Took specimen also from the small willows on the bank of the lateral ravine north of cross road, that cuts through the big field opposite Dr. Lord's.

 

[Perhaps the ferries to Grand Island near the foot of Squaw Island only went to the east side of Grand Island (Falconwood). The Insane Asylum here is not the New York State Insane Asylum of Elmwood and Forest Streets but the Roman Catholic Lunatic Asylum on Main Street.].

 

[1864]    April 30. Saturday. After dinner, rode to Dam & walked over on Squaw Island. Above the lock, by the big tree on the dry land, took male & female willow & tied strings on the shrubs, also took some from below. Walked up the Island on the embankment. Just below the little Sycamore & nearly opposite it, took specimen from two female shrubs, catkins small, & put strings on the trees. Walked on the head &, near the river side, near the trees, more specimens. There is a willow there which produces catkins & leaves together.

 

[Note the "blazes" or marks on the willow trees (April 29) and the strings on the willows here: this is because to identify these difficult trees one needs the male and female fruits, growing in aments, or catkins, that present themselves in many species before the leaves are developed later in the season: both are necessary for identification and it is often confusing to match up early and late collections from the same tree. Maples, which flower before leaves are produced, present a similar problem, although in that genus the leaves and fruit, occur together, and are more individually distinctive than willows are.]

 

 

Scientific names may be looked up in the online checklist of Western New York plants. Find genus names beginning with  A - C  D - K  L - P  Q - Z.