Rendered by P. M. Eckel
Editor, The Clinton Papers
Buffalo Museum of Science
Missouri Botanical Garden, Res Botanica
July 17, 2003

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[1866.]    Sept. 1. Saturday. At 1 P.M. left for Herkimer, took railroad & reached Buffalo at about 11 P.M.


[1866.]    Sept. 3. Monday. P.M. rowed to Little Bay [=Strawberry Id.] & collected some Isoetes and Nymphaea tuberosa.


[1866.]    Sept. 5. Wednesday. At 2*20* P.M. started for Utica, 5 miles east of Rochester, just east of the Irondequoit Creek, found the Express Train from the East, off the track, a misplaced switch the cause, took in the killed (5) and wounded & backed into Rochester, about 11 or 12 P.M. started again, were transferred at the break (having all the baggage) and. . . . . ?


[1866.]    Sept. 6. Reached Utica at 7 A.M., miserable breakfast at  Baggs's. Found the Sagina procumbens plentiful, on both sides of Hotel St., between Whitesboro & Liberty Sts. Called on B. D. Gilbert (Denis [?] Gilbert & Plant, 177 Genesee St.) & pointed it out to him.  Artemisia biennis near the top of the bank of the Mohawk, at the foot of Genessee St., easterly side of the old bridge, & a queerish looking Aster, not in flower, in the south westerly side. On to Herkimer, baggageless, & by stage, to Richfield Springs, where I arrived at 2 1/2 P.M., taking specimens from Denniston's (now Van Slyck's) of Ruta graveolens.


[1866.]    Sept. 9. [At Richfield Springs.] Blephila hirsuta still in the old station, in the wood on north side of the Mill pond. Asplenium angustifolium also abundant there. 


[1866.]    Sept. 10. [At Richfield Springs.] Being unpleasant weather to date, before breakfast, wrote to B. D. Gilbert.


On the west side of Schuyler Lake, opposite the Pine Grove, in the shallow, gravelly edge of the Lake, found 1 Hypnum aduncum, 2 Eleocharis? in fruit, but with small curved tubers?, very small plant. 3. Ranunculus reptans & next day, mailed them to Engelmann.


[1866.]    Sept. 13. [At Richfield Springs.] 1 A.M., with Mr. C., left the Springs for Buffalo which we reached at about 11*40'. Before leaving, collected seeds of Sonchus arvensis. Was struck with their spareness, no head was full seeded, most had only 2 ‑ 5 seeds, most had entirely aborted.


[1866.]    Sept. 14. On Ellicott & Eagle Sts., and in other parts of the City, noticed & took specimens of a green flowered Amaranthus which does not seem to me the common weed of the gardens &c.


[1866.]    Sept. 15. With Day, in afternoon, walked down Seneca St. He showed me Vaccaria in seed, beyond Michigan St. Also, in another place (both on the northerly side) Nicotiana rustica, which he says has been diffused by the Agricultural Department, in distributing seeds of other species of Nicotiana. Walked, on St. L. R. R., to Elk St. Railroad improvements have extirpated Amarantus spinosus. Chenopodium glaucum still there, and also (and I think I have before noted) on vacant corners & lots about the Elk St. Market.


[1866.]    Sept. 16. Sunday, A.M. Walked to Forest Lawn. In the grove, n. easterly corner of the grounds, 1 plant of Phlox paniculata, left it.


In the open meadow on the edge of the grove, going westerly, Spiranthes gracilis abundant. In the grove in the southwesterly corner, 2 very distinct forms of Chenopodium album. Noticed thereon a black Aphis. In that grove, Solidago squarosa, & on the flat, by the road near the fence separating the cemetery from the Scajaquada Marsh, a narrow leaved Solidago, noticed before at Mt. Hope, Rochester I think, & elsewhere, can it be S. odorata?.


P.M. On southerly side of Huron St., beyond Franklin, going to Day's, inside of a gate, a very slender branched form of Chenopodium album, with the black Aphis on it & ants milking them.


[1866.]    Sept. 17. Left in 6 P.M. Train.


[1866.]    Sept. 18. Tuesday. Transferred to the Day Boat (The Drew) at Albany, landed at Catskill, took the stage & reached the Mountain House in time for dinner. Mr. Henry Coles & daughter, from the Palisades, on board, intimate with Dr. Torrey & family, & Dr. Thurber, and another daughter married to [no name], co‑junior editor with Thurber of the American Agriculturalist.


After dinner, walked to the Pond & the Kaaterskill Falls & went to the bottom of the Latter. Got some mosses from side of South Mountain, Glyceria canadensis, Potentilla tridentata, in fruit, & Sedum telelphinum on the Mountain House Platform.


[Catskill was a postal village, the county seat of Greene Co. on the Hudson, at the mouth of Catskill Creek. The Catskill Mountain House, in Hunter township, provided a spectacular prospect over the Hudson River and was a well visited resort. In easy walking distance were two small lakes, collectively forming the head of the KaatersKill tributary of the Catskill Creek. The Falls formed a deep ravine with two cascades, one of 175 ft., the other, 85 ft.].


[1866.]    Sept. 19. [Catskill Mountain:] Explored Little Lake, the southerly one, collected Isoetes macrospora? Gray writes (Letter 146) that it is I. echinospora. A green Sparganium on the edge of the pond in a marshy spot, perhaps dwarfed, S. simplex (=S. americanum, Engelmann, letter 148, a water plant, leaves like a Hypericum = stature of Hypericum mutilum, Engelmann letter 148.), a Juncus, Hypericum mutilum, &c.


On the South Mountain, a Gaylussacia, a Juncus, = canadensis var. coarctatus, Engelmann, letter 148, mosses (=Pogonatum alpinum), lichens, Solidagoes, of which one may be puberula (=puberula, bicolor, Muhlenbergii).


[Asa Gray's letter 146 is as follows:]

‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑Vol. 3. (146) [M 83]

Cambridge  26th [Sept. 1886]

Dear Clinton


I am delighted to hear from you, after so long, and am charmed with your [real] as shown in your late excursion to Katskill, But ‑ alas, ‑ Mann[...] esquire ‑ to whom I turned over the examination of your Isoetes ‑ [which] such nice & ripe  spores ‑ says that they are not remarkably large ‑ nor marked as [   ] [   ] his I. macrospora ‑ that in short your plant is, I. echinospora, like his of Concord and Mt. Mansfield ‑ Oh, dear!


I [   ] get to Sagina soon. But, if [...] yours of Utica = S. procumbens.


I am dreadfully [   med] up.


By the way. Mr. Hale, who escorted me to the photographer at Buffalo, promised to mail to me an (unmounted) copy of the result of my sitting. How was it? a failure? If not send one ‑ not mounted, it will roll up well & go by mail.


Ever Yours

A. Gray

Everybody says the meeting at Buffalo was most successful & enjoyable.


[Recd Sept. 26.]




[Engelman's letter number 148 is as follows:]


Vol.3 No. 148 [M 81]

St. Louis Sept. 24th 1866 Hon. G. W. Clinton

Dear Sir


A lull in the press of professional occupation! Thus your letter and box, received this morning could not come more opportune. 


A full examination of the plant was made, the necessary drawings etc., but it is not Isoetes macrospora, but your own Niagara Isoetes Braunii, which seems to be the most common of all the northeastern Isoetes!


The only difference I can discover is the greater length of the leaves ‑5‑6 inches!


If the season was not so far advanced, I would say: try again! May be that in another part of the same lake or in another our Isoetes macrocarpon will be found.


This I. Braunii is this American representative of the European I. echinospora, and I. macrospora is perhaps a variety of I. lacustris. Now lacustris and echinospora do occur often in Europe in the same region and often in the same ponds or lakes, perhaps on different soil ‑ mud or gravel.


Both Junipers are J. Canadensis var. coarctatus, the J. acuminatus of Gray's Manual.


The "Callitriche" proves to be the stolons of Hypericum mutilum, as you suggest. With the Sparganium you have given me great pleasure. Sparganiums belong to the select class of my pets. This is as you surmise, Sp. Americanum, one of the forms with short stigma (the typical plant of Nuttall) ‑ but humbler than I ever have seen it. Thanks for it.


You will have got my long letter of a few days ago with its postscript about Sagina.

Very truly yours


G. Engelmann Recd Sept. 27




[The earlier letter to Clinton with the Sagina postscript that Engelmann has just referred to is as follows:]


Vol. 3. No. 141 [M 88]

St. Louis Sept. 19 1866 Hon. G. W. Clinton

Dear Sir,


If I had known that we would have had such a storm of Cholera, short but severe, which taxed my time and energies as a physician to the utmost (not quite) I would not have requested your ... other friends to send me Isoetes. Well, as it was I received a box from you & another from Boston on the same day, and a week later a third one from Maryland. Dried plants I would have put aside, but the living ones I could not permit to spoil; so time had to be found, had to be made, and it was made! And I am very glad that such a fine opportunity was afforded me of examining those interesting plants in the living state.


I hope next season you will, deo favente, gather some in the early part and then again in the middle of Summer, so that the different phases of vegetation can be studied. As it is your specimens show the old part of the trunk (bulb) decayed and black, but still adhering to that of this years growth; the sections show that beautifully; but thhe section must be made through the longest diameter of the trunk.


[Two small illustrations, one horizontal and the other vertical sections]


The shaded part represents the decayed part of the trunk ‑ the remnants of last year's growth ‑ the diagrams are about twice magnified.


It seems to me that all specimens or many at least, ought to be split like the second figure, to show this condition of the trunk ‑ both halves ought to adhere together.

I notice that the plants are reddish ‑ while the dried ones sent last year seemed quite green. Is that so.


Are these plants always submerged. I find stomata on the leaves, which seem to indicate an at least occasional exposure to the air.


If you should send me any thing I hope you will include Scirpus Torreyi, Sc. fluviatilis and your Ranunculus reptans [affinis?].


I have fully ... now, that Isoetes Braunii is a very good species, well distinguished from I. echinospora from Europe, and wide spread from New England to Niagara ‑ at least.


I hope my friends will not take me for a visionary person, when I tell them that I have now two new and undescribed species of Isoetes:  I. valida n.sp. the largest form, leaves 50‑80, 18‑20 inches long in Delaware and Pennsylvania; and I. saccharata [sp.?] n.sp. the smallest, 1 1/2 ‑ 2 inches long, from Maryland. As soon as I gain leisure enough I shall finish the a... to Junci and print a short review of our 10 species of Isoetes.


You must excuse me for the present in not examining those dried things ‑ there is no  hurry, they won't spoil, and so they are as Gray uses to say, salted down!! not for long, I hope.


Very respectfully


G. Engelmann

I open again to acknowledge yours of Sept. 17. The little thing is Sagina procumbens, Sagina ... is 5 androus with a different kind of capsule ‑ found in Rocky Mtns and westward.


Gray is not lazy but overburdened but your appeal for him to me had the intended effect to stimulate me to immediate examination of the "rascal"

G. E.


Recd. Sept. 22



[1866.]    Sept. 20. [Catskill Mountain:] Before breakfast, walked to top of North Mountain, collected too late, an Agrostis, another grass, a Carex, a Lechea (minor).


Yesterday picked up Aristidia dichotoma, & Anychia by the roadside up the Mountain.


The fish in the Little Lakes are said to be pickerel, bullheads, yellow perch.

Bears still found on the Mountains, rattlesnakes, deer. At the foot of the Mountains, copperheads.


Descended in the 8 A.M. Stage, about a mile from the foot of the Mountain, in a meadow on the left side of the road, a pretty purple Polygala, P. sanguinea, Gray writes (letter 146) sed? stopped the stage & got a little, noticed it, in another meadow, left side of the road, a mile or two further on.


At Catskill crossed the Hudson by a ferry, to Oakhill Landing. There found a marked form of Chenopodium album, & Leersia virginica. Reached Albany at 1 P.M. Dined at the Delaware House, found there John C. Mather, [our?] Humphrey, Mr. Tilden, Henry Richmond & Mayor Hoffman, our Candidate !!! Left by 6 P.M. train.


Have had almost continual rain since I left Buffalo!


[Anychia dichotoma Michx. (=A. dichotoma, DC.) in the Caryophyllaceae, "Forked Chickweed."]


[1866.]    Sept. 21. Friday. Reached house at 6*30' A.M. now, 12 M., have got my plants in paper, and am about mailing, in paper boxes, to Durand, Gray & Engelmann, the Isoetes, & to Gray, the Polygala & to Engelmann the Juncus, water plant, Sparganium &c. At Albany, I left specimen of the Isoetes & the bulk of my Catskill mosses for Peck, now mail him the residue.


[1866.]    Sept. 23. Sunday. About Forest Lawn. On the road at the foot of the Hill, beyond the Spring, Gentiana quinqueflora abundant. On the wooded hill, took a Solidago, venations like that of neglecta &c., of which I took a specimen, long ago, from Mt. Hope. Helianthus strumosus? Agrostis.


Nabalus albus has 11 florets, N. alt's 5, Lespedeza capitata abundant in White's grove.


P.M. State Line R. R. In damp places, on the track, city side of the freight house, a small and slender form of Juncus bufonius. Amarantus spinosus gone. Nothing by the old cattle stand beyond the bridge. At Elk Street, for a long way out, right hand side of the track, muck from cattle trains has been dumped, & the weeds are luxuriant. Among them noticed Solanum carolinense & Sida spinosa, the latter much branched. The as yet missing weeds brought by railroad are

1. Dysodia chrysanthemoides L. Huron Road, [f.?]

2. Xanthium spinosum

3. Physalis Philadelphica

4. Artemisia spinosa

5. Bidens tripinnata.


[Mount Hope is in Rochester, New York.]


[1866.]    Sept. 24. Monday. E. R. Jewett took me out. P.M. to his place, lunched, raided in his garden, took Briza maxima & B. minor. Received packet from Father Holzer.


[1866.]    Sept. 26. Received letter from Gray (no. 146) in which he says the Catskill Isoetes is echinospora.


[See full citation of Gray's letter above under the entry for September 19].


[1866.]    Sept. 27. Letter (148) from Engelmann, says the Catskill Isoetes is I. Braunii, &c.


P.M. Walked in Squaw Island & up the pier to Black Rock, collected a proliferous Scirpus, very old, either Eriophorum, or one of that division, some of the specimens close, perhaps, to S. polyphyllus. Also collected divers forms of Juncus tenuis, can hardly believe the largest one that species, but it does not seem to be either J. Greenei nor J. Vaseyi.


P.M. walked about Sandytown & along the r. road to Genesee St. Our Xanthium spinosum, thereabouts, is var. echinatum. Collected from railroad track, Hordeum sp.


[See entry for September 19 for full citation of Engelmann's letter no. 148.]


[1866.]    Sept. 30. Walked up the St. L. R. R. Near Marilla St. met a man who had been astonished by somebody's picking up a snake & putting it into a box. Mr. Charles Linden came out of the wood at Marilla St., & proved to be the man. Walked with him to Smoke's Creek & through the woods there.



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.