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Through Other Eyes

Articles: Through Other Eyes

Wildflowers in Hayfork Valley, California. Author’s photograph.
Among the vestiges of the natural world maintained through our intervention are fields of wildflowers, most now fragments of what early explorers saw.
The West, especially California, very early became known as a flowery region. Plant exploration began in the 1500s, with the period between 1750 and 1850 known as the golden age of plant discovery on the Pacific Coast. Long before statehood was attained much of our native flora was known in other parts of the world. Many of our plants were named for their discoverers — often botanists or naturalists who otherwise knew little about California. Generally, records of forays into the Pacific wilderness are scant and filed away in foreign institutions. David Douglas, that indomitable plant hunter, left enthusiastic notes about his collecting trips, delightful to read today for his reaction to wild and trackless forests in areas we now whisk through on broad highways. As were many other plant hunters, Douglas was commissioned by foreign institutions and nurserymen to comb our woods and fields for plants ...


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