Lewis and Clark Today Logo

On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Gass reports spending the night away from Fort Clatsop under cover of blankets and elk skin. Pryor reports that the Chinook took some of their Elk. The Captains describe the grand fir, douglas fir, and western white pine.

very cold last night think it reather the coldest night that we have had.

Meriwether Lewis

No. 3   A species of fir which one of my men informs me is precisely the same with that called the balsam fir of Canada.

Meriwether Lewis

Grand fir, Abies grandis

Top of a green pine tree with a blue sky background

Photo © Chris Schnepf. Permission via the Creative Commons 3.0 License.

This morning we had pleasant weather

Joseph Whitehouse

Netul Landing sunrise (Fort Clatsop)

Coastal backwater on a sunny day

Photo taken with permission at Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, Fort Clatsop.

it's leaves are sessile, acerose, one 1/8 of an inch in 1/16th of an inch in width, thickly scattered on all sides of the twigs as far as the growth of four preceeding years

Meriwether Lewis

Grand fir, Abies grandis, needles

Close up of Grand fir needles

Photo © by Sten Porse. Permission via the GNU Free Documentation License.

this tree affords considerable quantities of a fine clear arromatic balsam in appearance and taste like the Canadian balsam.
smal pustules filled with this balsam rise with a blister like appearance on the body of the tree and it's branches; the bark which covers these pustules is soft thin smoth and easily punctured.

Meriwether Lewis

Grand fir, Abies grandis, pitch

Close up of bark with small pockets of pitch as described by Lewis

Photo by Lumbar who has released it to the public domain.

the bark of the tree generally is thin of a dark brown colour and reather smooth tho' not as much so as the white pine of our county. the wood is white and soft.—

Meriwether Lewis

Grand fir, Abies grandis, bark

Close up of Grand fir bark

Photo © by MPF. Permission via the GNU Free Documentation License.

No 5. is a species of fir which arrives to the size of Nos. 2 and 4, the stem simple branching, diffuse and proliferous.

Meriwether Lewis

Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii subsp. Menziesii

Douglas fir overlooking Puget Sound

Photo ©2007 by Walter Siegmund. Permission via the GNU Free Documentation License.

the leaves are acerose, 1/20th of an inch in width, and an inch in length, sessile, inserted on all sides of the bough, streight, their extremities pointing obliquely toward the extremities of the bough and more thickly placed than in either of the other species;

Meriwether Lewis

Douglas fir needles, Pseudotsuga menziesii subsp. Menziesii

Close-up of pine needles with a single small cone

Photo ©2005 by Walter Siegmund. Permission via the GNU Free Documentation License.

No. 6 the white pine; or what is usually so called in Virginia. I see no difference between this and that of the mountains in Virginia; unless it be the uncommon length of cone of this found here, which are sometimes 16 or 18 inches in length and about 4 inches in circumpherence.

Meriwether Lewis

Western white pine, Pinus monticola

Large, green pine cones hanging from branches with long pine needles

Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service.