Charles Christopher Parry

Charles Christopher Parry, MD and botanist

(1823-1890) Charles Christopher Parry was a British botanist who moved to the United States and studied medicine. While at Columbia he met future colleagues Asa Gray, John Torrey and George Engelmann. He relocated to Iowa and started a medical practice. Like many doctors of his day, treatments for illnesses were often found in serums made from plants. Through this aspect of medicine, he  reaized that his greater interests lie in botany and the stillness of the natural setting.

He was part of the Mexican Boundary Survey of 1849 stationed at the Mexican border in California, contributing a wealth of specimens over the next three years to his leader, Major Emory, and for the survey in general. After this he served as botanist for the US Department of Agriculture from 1869-1871.

Later in his life he traveled extensively in Colorado became an expert in the plant life eventually being dubbed "The King of Colorado Botany". He traveled to other far-flung locations throughout the West, studying and collecting, amassing over 30,000 specimens over the course of his lifetime.

He was fond of hiking and climbing in the Rocky Mountains, where he studied the stunted but specialized plants that grow only at the highest elevations above the treeline. One of the highest peaks in the state was named for him, Mt. Parry.

Associated Plants