Thomas Nuttall

Thomas Nuttall

(1786-1859) Thomas Nuttall was an English botanist and zoologist who came to the United Stated in 1808. He went on the Astor Expedition in 1810 with John Bradbury who was collecting plants for a British botanical garden. They left the expedition and traveled the path up the Missouri River that Lewis and Clark had followed. Many of the specimens collected by Lewis and Clark were lost and some collected by Nuttall and Bradbury were therefore unknown to science. Nuttall returned to London and organized his plant collection, conferring with other scientists on his findings.

He returned to America in 1815 and after further field research, published The Genera of North American Plants in 1818. He became a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1823 and curator of the botanical gardens at Harvard in 1825. He had also studied ornithology and published a large volume on that subject. He traveled to the West again, from Wyoming and Utah to Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.

From 1836-1841 Nuttall worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He contributed to a Flora of North America being published by Asa Gray and John Torrey. His last publication was North American Sylva: Trees not described by F. A. Michaux included all trees in North America in 1841. He returned to England where he died in 1859.

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