Thursday, July 16, 2020

1787 Geo Washington (1732-1799) visits John Bartram on the Schuykill River

On 10 June and 2 Sept. 1787, George Washington had visited the famous botanical gardens on the west bank of the Schuylkill River three miles southwest of Philadelphia that John Bartram, Jr., had received from his father in 1771 (Diaries, 5:166–67, 183).

For George Washington’s attempt to obtain a list of plants available from that garden,( see Tobias Lear to Clement Biddle, 2 Oct. 1789.) 

The list of March 1792 describes the plants from Bartram’s
garden that arrived at Mount Vernon in early April 1792 (see George Augustine Washington to George Washington, 15 April 1792).

For George Washington’s reordering of the plants which had not survived, see Directive for John Christian Ehlers, 7 Nov. 1792.

List of Plants from John Bartram’s Nursery, March 1792
Catalogue of Trees, Shrubs & Plants, of Jno. Bartram.

1. Rhododendron maximum
Evergreen, large maximum rose coloured blossoms. [“Mountain laurel,” great laurel, rosebay]
2. Ulex europeus
Embellished with sweet scented flowers, of a fine yellow colour. [Furze]
3 Hypericum kalmianum
Profusely garnished with fine Gold coloured blossoms. [“Shrub St. John’s wort”]
4. H[ypericum]. Angustifolium
Evergreen; adorned with fine yellow flowers.
5. Taxus procumbens
Evergreen; of a splendid full green throughout the year—red berries. [Yew]
6. Buxus aureis [aureus]
Elegant, call’d gilded box.
7. Daphne mezerium [mezereum]
An early flowering sweet scented little shrub. [Mezereon, paradise plant]
8 Calycanthus floridus
Odoriferous, its blossoms scented like the Pine apple. [“Sweet Shrub of Carolina,” Carolina allspice]
9. Berberis canadensis
Berries of a perfect coral red [barberry]
E. 10. Æsculus hippocastanum
A magnificent flowering & shady Tree. [Horse chestnut]
11. Evonimus atrapurpurous
Its fruit of a bright crimson in the Autumn (burning bush). [Euonymus atropurpureus]
12. Fothergilla gardeni[i]
Early in blossom; flowers in spikes, white & delicate. [Dwarf fothergilla, dwarf witchalder]
13. Franklinia alatamaha
Flowers large, white & fragrant—native of Georgia. [Franklin tree]
14 Baccharis
In autumn silvered over with white silky down.
15. Laurus estivalis [æstivalis]
Aromatic & beautified with coral red berries. [Bay tree]
16. Kalmia angustifolia (with the Gaultheria [procumbens], or mountain tea [wintergreen])
Evergreen; garnished with crimson speckled flowers. [“Thyme leav’d Kalmia,” lambkill, sheep laurel]
17 Ilex angustifolia
Evergreen, new. [Holly]
18. Dirca palustris
Early in bloom; singular—(call’d Leather wood). [“Leather Bark”]
19. Thuja occidentalis
A handsome evergreen Tree; beautiful foliage, & odoriferous. [American arborvitae, white cedar]
20. Zanthorhiza apiifolia
Singular flowers early: its root affords a splendid transparent yellow dye (call’d Yellow root, in Carola). [Xanthorhiza simplicissima]
21. Jeffersonia egrilla
Foliage of deep splendid green, & embellished with a delicate plumage of white flowers (call’d Iron wood.)
22. Magnolia tripetala4
Foliage ample, expansive & light, plumed with large white flowers, which are succeeded by large crimson strobile. [“Umbrella Tree”]
23. Magnolia acuminata
Erect with a pyramidal head, the dry strobile odoriferous. [“Cucumber Tree”]
24. Halesia tetraptera [or carolina]
The flowers abundant, white, of the shape of little bells. [Carolina silverbell]
25. Viburnum opulifolium
of singular beauty in flower and fruit.
26 Viburnum Arboreum
very shewy in flower. fruit eatable.
27. Viburnum Alnifolium
handsome flowering shrub. [Viburnum lantanoides; hobble bush]
28. Cupressus disticha
stature majestic, foliage most delicate, wood of a fine yellow colour, odoriferous & incorruptible. [“Bald Cyprus”]
29. Sorbus sativa6
Its fruit pear & apple shaped, as large & well tasted when mellow.
30. Carpinus ostrya
handsome form, dress becoming, fruit singular. (Hop tree). [“Horn Beam”]
31. Sorbus aucuparia
Foliage elegant, embellished with umbells of coral red berries. [European mountain ash]
32. Acer striatum
singularly beautiful; the younger branches inscribed with silvery lines, or scrawls, on a dark purpleish green ground. [Acer pensylvanicum; striped maple, moosewood]
33. Acer glaucum
beautiful foliage. spreading & shady—(Silver-leaf’d Maple).
34. Acer sacharinum
A stately Tree, in his native forests—(Sugar Maple)
35. Acer platanoides
graceful stature, full of asscending branches, foliage & flower elegant, casts a grateful shade on the Lawn. [Norway maple]
36. Stewartia malachodendron
Floriferous, the flowers large & white embellished with a large tuft of black or purple threads in their centre. [Silky stewartia or stuartia]
37. Clethra alnifolia
Flowers abundant in spikes, exceedingly sweet scented. [“Clethra,” sweet pepperbush]
38. Styrax grandifolium
a most charming flowering shrub, blossoms snow white & of the most grateful scent; (called Snow-drop tree). [Snowbell, storax]
39. Philadelphus coronarius
a sweet flowering shrub, (call’d Mock Orange)
40. Philadelphus inodorus
his robe a silvery flower’d mantle.
41. Pinus Strobus
Magnificent! he presides in the evergreen Groves (white pine).
42. Pinus communis
a stately tree, foliage of a Seagreen colour, & exhibits a good appearance whilst young. (Scotch Fir).
43. Pinus Larix
elegant figure & foliage. [“Larch Tree”]
44. Thuja orientalis
Foliage pleasing. [Oriental arborvitae]
45 Robinia villosa
a gay shrub, enrobed with plumed leaves & roseat flowers. [“Peach Blossom Acacia”]
46. Pinus balsamea
a tree of pleasing figure, delicate foliage, evergreen, & affords fragrant & medicinal balsam (Balm of Gilead Fir).
47. Pinus abies virginiana
A Stately evergreen Tree, his foliage of delicate appearance; the wood useful and durable, & of great value (Hemlock Spruce).
48. Cornus mascula [or mas]
flowers early, the fruit oblong of the size of a plum, of a fine crimson colour, and wholsome pleasant eating. [Cornelian cherry]
49. Prunus cerasus, flore roseo
more or less according to the stock; a very beautiful flowering tree, its blushing blossoms double—(double flowering cherry).
50. Prunus maritima
flowers early, fruit of a dark purple sweet & pleasant eating. [“Beach or Sea-side-Plumb”]
51. Prunus missisipi
Fruit of the largest size, oval; of a perfect deep crimson colour, possesses an agreeable taste, & affords an animating marmolade. [“Crimson Plumb”]
52. Prunus chicasa
Early flowering, very fruitful; the fruit nearly round, cleft, red, purple, yellow, of an inticing look, most agreeable taste & wholsome. [“Chicasaw Plumb”]
53. Glycine frutescens
A rambling florobundant climber; the blossoms in large pendant clusters, of a fine celestial blue, well adapted for covering arbors. [Wisteria frutescens; “Kidney Bean Tree,” wisteria]
54 Æsculus pavia
[Red buckeye]
55. Æ. ″ ″ varietas
their light & airy foliage, crimson & variegated flowers, present a gay & mirthful appearance; continually, whilst in bloom visited by the brilliant thundering Humingbird. The root of this Tree is esteemed preferable to soap, for scouring & cleansing woolen Cloths.
56. Æsculus virginica
beautiful foliage Flowers pale yellow. [Yellow horse chestnut]
57. Æsculus alba
The branches terminate with long erect spikes of sweet white flowers.
58. Juniperus sabina
Evergreen. [Savin]
59. Evonimus americanus
evergreen, presents a fine appearance in Autumn, with crimson fruit. [Euonymus americanus; spindle tree]
60. Prunus Laurus cerasus
A beautiful evergreen tree of Europe; its green leaves are said to possess a dangerous deleterious quality. [Prunus laurocerasus; cherry laurel, English laurel]
61. Yucca filamentosa
beautiful ornamental evergreen [Adam’s needle]
62. Yucca gloriosa
flowering plants. [Spanish dagger]
63. Myrica gale
possesses an highly aromatic, and very agreeable scent. [“Bog gale,” sweet gale, bog myrtle]
64. Platanus orientalis
a famous tree celebrated for the beauty of his foliage, expansion, and grateful shade he affords. [Oriental sycamore, oriental plane]
65. Amorpha fruticosa
[Bastard indigo]
66. Amorpha cærulia [cœrulea]
Foliage light and delicately pennated, garnished with flowers of a fine [Bastard indigo]
 67. Salix variegata
Silver blotched willow.
68 Mespilus nivea
An early flowering shrub, of uncommon elegance (Snowy mespilus). [Medlar]
69. Mesp. pubescens
Somewhat resembling the foregoing; but of less stature & the flowers not so large, nor of so clean a white: both produce very pleasant fruit.
70. Mesp: pusilla
flowers early, the blossoms white & abundant; exhibits a fine appearance.
71. Mesp. prunifolia
Presents a good appearance, when all red with its clusters of berries. [Aronia prunifolia; chokeberry]
72. Colutia [Colutea] arborescens
exhibits a good appearance, foliage pinnated, of a soft pleasant green, colour, interspersed with the large yellow papillionacious flowers, in succession. [Bladder senna]
73. Rhus Italicum
74. Mespilus pyracantha
a beautiful flowerg shrub, evergreen in mild seasons. [Pyracantha coccinea; firethorn]
75. Itea virginiana [or virginica]
a handsome flowerg shrub. [Virginia sweetspire, Virginia willow, tasselwhite]
76. Cornus alba
white berried swamp Dogwood.
77. Prunus divaricata
diciduous, flowers white in raumes [racemes], stems diverging & branches pendulous. [Prunus cerasifera divaricata; cherry plum]
78. Hydrangia [Hydrangea] arborescens
Ornamental in shruberies, flowers white in large corymbes.
79. Andromeda axil[l]aris
Evergreen. [Bog rosemary]
80 Acer pumilum
handsome shrub for coppices, foliage singular, younger shoots red. [Dwarf maple]
81. Amygdalus persica, flore pleno
of great splendour & amiable presence. [Prunus persica, flore pleno; double-flowered peach]
82 Magnolia glauca
charming—the milk-white roseate blossom possesses an animating fragrance. [Magnolia virginiana; “Rose Laurel,” sweet bay, swamp magnolia]
83. Sambucus rubra
early flowering and handsome; its coral red berries in large clusters, ripe abt midsummer. [Sambucus canadensis; American elder, sweet elder]
84 Rubus odoratus
foliage beautiful; flowers of the figure, colour & fragrance of the rose. [Flowering raspberry, thimbleberry]
85. Rosa Pennsylvanica flor: pleno
flowers monthly from May ’till Novembr [Rosa palustris; swamp rose]
86. Lonicera inodora
Twine’s round, & ascends trees spreading its bloom over their boughs. [Honeysuckle]
87. Ribes oxyacanthoides
fruit small & smooth. [“Prickly Gooseberry”]
88. Populus balsamifera
foliage beautiful, its buds in the spring replete with an odoriferous balsam. [Balsam poplar]
89. Crategus [Cratægus] aria
foliage beautiful; silvered with white cottony down, underside. [Hawthorn]
90. Pt[e]lea trifoliata
singular, (call’d the foil tree) [“Trefoil Tree,” hop tree]
91. Lonicera symphoricarpos
singular; appears well in winter when garnished with clusters of red berries. [“Indian Currants”]
92. Laurus nobilis
Sweet Bay, a celebrated Evergreen—leaves odoriferous. [“Red Bay,” bay laurel, sweet bay]
93. Rhus triphyllum
Singular early flowering shrub. [“Poison Oak,” sumac]
94. Citisus laburnum
foliage delicate, embellished with pendant clusters of splendid yellow papillionacious flowers. [Cytisus anagyroides laburnum, Laburnum anagyroides; golden-chain]
95. Periploca græca
climbing up trees & shrubs; flowers very singular. [Silk vine]
96. Hibiscus coccineus
a most elegant flowering plant; flowers large, of a splendid crimson colour. [Scarlet rosemallow]
97. Bignonia crucigera
A climber, mounting to the tops of trees & buildings; flowers abundant. [“Cross Vine,” trumpet flower]
98. Bignonia semper virens
A climber as famous, at least for the richness of his robe; flowers of a splendid golden yellow, & odoriferous; very proper for covering arbors &c. [“Yellow Jasmin”]
99. Betula (alnus) maritima
singular; retains his verdure very late in the autumn. [“Sea side Alder”]
100. Amygdalus pumila, flor: pleno
A most elegant flowering shrub; ornimental in vases for Court yards &c. [Prunus pumila, flore pleno; sand or dwarf cherry, dwarf doubleflowering almond]
101. Arundo donax
Maiden Cane.
102. Callicarpa americana
Very shewy & pleasing; the flowers of a delicate incarnate hue, & vast clusters of purple berries. [“Bermudas Mulberry,” French mulberry, American beautyberry]
103. Syringa persica
(Persian Lilac) elegant; its flexile stems terminate with heavy panicles of purple blossoms, of animating fragrance.
104. Mimosa virgata
Singularly beautiful in its plumed foliage—native of Pearl Island near the Misisipi.
105. Punica granatum flor. plen:
the figure & splendour of its flowers exceed description. [Pomegranate]
106. Aristolochia sipho.
Climbs & spreads over trees & other supports, to a great height & distance: flowers of singular figure; its abundant large leaves, present it as a vine well adapted for covering arbors. [Aristolochia macrophylla; Dutchman’s pipe]

Common names for each plant (when missing from the descriptive entry), modern classifications (if different), alternative classifications, and corrected spellings are given in square brackets. Common names in quotation marks are taken from Bartram’s Catalogue of American Trees, Shrubs, and Herbacious Plants: Most of Which Are Now Growing, and Produce Ripe Seeds in John Bartram’s Garden, Near Philadelphia. The Seed and Growing Plants of Which Are Disposed Of on the Most Reasonable Terms (Philadelphia, 1784).

“List of Plants from John Bartram’s Nursery, March 1792,” Founders Online, National Archives, [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 10, 1 March 1792 – 15 August 1792, ed. Robert F. Haggard and Mark A. Mastromarino. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002, pp. 175–183.]