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David Douglas

Posted by Richard Conniff on June 25, 2012

Today’s the birthday of the pioneering Scottish botanist David Douglas (1799-1834), from whom the Douglas fir gets its common name.

On an 1824 expedition to North America, he described the sitka spruce, Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and many other species, at one point writing home to his sponsor, “You will think I manufacture pines at my pleasure.”

On a later expedition to Hawaii, he died, age 35, when he fell into a pit dug by the islanders to trap wild cattle.  He was trapped with a bull that also fell into the pit and it gored him to death.


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