Tuatara: Volume 13, Issue 3, November 1965
Botany of the Southern Zone — Exploration to 1843
Botany of the Southern Zone
Exploration to 1843
Beyond the shores of the southern continents, beyond South America, Australia and Africa, a great belt of waters encircles the globe. In the north it merges with the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans; to the south it breaks on the frozen coasts and ice-barriers of Antarctica, the seventh continent; and only where the Antarctic Peninsula projects more than three degrees beyond the Antarctic Circle and to within 500 miles of South America is there any interruption in this mighty expanse of sea. This is the Southern Ocean, and from its surface emerge the islands, tiny points of land beseiged in the waste of waters. South-eastwards of Tierra del Fuego and the Falklands, and forming a great arc round to the Antarctic Peninsula, lie South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkneys and South Shetlands; south of the Atlantic Ocean lies Bouvet; the Crozets, Kerguelen, Prince Edward, Marion and Heard lie south of the Indian Ocean; and southwards of New Zealand are the Aucklands, Antipodes, Campbell, Macquarie and the Ballenys. Many of these are remnants of great volcanoes, invaded and reduced by the sea; some are still active; some were sculptured by glaciers never seen by man, while others in higher latitudes are only now emerging from the ice age. It was to explore this region — the southern extremity of South America, the Southern Ocean and its islands, and the Antarctic Continent itself — that the voyages described in the following pages were made.
In the Southern Spring of 1520 Ferdinand Magellan discovered his All Saints Strait, and on November 28 sailed out into the Great South Sea. Fifty-eight years later Francis Drake, forced south after entering the Pacific by the same route, found ‘that the Atlanticke Ocean and the South Sea meete in a most large and free scope’. And when, in 1616, Schouten and Le Maire doubled a cape which they named Hoorn after one of their ships, a second pathway was pioneered to the Pacific. These discoveries opened a way to the western coast of America and the East Indies, and an ever increasing stream of navigators converged upon Tierra del Fuego, and took what shelter they could find in the channels and page 141 coves of its inhospitable shores; and sometimes they gathered plants. John Winter, Drake's vice-admiral, had collected an antiscorbutic (Winters Bark) in the Straits of Magellan in 1578 from a tree which was later named Drimys winteri by the Forsters. But the first true botanical collection which we know of from the Straits of Magellan was made by George Handisyd about 1690, possibly while surgeon on the East Indiaman Modena. His collection is in the eighth volume of Sir Hans Sloane's herbarium at the British Museum. In the named list given by Middleton (1909) the collections from Tierra del Fuego, Port Falkland, Elizabeth Island, Hawkins Island, Port Famine, Batchelor's River, Cape Quod and Port Gee, number 5 lichens, 2 ferns and 39 flowering plants. Thus although subantarctic plants were not described in the Species Plantarum of 1753, they were not unknown at the time of Linnaeus. But with the impetus given to botanical investigations by the new classification system, and the growing interest of the European nations in the far south, it was not long before Linnaeus's pupils were taking ship with the great navigators to investigate these regions thoroughly.
Bougainville and Pernetty; 1763 - 1764
Louis Antoine de Bougainville was aide-de-camp to Montcalm at Quebec, but later transferred to the navy and obtained permission from the French government to establish, at his own expense, a settlement on the strategically important Iles Malouines or Falkland Islands (Robertson, 1948). He sailed on 8 September, 1763, and established his colony at Port Louis in Berkeley Sound, in the East Falklands. The naturalist with the expedition, Antoine Joseph Pernetty, spent from 2 February to 8 April in a country which was unexplored scientifically, but his only contribution to our knowledge of the natural history appears to be his chapter of jottings about a few of the more obvious animals and plants (which are given colloquial names) and some poor illustrations (Pernetty, 1770). Indeed George Forster (1777) — or was it his father — remarked rather unkindly of an illustration of sea-lions: ‘but his figure, which is very inaccurate, is perfectly in the style of all his other drawings, and corresponds with the truth and accuracy of his writings.’
Bougainville returned to France for further supplies, and arrived back at Port Louis in February, 1765, but without a naturalist. Before returning home a trip was made to the Straits of Magellan for firewood (Robertson, op. cit.).
Bougainville and Commerson; 1766 - 1769
Bougainville's greatest voyage began in November, 1766, when he left France yet again, to cede the Falkland Islands to Spain and page 142 then to sail round the world by way of the East Indies. He took with him Philibert Commerson (aged 38), who was an expert ichthyologist, the first of the great botanical explorers of the far south, and a correspondent of Linnaeus and A. de Jussieu.
Bougainville, on La Boudeuse was at Port Louis from 23 March to 2 June, 1767. Unfortunately the Falklands were again denied a botanist as the store-ship L'Etoile on which Commerson sailed was delayed and only rejoined La Boudeuse later at Rio de Janeiro. We must be content with Bougainville's general comments on the soil, and on those plants and animals which he noticed at Port Louis.
The Straits of Magellan (Fig. 1) were explored during December and January, 1767-68. After passing through the First Narrows the ships anchored in Boucault's Bay which is east of Gregory Bay, and here ‘M. de Commerson and some of our gentlemen were busy in picking up plants; several Patagonians immediately began to search for them too, and brought what species they saw us take up.’ (Bougainville, transl. Forster, 1772). Landings were made at Elizabeth Island on the 12th, at Bahia Duclos on the 14th and Cape Froward on the 16th; on the 17th the expedition returned a little eastward and anchored in Bougainville Bay which became the headquarters for two weeks, with a shore camp. ‘M. de Commerson accompanied by the Prince of Nassau, profited of such days for botanising. He had obstacles of every kind to surmount, yet this wild soil had the merit of being new to him, and the Straits of Magalhaens have filled his herbals with a great number of unknown and interesting plants’ (Bougainville, op. cit.). A small party was sent to the southern shore of the Strait, and went westward as far as the Bay and Port of Cascade before returning to the north shore. It is not clear whether Commerson accompanied this party, but the Prince of Nassau did so and may have made collections.
The ships left Bougainville Bay on December 31, passed Cape Froward and anchored in Port Gallant, where they were confined for three weeks, and where further collections were made. There were no further landings between here and the western end of the Straits.
In Bougainville's narrative (1771) a clear distinction is made between the eastern grasslands, the central forest, and the barren western region in the Straits of Magellan; but his map shows trees from near Cape Negro in the east to the western entrance of the straits. In Forster's translation (1772) the map is brought into conformity with the text, and shows forest only from Cape Negro in the east to near the Jeronimo Channel in the west.
Commerson was not destined to return to France or to see the results of his labours made known to science. He left the expedition at Mauritius at the end of 1768 and spent the next five years page 143 collecting there, and in Madagascar and Réunion. He died at Mauritius in 1773, aged 45 (Oliver, 1909).
Because the first gatherings he had made at La Plata and Brazil had been lost on the way to France, Commerson had kept the remainder of his collections with him (Oliver, op. cit.), and these together with sketches and draft descriptions were forwarded to Paris on his death and were used by A. L. de Jussieu in his Genera Plantarum of 1789. Commerson's collections remained the main source of botanical knowledge of the Straits of Magellan for some sixty years, and he was the first to define such genera as Hebe and Ourisia.
Cook, Banks and Solander; 1768 - 1771
In the eighteenth century there were two opportunities to calculate the distance between sun and earth, by timing the passage of the planet Venus across the disc of the sun. The first observation in 1761 had not been well organised, and in 1767 the Royal Society successfully urged King George III to support a plan for widespread observations of the transit of 1769, and emphasised the value of observations in the southern hemisphere (Cameron, 1952). To this end His Majesty's barque Endeavour was fitted out and ordered to Tahiti under the command of Lieutenant James Cook.
Cook's and Banks's journals of the voyage are now available to us in their entirety (Beaglehole, 1955, 1962), the latter replacing Hooker's heavily pruned edition of 1896. Britten (1906) concluded ‘that Solander kept no journal; or at least that, if he did, it has not been preserved.’
The Endeavour left England on August 25, 1768, and after calling at Madeira and Rio de Janeiro was off the north coast of Tierra del Fuego on 11 January, 1769. For some three days Cook battled unsuccessfully against adverse winds and currents to take Endeavour through the Straits of Le Maire between Staten Island and Cape St. Diego. Finally on the 14th he took shelter under the northern coast of Tierra del Fuego between Cape St. Diego and Cape St. Vincent (Fig. 2). Here, while Cook plied back and forth off-shore. Banks and Solander landed in Vincents Bay (now Thetis Bay).*
‘I found about a hundred plants (wrote Banks) though we were not ashore above four hours. Of these I may say every one was new, and entirely different from what either of us had before seen.’ But Cook noted: ‘At 9 they returned on board bringing with them several Plants, Flowers, etc., most of them unknown in Europe and in that alone consisted their whole value …’ (Beaglehole, 1955). Cook did not yet have the sympathies of a Bougainville or a d'Urville for natural historians.
* Cameron (1952) states that this landing was on Staten Island, and the error can be traced to Hooker's editing of Banks's journal, where the passage given is: ‘The Captain stood into a bay just within Cape St. Vincent (Staten Island) and while the ship …’. The equivalent passage in the journal is: ‘… into a bay just without Cape St. Vincent, and while the ship …’. Thetis Bay is not mentioned in the itinerary of landing localities given by Groves (1962).
The journal notes by Banks and Cook on the plants seen in Tierra del Fuego are mainly comments on the trees as sources of timber, and on edible plants such as those with berries or those of value as antiscorbutics.
Banks's specimens are held in the herbarium of the British Museum and the present state of the collection has been described by Groves (1962).
The collections from the two localities on Tierra del Fuego were described by Solander in a manuscript of 133 pages, entitled ‘Primitiae Florae Terrae del Fuego sive Catalogus Plantarum prope Fretum le Maire. A.C. Mdcclxix diebus 14-20 Jan. collectorum.’ This manuscript remained unpublished after Solander's death in 1782 and may still be seen in the Library of the British Museum (Natural History). Descriptions or comments are given for 104 species of flowering plants and about 40 Cryptogams. A list of the plants collected is also in the original of Banks's journal and in Beaglehole (1962), and as far as I know this is still the only species list available for the eastern tip of Tierra del Fuego.
Cook, the Forsters and Sparrman; 1772 - 1775
* These were only the first of six deaths in Banks's party. Buchan died of another epileptic fit in Tahiti, and Reynolds, Parkinson and Sporing died of dysentery in the East Indies. Only Banks, Solander and the two white servants survived the voyage (Cameron, op. cit.).
|Discoverer:||Mean Latitude:||Mean Longitude:|
|Pacific Ocean Sector:|
|Bounty Is.||Bligh, 1788||47° 42′S.||179° 05′E.|
|Snares Is.||Vancouver, 1791||48° 01′S.||116° 34′E.|
|Antipodes Is.||Waterhouse, 1800||49° 41′S.||178° 48′E.|
|Auckland Is.||Bristow, 1806||50° 45′S.||166° 10′E.|
|Campbell Is.||Hasselbourgh, 1810||52° 32′S.||169° 08′E.|
|Macquarie Is.||Hasselbourgh, 1810||54° 37′S.||158° 54′E.|
|Balleny Is.||Balleny, 1839||67°S.||164°E.|
|Indian Ocean Sector:|
|Prince Edward and Marion Is.||Marion du Fresne, 1772||46° 50′S.||38°E.|
|Crozet Is.||Marion du Fresne, 1772||46° 30′S.||51° 50′E.|
|Kerguelen Is.||Kerguelen, 1772||49° 30′S.||69° 50′E.|
|Heard Is.||Heard, 1853||53°S.||73° 30′E.|
|Atlantic Ocean Sector:|
|Falkland Is.||Davis, 1592||51° 50′S.||59° 30′W.|
|South Georgia||Cook, 1775||54° 20′S.||37°W.|
|Bouvet Is.||Bouvet, 1739||54° 26′S.||3° 24′E.|
|South Sandwich Is.||Cook, 1775||58°S.||27°W.|
|South Orkney Is.||Powell, 1821||60° 43′S.||45° 36′W.|
|South Shetland Is.||Smith, 1819||62°S.||58°W.|
This was surely Cook's greatest voyage. His further discoveries in the Pacific were important enough, but it was his circumnavigation of the Antarctic, and his great probes southwards in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic sectors which made this voyage unique, and revolutionised knowledge of the southern hemisphere. Men now knew that if a southern continent existed, it lay far to the south in frozen solitude, beyond a rampart of seemingly impenetrable floating ice, to which — as Cook himself suggested — it had given birth.
From Capetown Cook sailed southwards and on January 17, 1773, made the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle. Next day the Resolution attained 67° 15' S, 39° 35′S E before turning northwards to search in vain for any land in the high latitudes between there and Dusky Sound, New Zealand.
After wintering in the Pacific Cook embarked on his second Antarctic cruise, this time to the south of the Pacific Ocean. He left Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, on November 24, 1773, page 147 and sailed south eastwards, crossing the Antarctic Circle for the second time on December 21, and next day reaching 67° 27', 141° 55′W.
Bitter weather forced Cook back to the north, but further to the east he returned to the attack and on January 30, 1774, reached a latitude of 71° 10', in longitude 106° 54' W. This was Cook's farthest south, and, after noting that ‘we could not proceed one inch further …’ he retired northwards for yet another sweep through the Pacific.
The final stage of Cook's circumnavigation of the Antarctic regions began on November 10, 1774, when the Resolution sailed eastwards from Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand. She was in sight of Cape Deseado on December 17, and from there coasted down the desolate southern shores of Tierra del Fuego, anchoring on December 20 in a capacious and island-studded sound which Cook called Christmas Sound (Fig. 2). ‘Barren as these rocks appeared, yet almost every plant which we gathered on them was new to us …’ wrote George Forster. But the philosophers (even the elder Forster) enjoyed their Christmas. ‘It was certainly true (wrote Sparrman), that, with goose-hunting on Christmas Eve and the dinner on Christmas Day, we did not much advance the cause of botany; but then (and we see his point of view) it was not in the power of the botanists to choose the place for the digression …’
The Resolution left Christmas Sound on December 28, and while passing through the Straits of Le Maire a boat was sent into Good Success Bay to search for the lost Adventure. There is no evidence that the botanists went ashore here. On December 31, the ship was anchored between the north coast of Staten Island and a small off-shore islet. This latter was named New Year's Island and on it the botanists made their only landings and collections, although New Year's Harbour on Staten Island was investigated by a boat's crew.
Cook sailed eastwards from Staten Island on January 3, 1775, and on January 13 sighted an unknown land. But the hope that this, at last, was the coast of an Antarctic continent was dispelled in a few days, and the new land was called the Isle of Georgia. On January 17, a brief landing was made at Possession Bay on the north coast by Cook, the Forsters, Sparrman and a midshipman, and Cook described the landscape thus: ‘The inner parts of the Country was not less savage and horrible: the Wild rocks raised their lofty summits till they were lost in the Clouds and the Vallies laid buried in everlasting Snow. Not a tree or shrub was to be seen, no not even big enough to make a tooth-pick. I landed in three different places ——’. And Forster noted, ‘… we found two species of plants; one was the grass which grows page 148 plentifully on the New Year's Isles (Dactylis glomerata)1 and the other a kind of burnet (Sanguisorba)2.’ Cook also wrote, ‘Our Botanists found here only three plants, the one is a coarse strong-bladed grass which grows in tufts1, Wild Burnett2, and a Plant like Moss which grows on the rocks3.
From South Georgia Cook sailed southwards and reached 60° 04′ S, 29° 23′S W on January 28. On returning northwards further to the east, he discovered the southern islands of the South Sandwich group before continuing eastwards in high latitudes to complete his circumnavigation before making for Capetown.
The botanical results of this voyage relevant to Tierra del Fuego are to be found in two works. In 1776 the Forsters gave descriptions of all the new genera collected, and of those from the Tierra del Fuego gatherings. Embothrium, Drimys and Phyllachne are still recognised. In a later publication George Forster (1787) devoted 35 pages to detailed descriptions of the Tierra del Fuego collections, and of 40 species of flowering plants described, 18 were considered new. The Forster specimens are now scattered through at least twelve herbaria in the following centres: London (British Museum, Linnean Society, Kew), Liverpool, Goettingen, Kiel, Berlin, Paris, Leningrad, Moscow, Uppsala and Philadelphia (Carolin, 1963).
Another collector on Cook's second voyage was William Anderson (aged 22), surgeon's mate on the Resolution, who vexed the Forsters by concealing his discoveries of shells and plants (Beaglehole, 1961). His collections from both Cook's second and third voyages finally came into the hands of Joseph Banks.
Cook and Anderson; 1776 - 1780
Cook's final voyage with the Resolution and Discovery (Captain C. Clerke) was made in search of a north-west passage. William Anderson, promoted to surgeon on the Resolution, made valuable natural history collections until, after a year's sickness, he died in the North Pacific in August 1778. David Nelson from Kew was also sent, as Banks wrote, ‘in my service for the purpose of collecting plants and seeds and was eminently successful in the object of his mission’ (Cameron, 1952). But poor Nelson — hortulano meritissimi as Robert Brown styled him — was perhaps too successful, as he was later sent with Bligh to collect the breadfruit seedlings, and although he survived the open boat vovage, died of fever at Timor.
1 Poa flabellata.
2 Acaena adscendens ssp. georgiae-australis.
3 Possibly a species of Colobanthus or even a Polytrichum, but no specimens con be found (Greene, 1964).
Our only concern is with the collections made at Kerguelen in the early stages of the voyage. From December 25 to 29, 1776, the ships were at Christmas Harbour at the north western tip of the island and the night of the 29th was spent at Port Palliser a little to the south-east. Although Cook and some officers went ashore at the latter anchorage there is no evidence that Anderson did so.
In Cook's narrative (1784) Anderson contributes a brief two pages of notes on the vegetation at Christmas Harbour. The paucity of species, the lack of any shrubs, and the predominance of a ‘saxifrage’1 are noted. ‘In short the whole catalogue of plants does not exceed sixteen or eighteen, including some sorts of moss, and a beautiful species of lichen …’2
Hooker (1847b) wrote of the Kerguelen ‘cabbage’ — ‘Specimens together with a manuscript description under the name of Pringlea were deposited in the collection formed by Mr Anderson, in the British Museum, where they still exist.’ But in 1879 Hooker noted that, ‘the specimens obtained by Mr Anderson were deposited in Sir Joseph Banks's Herbarium, which subsequently became the property of the nation, and is preserved in the British Museum. Not having been poisoned, all the Kerguelen Island plants were, when I examined them in 1843 much injured by insects and many were entirely destroyed.’
Colnett and Menzies; 1787
On several occasions J. D. Hooker wrote that Archibald Menzies' collections in the Tierra del Fuego region were made when he sailed with Vancouver in 1791-96. This is incorrect as Vancouver made no landings in Tierra del Fuego. Menzies (aged 32) sailed as a surgeon in October, 1786, with Captain Colnett (who had been a midshipman on Cook's second voyage) on a voyage of commercial discovery to the north west coast of America. A stay was made at New Year's Harbour, Staten Island, from January 26 to February 12, 1787, in order to land men and stores for a sea-lion fishery, and here Menzies made a small collection (Godley, 1960). This material was later used by Hooker when preparing the Flora Antarctica, wherein three species of flowering plants, two ferns, four mosses, ten liverworts, one seaweed and ten lichens are mentioned as collected by Menzies on Staten Island. A specimen of Hamadryas magellanica still exists at the British Museum, and there are probably others there also.
1 Azorella selago, HK.f.
2 Neuropogon taylori, HK.f. (Hooker, 1879).
Malaspina and Née; 1789 - 1794
The prestige and advantages derived from the voyages of Bougainville and Cook were evident to Spain, the third great sea-power, and in 1789 an ambitious expedition was prepared to emulate the British and French. In the opinion of the Spaniards no better equipped expedition had ever set sail. The command was given to Alessandro Malaspina, a brilliant Italian who had entered the service of Spain in 1774, and who sailed in the Descubierta. The second vessel, the Atrevida, was commanded by José Bustamente. Scientific observations were to take first place for Malaspina wrote — ‘E mia particolare intenzione di non fare come principale oggetto del viaggio le scoperte. Sarà nostra cura di studiare le storia naturale in tutta la sua estensione inclusa la litologia —’. The savants of Spain contributed their advice, and from Pavia the great Lazzaro Spallanzani sent fourteen pages of notes on botany, zoology and mineralogy. Three artists were taken, together with Antonio de Pineda as naturalist, and Luis Née, a naturalised Frenchman, as botanist.
The expedition left Cadiz on July 30, 1789, and after calling at Montevideo and Port Desire (Southern Argentine) anchored in Port Egmont on the north coast of the West Falklands from December 18 to 23. A few of the obvious plants are mentioned in Malaspina's journal. After rounding Cape Horn the vessels were at San Carlos (Ancud) in north Chiloé in February, 1790, when Luis Née ‘vagando con singolare attivita ora da una parte ora dall’ altra —'. At Valparaiso the expedition was joined by Tadeo Haenke, a German botanist who had missed the boat at Cadiz. Then followed explorations north to Alaska, across to the Philippines, south to Dusky Sound1 (New Zealand), on to Port Jackson (Sydney) and from there across the Pacific to Callao, and round Cape Horn back to Port Egmont. The expedition remained here from January 2 to 20, 1794, and arrived at Cadiz via Montevideo on September 21.
1 Hooker (1847a) wrote of Metrosideros lucida, the New Zealand southern rata: ‘I am at a loss to conceive how the specimens came into the possession of Feliz (sic) Nee, from whose collection Cavanilles figured and decribed the plant under the name of Metros. umbellata a native of Port Jackson. Apparently Hooker did not know that Nee had visited New Zealand. Presumably the southern rata specimens collected at Dusky Sound became mixed with the Port Jackson collection.
The novelties which Née had collected in the Falkland Islands were described by Antonio Cavanilles, Professor of Botany at Madrid. The fifth volume of his Icones et Descriptiones Plantarum contains the first descriptions of Oxalis enneaphylla, Carex trifida, Caltha sagittata, Azorella caespitosa and Calceolaria polyrhiza, and as this was published in 1791 Née must have sent his earlier collections back to Spain in the course of the voyage. Viola maculata was described later in the sixth volume (1801) and was presumably collected on the return visit to the Falklands. All these species are from Port Egmont. Of them Hooker (1847a) mentions only A. caespitosa, C. polyrhiza and V. maculata but adds Baccharis magellanica, as being collected by Née in the Falklands.
Freycinet and Gaudichaud; 1817 - 1820
While the three great maritime nations fought the Napoleonic wars exploration ceased in the south, but when peace finally came it was the French who were first back in the field.
M. Louis de Freycinet left Toulon on September 17, 1817, in command of L'Uranie, with Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré (aged 28) as pharmacist and botanist, and J. R. C. Quoy and J. Paul Gaimard, the two surgeons, as zoologists. The story of the voyage was published in three parts (Freycinet 1825, 1829, 1839) and the third of these is most relevant to our purpose. The route lay through the Indian Ocean and the East Indies to the Pacific, and then south to Sydney, which was reached on November 18, 1819. On Christmas Day the French efficiently evicted a convict who had stowed away on the spar-deck and set sail for South America. The ten more convicts found in the hold a few hours later had to be taken with them.
The course lay south of New Zealand, and on the morning of January 7, 1820, Campbell Island was sighted. This land, which had only been known for ten years, was unexplored scientifically, and a unique opportunity thus lay within the reach of Gaudichaud and the zoologists. But the French must have seen the island in poor visibility and mainly from the north west towards the forbidding western cliffs. ‘En générale (wrote the commander) l'aspect de stérilité de cette terre est affreux … C'est en vain que nos yeux ont cherché à découvrir des traces de végétation.’ (Freycinet, 1839). In vain, too, did one of the convicts tell of an excellent harbour on the south-east coast, where he claimed to have spent several months with a sealing party. His statement, which would have led them to Perserverance Harbour, was ignored, page 152 because of his earlier tales about the ‘savages’ and ‘tigers’ which inhabited the island. And so Freycinet sailed away to the east, and it was left to Joseph Hooker twenty years later, to gather the riches of Campbell Island for the first time.
Western Tierra del Fuego was sighted on February 5, and two days later L'Uranie anchored in Good Success Bay, only to be driven to sea again by a sudden storm before any landings were made. Freycinet moved on through the Straits of Le Maire, and entered Berkeley Sound in the East Falklands on February 14, 1820. And now his luck ran out, for L'Uranie struck a submerged reef, and was finally run ashore in the vicinity of Bougainville's ruined settlement. When Gaudichaud retrieved his cases from the hold, he found that only some 1500 specimens from Gibraltar, Teneriffe, Rio de Janeiro and New South Wales had not been submerged. He patiently set about separating the remainder from the pulp of collecting paper, and drying everything anew succeeded in salvaging a further 2500 specimens (Gaudichaud, 1826). During the next ten weeks he collected the plants in the vicinity of the camp and made observations on the vegetation. Meanwhile a trading vessel had been hired, and the expedition left for Montevideo on April 28. This vessel was later purchased, christened ‘La Physicienne’, and in it the French arrived home in early November, 1820.
In Gaudichaud's concise and valuable observations on the vegetation of the Falkland Islands (1825) he describes the general characteristics of the environment and the plants, and lists the species which he observed on the beaches, dunes, damp ground, hill slopes, and in ponds and streams. Of his collection of 128 species of algae, fungi, lichens, bryophytes, ferns and flowering plants (including some weeds), 41 were considered new. Original descriptions were given for four new species of ferns and 19 of flowering plants. Three new genera were described, Gaimardia and Pratia being based on new species, and Pernettya was recognised as distinct from Arbutus.
The complete account of the botany of the voyage was written by Gaudichaud (1826). In the first part he gave accounts of the vegetation of all localities visited, and again gave comments for the Falklands, together with a species list amplified by the inclusion of the recently published discoveries of d'Urville (1826). The second part is a list of all species collected on the voyage, including the Falkland plants. The fungi and lichens were described by Persoon, algae by Agardh and bryophytes by Schwaegrichen. An interesting list of useful plants of the Falklands is given in Freycinet (1839).
Specimens were deposited in the Natural History Museum, Paris.
Bellingshausen; 1819 - 1821
On July 16, 1819, two Russian expeditions set sail from the port of Kronstadt near St. Petersburg. The Second Squadron was to seek the north-west passage, while the First Squadron, under the command of Thaddeus Bellingshausen, sought to extend the discoveries of Cook in the Pacific and Antarctic oceans. Bellingshausen sailed in the Vostok and was supported by Lieutenant Lazarev in the Mirnyi.
The account of this remarkable voyage was not published until 1831. An English translation of the section on Macquarie Island was given in McNab (1907), but a complete translation did not appear until 1945 (Ed. F. Debenham) and on it this account has been based.
The instructions from the Imperial Admiralty Department to Bellingshausen reflect the naval interest of that day in masts and spars and other timber. The botanical section was required ‘to gather a collection of plants together with their descriptions, and a collection of samples of every species of tree. It would be useful to know something of the strength and quality of such species as are so far little known’. And the means of implementing these instructions was disclosed by the Minister of Naval Affairs: ‘Foreign scientists have been appointed, with the title “Naturalists”, to both expeditions, namely Herr Mertens (of Halle) and Dr Kuntze (of Leipzig) who are to join the expedition at Copenhagen. You will by agreement with the Commander of the second expedition, pick them up there and assign one to each ship’. These rather ambiguous instructions (and other statements) leave us in some doubt as to whether Bellingshausen was to have two naturalists or one, but in the event he had none. For at Copenhagen news awaited him that Mertens and Kuntze had withdrawn from the expedition, pleading lack of time for preparations. Last minute attempts to enlist a naturalist at Copenhagen were unsuccessful. Nor, when the vessels called at Portsmouth, were they any more successful despite appeals to Banks. Bellingshausen recorded: ‘In this way our hopes of making discoveries in the field of natural history were dashed to the ground and we had to console ourselves with the intention of doing our best to collect all we could find and, on our return, to submit it to specialists to distinguish between the known and the unknown. As the voyage continued we deeply regretted, and still regret, that two students of natural history were not allowed to go with us from Russia. They had wished to do so, but had been rejected in favour of unknown foreigners.’
The southern summer of 1819-20 was spent surveying South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (where a brief landing was made on Zavodovski Island) and exploring eastwards in a great arc at high latitudes, until Sydney was finally reached on page 154 April 10, 1820. After a winter's cruise in the Pacific the vessels left Sydney again on November 12, and steered south to complete the circumnavigation of the Antarctic. Bellingshausen had been originally ordered to call at the Auckland Islands but instead he made for Macquarie Island where the vessels remained from November 29 to 31.
Bellingshausen has left us a very clear description of the ‘wild cabbage’ of Macquarie Island, whose roots and leaf stalks (‘about a foot high’) were made into a soup by the sailors. And he records that leaves of this species were later examined by the naturalists Fischer and Eichenwald in St. Petersburg and pronounced to be from a Gunnera. Presumably the sailors had not thought to collect the inflorescence which was described in the narrative as ‘white like a cauliflower’. Undoubtedly the Russians had made the first collection of the striking Stilbocarpa polaris*. belonging to an Araliad genus confined to the southern islands of the New Zealand region. Notice was also taken of a grass which covered the whole island and which was readily eaten by the sheep — presumably those carried on board. The St. Petersburg botanists labelled specimens of this ‘an indeterminate plant without bloom’. It was probably Poa foliosa. Although it is also recorded that Zavodovski collected ‘several kinds of grass’ this is the only one mentioned. A third plant was called Cryptostules in St. Petersburg, but I have not been able to trace this name in the botanical literature.
Bellingshausen's second collection in high latitudes was made in the South Shetland Islands after he had completed his circumnavigation of the Antarctic and in so doing had discovered Peter I Island and Alexander I Land. On February 7, 1821, in the late afternoon a party was put ashore near the northern headland of King George I Island. Amongst the miscellaneous specimens brought aboard were some moss and seaweed, and it was reported that ‘The shore consisted of rocks covered with crumbling soil and moss; they observed no flora except the moss’.
Duperrey and Dumont d'Urville; 1822-1825
L. I. Duperrey, who had been one of Freycinet's officers, left Toulon again on August 11, 1822, in command of the Coquille on a voyage round the world to study terrestrial magnetism, meteorology and natural history. The second in command, J. S. C. Dumont d'Urville (aged 32), was a botanist of some standing and had already published an account of his eastern Mediterranean collections. His assistant was the naval doctor and naturalist Rene Primivère Lesson, elder brother of Pierre Adolphe Lesson, botanist with d'Urville on the Astrolabe in 1827-29.
* The ‘Kerguelen cabbage’ is not Stilbocarpa polaris as stated in Debenham (1945) but Pringlea antiscorbutica.
The Coquille spent from November 20 to December 18, 1822, at Port St. Louis in the East Falklands. General observations on plants and botanical activities (written by d'Urville) are given in Duperrey's narrative (1825) and there is a little botanical information in Lesson (1839). As well as collecting the usual lowland plants d'Urville made two important collections at higher altitudes. With Lesson a day's excursion was made to the top of the hills south of the harbour and here d'Urville discovered the curious Composite, Nassauvia serpens, for the first time. More important was the two day excursion with Berard to Mount Chatellux (Mt Simon), some seventeen miles to the south west of Port Louis and the highest point in the East Falklands. Here d'Lrville discovered several novelties; Nassauvia serpens again; a new fern, Aspidium mohrioides; the lichen Cenomyce vermicularis; Drapetes muscoides, previously collected by Commerson in the Straits of Magellan; and Valeriana sedifolia, a new species.
D'Urville's paper on the flora of the Falklands (1826) includes Gaudichaud's records, and is a list of all species known from the island to that time. It includes algae, fungi, lichens, hepatics, mosses, lycopods, ferns and flowering plants including some weeds, and a numerical system of d'Urville's own devising indicates the relative abundance of each species of higher plant.
Original descriptions of 44 new species of cryptogams and phanerogams are given. More detailed taxonomic treatments of the collections of the voyage were made by Bory de St. Vincent (1828) who studied the algae, lichens, lycopods and ferns, and A. Brongniart (1829) who dealt with flowering plants and conifers. The collections are at the Natural History Museum, Paris.
As a result of Gaudichaud's collection and that of d'Urville (particularly his discoveries at higher altitudes) the higher plants of the Falkland Islands were almost all made known to science. The cryptogams, however, still remained relatively unknown.
King, Fitzroy and Anderson: 1826-1830
The Adventure (Commander Philip Parker King, F.R.S.) and the Beagle (Commander Pringle Stokes) left Plymouth on May 22, 1826 to survey the coasts of South America from the River Plate round to Chiloé. King was instructed to avail himself ‘of every opportunity of collecting and preserving specimens of such objects of natural history as may be new, rare or interesting, and you are to instruct Captain Stokes, and all the other officers, to use their best diligence in increasing the collections in each ship; the whole of which must be understood to belong to the public.’ To this end James Anderson (aged 29) sailed on the Adventure as botanical collector.page 156
Commander King was a typical example of that group of devoted naval officers — men such as Bougainville, d'Urville, Stokes, Fitzroy, Foster, Ross and Scott — whose combination of professional skill and interest in science contributed so much to our knowledge of the subantarctic and antarctic regions. His narrative is the first volume of a trilogy (King, Fitzroy, Darwin, 1839) edited by Fitzroy, and it covers the surveying voyages of the two ships and their attendant smaller vessels over a period of three and a half years. There are many useful comments on vegetation, rocks and soils scattered throughout this volume and the following summary of this remarkable survey indicates the localities about which the botanist or geographer is likely to find interesting information.
December 1826 to April 1827
After landing at Gregory Bay and Freshwater Cove, a shore base was established at Port Famine, where the Adventure remained. While the Beagle surveyed the treacherous western entrance to the Straits of Magellan, the decked boat Hope surveyed Dawson Island, and (with King) Admiralty Sound, the Magdalen Channel, and from the middle Straits east to Elizabeth Island. The winter of 1827 was spent at Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro.
January to August, 1828
The Adelaide (purchased at Montevideo) explored Useless Bay and the middle Straits, while the Beagle spent four rigorous months surveying the outer western coast and the Gulf of Penas. The responsibility of executing the most difficult parts of the survey for two seasons on perhaps the most treacherous and depressing lee shore in the world had affected Commander Stokes deeply. He returned to Port Famine in low spirits and in a moment of depression he shot himself. This convinced King that he should take his ships north to Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro for a rest, and here Lieutenant Robert Fitzroy joined to command the Beagle.
April to August, 1829
The Adventure spent five weeks at St. Martin's Cove on Hermite Island near Cape Horn in company with the Chanticleer (Captain Foster), then went north to Valparaiso, and returned to Ancud, Chiloé. Fitzroy worked in the middle Straits, discovered Skyring and Otway waters, and took the Beagle north to Ancud. The Adelaide (Lieutenant Skyring) surveyed the Barbara and Cockburn Channels, sailed north through the Smyth Channel to the Gulf of Trinidad, and on ot the rendezvous an Ancud.
November 1829 to August 1830
The Adventure sailed to Valparaiso, and then to Cumberland Bay, Juan Fernandez, with the botanist Carlo Bertero who collected there: thence to Talcahuano, Port Famine and Rio de Janeiro. The page 157 Adelaide expanded the survey of the Gulf of Penas and came south through the Messier and Sarmiento channels to Port Famine and on to Rio de Janeiro. The Beagle surveyed the southern coasts of Tierra del Fuego from the western entrance of the Straits of Magellan round to Good Success Bay, during which time the Beagle Channel was discovered.
The expedition arrived at Plymouth from Rio de Janeiro in October, 1830.
The lists of the mammals, birds and shells collected by King are given in the appendices to his narrative. Of the plants, however, Fitzroy wrote in the preface: ‘It may be a matter of regret, that no paper on the botany of Tierra del Fuego is appended to the first volume. Captain King took great pains in forming and preserving a botanical collection, aided by a person embarked solely for that purpose. He placed his collection in the British Museum and was led to expect that a first rate botanist would have examined it, but he has been disappointed.’ However, the first rate botanist was soon to appear, and when he described this collection in his Flora Antarctica he wrote: ‘Captain King's is certainly the most complete flora ever formed in those countries, whether in number of species or specimens of flowering plants.’
An analysis of this collection from the records in the Flora Antarctica shows that it numbers about 167 gatherings, and almost as many species, and is mainly composed of flowering plants with a few cryptogams. But the localities covered are few; 121 of the records are from Port Famine where the Adventure was based, and 32 are from Gregory Bay or thereabouts, where the ships always stopped when entering or leaving the Straits of Magellan. There are three records from Mount Tarn and one from Eagle Bay, both localities close to Port Famine, while four are given as ‘Straits of Magellan’ and two as ‘Fuegia’. The remaining four are from Cape Fairweather which is on the Patagonian coast. It is surprising that although King and Anderson were five weeks at St. Martin's Cove, Hermite Island, there is no record of any extensive collection having been made there. King (1839) recorded that at St. Martin's Cove ‘No Fuchsia was seen, but Mr Anderson gathered the sweet scented Callixene marginata and a species of Escallonia on the hillsides.’ yet Hooker does not mention these gatherings. It is difficult to believe that nothing more was collected in this locality, which was the most southern point reached on the survey, and one not previously examined by a botanist.
Little is recorded of Anderson's activities on this voyage. He is only mentioned in connection with the ascent of Mount Tarn in February, 1827, and at St. Martin's Cove in May, 1829. It is probable that many of the specimens accredited to King were in fact collected by Anderson, but Anderson appears to have also made a duplicate collection, for Hooker (1847a) wrote: ‘To Dr page 158 Lemann I owe the use of another set of the same plants, gathered by Mr Anderson, the gardener who accompanied Captain King …’. However, specimens from this collection are not specifically mentioned in the Flora Antarctica.
Britten and Boulger (1931) note that Anderson was at Port Jackson (Sydney) in 1832 and that he was superintendent of the Sydney Botanical Gardens from 1835 until his death in 1842. However, as the above itinerary makes clear, Maiden (1908) is wrong in writing that Anderson left the Adventure at Sydney on the homeward voyage.
Foster and Webster; 1828-1830
Between 1828 and 1830 Captain Henry Foster, F.R.S., on the Chanticleer, carried out a series of pendulum experiments in the South Atlantic region to ascertain the true figure of the earth. Foster was drowned towards the end of the voyage and the main account was written by the surgeon W. H. B. Webster (1834) who was also responsible for the natural history observations. Although the organising committee recommended inclusion of a botanical collector this was apparently not done.
The Chanticleer arrived at Staten Island from Montevideo on October 25, 1828. and after inspecting New Year's harbour was guided to a good anchorage in Port Cook by Captain Palmer of the American vessel Penguin. From this base Lieutenant Kendall charted the island and Webster collected plants, twelve species being accredited to him from here in the Flora Antarctica. General observations on the vegetation are given in Webster (1834, appendix).
Leaving Port Cook on December 21 the Chanticleer spent two days at Wigwam Cove (St. Martin's Cove), Hermite Island, and then went south to Deception Island where a station was established from January 8 to March 8, 1829. There are two gatherings by Webster recorded here in the Flora Antarctica — the lichen Usnea melaxantha and the alga Scytothallia jacquinotii. Kendall (1831) also gives an account of the island.
From March 25 to May 24, 1829, the Chanticleer was at St. Martin's Cove in company with the Adventure but Webster apparently made no collections here.
James Eights; 1829
The first part of the following account is taken from Calman (1937) who has pieced together the fragmentary records of ‘The First United States Exploring Expedition.’ This venture was undertaken with the official sanction, but not the financial support, of the United States Government, and the main aim was to find page 159 new localities for fur-sealing. The Annawan (N. B. Palmer) and Seraph (B. Pendleton) sailed from New London, Connecticut, in October, 1829. Three naturalists were taken, James Eights sailing on the Annawan, and J. W. Reynolds and J. R. Watson on the Seraph. After visiting the Patagonian coast the vessels proceeded to the rendezvous at Staten Island where they were joined by another brig, the Penguin (A. S. Palmer). Calman does not mention the anchorage at Staten Island, but it would almost certainly have been Port Cook, Palmer's favourite haunt, to which he had guided the Chanticleer a year before. The Seraph now left the other vessels and, after a fruitless exploration to the westward of the Palmer Peninsula, returned north along the Chilean coast where Reynolds and Watson explored the Araucanian country. The Annawan and the Penguin on the other hand went south to the South Shetland Islands which were described by Eights in his ‘Remarks on the New South Shetland Islands’ published as an appendix to a paper on Isopods in the Transactions of the Albany Institute in 1833.
Eights made plant collections wherever he went, and Calman records that these specimens were said to be in the State Herbarium, Albany. It is curious that Skottsberg (1954) wrote that he could not trace this institution or the collection. The herbarium of the New York State Museum at Albany (abbreviation NYS) was founded in 1836 and Dr S. W. Greene assures me that specimens collected by Eights on his southern voyage are still there. However a duplicate set or a portion of the collection had come into the hands of Sir William Hooker in England and there has been some speculation as to how this came about. Skottsberg (1954) when discussing the annotations on the type sheet of Aira (Deschampsia) antarctica Hook, which is at Kew, wrote: ‘J. D. Hooker has added “D. Berk. Aira antarctica Hook. N.S. Shetland” (= New South S.). According to Dr Turrill “D. Berk.” (= Dedit. Berkeley) indicates that “the specimen was given to Hooker by the Rev. Berkeley who had correspondents in America”.’ But poor handwriting or an inaccuracy on the part of J. D. Hooker, has misled Dr Turrill here; that ‘D. Berk.’ is in fact ‘Dr. Berk’ is shown by the following footnote in Hooker and Arnott (1835) which announced the receipt of Eight's specimens: ‘Some very interesting plants from the extreme southern countries of South America and parts of the Pacific, gathered by this gentleman while on a voyage of discovery in an American vessel, have been very generously communicated to us by Dr Beck, from the Curators of the Albany Institute, New York.’
Eights' collection was received by Sir W. J. Hooker in time for the Compositeae to be included in the last parts of Hooker and Arnott's ‘Contributions towards a Flora of South America and the Islands of the Pacific’ (1835, 1836, 1841). Eighteen page 160 species of composites are in the collection, and five, including Senecio eightsii, were described as new. The localities specifically credited to Eights are ‘East coast of Patagonia’, ‘St. Mary, South Patagonia’. ‘St. Mary, South Pacific Ocean’, ‘Staten Land, Cape Horn’, ‘Cape Horn’ and ‘Isle la Moche, South Pacific Ocean’. The highest collecting number mentioned is 81. In one instalment of the series four species are accredited to Dr Beck, probably by an oversight. The only new locality here is ‘Valparaiso’. Whether Cape Horn and Staten Land were synonymous to Hooker and Arnott, or whether Eights collected in the vicinity of Cape Horn before or after visiting the South Shetland Islands is not clear. But after leaving these islands it would appear that the Annawan and Penguin went north along the Chilean coast.
Eights was the third to collect plants on the South Shetlands as far as we know, being preceded by members of Bellingshausen's expedition and by W. H. B. Webster. According to Calman ‘Of land plants Eights (1833) records a species of Polytrichum, one or two lichens, one of which was the Usnea fasciata described some years earlier by Torrey, and “a small species of Avena”.’ The grass, the first flowering plant collected in Antarctic regions, was described by W. J. Hooker in 1837 as Aira antarctica and this species and the lichen Usnea melaxantha are credited to Eights from the South Shetlands by J. D. Hooker (1847a). Also in the Flora Antarctica are six species from Staten Island, one from Cape Horn, and a few from the coast of Patagonia.
Charles Fraser was superintendent of the Sydney Botanic Gardens and died on December 31, 1831 (Maiden, 1908). At some time prior to this date he sent a small collection of plants from Macquarie Island to Sir William Hooker. J. D. Hooker (1847a) when discussing Leptinella plumosa wrote: ‘It was first detected on McQuarries’ Island whence specimens were received by Mr Fraser (sic) in New Holland, and by him transmitted to England; but it is not ascertained who found them, though it is more than possible they were gathered by some person accompanying a sealer'.
This collection was deposited in the Hooker herbarium, and was later used in the preparation of the Flora Antarctica. In the first volume of this work the plants mentioned as sent by Fraser are: Leptinella (Cotula) plumosa, Acaena adscendens, A. sanguisorbeae, Festuca (Poa) foliosa, Pleurophyllum criniferum, and (in the addenda) Luzula crinita. Azorella selago is mentioned in the second volume. The species of Pleurophyllum which grows on Macquarie Island (and elsewhere) was later recognised as distinct from the true P. criniferum and named P. hookeri.page 161
Cheeseman (1909, 1919) includes Aspidium vestitum in his list of plants sent by Fraser. I can find no mention of this record in the Flora Antarctica although Cheeseman (1919) stated that it is there. However in the Flora Novae-Zelandiae (1855) Polystichum vestitum is recorded from Macquarie Island but without mention of Fraser's name.
These seven or eight species were the first records from the islands lying to the south of New Zealand, and although the Auckland and Campbell Islands were to be explored by botanists within a decade of Fraser's death, a second collection from Macquarie Island was not made until 1880, this time not by a sealer but by a professor of anatomy and physiology.
Fitzroy and Darwin; 1831-36
On January 24, 1830, on the outer coast of Tierra del Fuego, Lieutenant Robert Fitzroy made an entry in his journal which was to have consequences of revolutionary importance to science. He wrote: ‘There may be metal in many of the Fuegian mountains, and I much regret that no person in the vessel was skilled in mineralogy, or at all acquainted with geology. It is a pity that so good an opportunity of ascertaining the nature of the rocks and earths of these regions should have been almost lost. I could not avoid often thinking of the talent and experience required for such scientific researches, of which we were wholly destitute; and inwardly resolving, that if ever I left England again on a similar expedition, I would endeavour to carry out a person qualified to examine the land; while the officers and myself would attend to hydrography.’ And when Fitzroy left England again on November 27, 1831, in command of the Beagle he shared his cabin with a young naturalist, Charles Darwin, Esq., M.A., who was taken along to ‘examine the land’.
‘The object of the expedition was to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, commenced under Captain King in 1826 to 1830 — to survey the shores of Chile, Peru, and of some islands in the Pacific — and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements round the world’ (Darwin, 1839). General accounts of the voyage are given by Fitzroy (1839) and Darwin (1839). As Darwin's account is not always written in chronological order I have given below a précis of his itinerary in southern Chile and the Falklands. The exact position of the Beagle each day of the voyage is given in the abstract of the meteorological journal in an appendix to Fitzroy's narrative. The number of species given as collected in each locality has been culled from the pages of the Flora Antarctica.
December 1832 - February 1833. (Southern Tierra del Fuego).
The Beagle arrived at Good Success Bay on the afternoon of page 162 December 17 and left on the 21st. Darwin has left us a vivid account of his scramble up through the dense beech forest on the 19th. On the 20th he set out to climb the mountain where disaster had overtaken Banks's party, being ‘anxious to reach the summit of this mountain to collect alpine plants; for flowers of any kind in the lower parts are few in number.’ Taking the same route as the previous day, and encountering the same waist-high beech scrub above the forest which had deceived Banks and Solander, he reached the open tops and moved along a ridge for some miles with the intention of collecting plants. However, these two excursions do not seem to have produced the gatherings which we would expect. Only five species are accredited to Darwin from Good Success Bay — an Acaena, a Melalema, a Carex, a Festuca and a Forstera, and possibly only the latter would be an upland species.
On Christmas Eve the Beagle anchored in St. Martin's Cove, Hermite Island (the Wigwam Cove of Darwin's journal), and left on December 30. After an unsuccessful attempt to sail westwards in the open sea the Beagle anchored in the Goree Roads south of Navarino Island on January 15. and was based in this vicinity until February 21. During this time Darwin accompanied the whaleboats on a journey of some 300 miles, from January 19 to February 7, to explore the Beagle Channel. Camps were made at the eastern end of the Channel: close to the junction of Beagle Channel and Ponsonby Sound; and for six days at Wulaia. The party then moved westwards through the north arm of the Beagle Channel as far as Stewart Island, and returned to the ship by the southern arm, Wulaia and Ponsonby Sound. After visiting Nassau Bay, Packsaddle Bay, Gretton Bay and Oglander Bay the Beagle sheltered in Good Success Bay from February 22 to 25, bu there is no reference to any landings during this second visit.
March - April, 1833. (Falkland Islands).
From March 1 to April 6 the Beagle was in Berkeley Sound, but there is little mention in the journals of botanical activities during this time. The expedition then went north to Montevideo for the winter.
January - February, 1834. (Straits of Magellan).
The Beagle arrived in Possession Bay on January 27, was at Gregory Bay on the 29th where a landing was definitely made, and at Shoal Harbour on the 31st. From February 2-9 the expedition was at Port Famine, and during this time Darwin ascended Mount Tarn. He apparently collected only three species during that day but has again left us a vivid general impression of the forest through which he battled.
The other Darwin collections from the Straits of Magellan were: Port Famine (3 species): Gregory Bay (1 species); Cape Negro, page 163 which is close to Shoal Harbour (23 species); and Elizabeth Island (11 species), although there is no mention of a landing here in the journals.
February - March, 1834. (Southern Tierra del Fuego).
Leaving the Straits of Magellan the Beagle went south to St. Vincents Bay (February 21), but there is no mention of a landing here. After passing the Straits of Le Maire she was off Woollaston Island on February 25-26 where a landing was made. The ship was then taken into the eastern entrance of the Beagle Channel, anchored one night in an unnamed cove, and then went westwards to Ponsonby Sound and spent from March 5-6 at Wulaia.
Darwin's two visits to Southern Tierra del Fuego lasted in all for some 83 days and for a good deal of this time he was in contact with the shore. Other than the Good Success Bay gatherings, only 37 species of plants can be referred to this period from the records in the Flora Antarctica. With the exception of one record from Woollaston Island no specific localities are mentioned; only the general record ‘Southen Tierra del Fuego’ is given. Examination of some of the Darwin herbarium specimens has shown that no more detailed information is given on the sheets.
March - April, 1834. (Falkland Islands).
The second visit of the Beagle to Berkeley Sound and Port Louis lasted from March 10 to April 8. During this time Darwin made a four day excursion to the neck of land joining the south west peninsula to the main part of the East Falklands and his general account of the landscape is valuable to the botanist.
Darwin spent in all sixty-six days on the Falkland Islands but there are only seven species of plants accredited to him in the Flora Antarctica.
May - June, 1834. (Straits of Magellan).
After a short period north at Santa Cruz the Beagle returned south for the last time, and was at Gregory Bay on May 29. From June 1-8 the vessel remained at Port Famine but Darwin probably did little work ashore at this time for as he wrote — ‘It was now the beginning of winter and I never saw a more cheerless prospect’.
The vessel then entered the Pacific through the Magdalen and Cockburn Channels, and went north to Valparaiso for the winter, spending from June 29 to July 14 at San Carlos (Ancud) in north Chiloé on the way.
November, 1834 - February, 1835. (Chiloe and Chonos).
The expedition arrived back at Ancud on November 22. Darwin went overland from here to Chacao at the north eastern tip of page 164 the island, and then joined the whaleboat, which after surveying the eastern coast of Chiloé rejoined the Beagle at the island of San Pedro off the south eastern tip of Chiloé on December 6. During the three days at San Pedro a party including Darwin attempted unsuccessfully to climb to the peak of the island and Darwin has again left us a valuable picture of the dense forest through which they struggled. No records of collections are given in the Flora Antarctica for Chiloé.
From San Pedro the Beagle went south and sheltered from December 13-17 in the Vallenar Roads, Chonos Archipelago, where landings were made. After a sweep to the south the vessel returned north along the coast, anchoring at San Andres Bay (December 21-23), Christmas Cove (December 24-27), Patch Cove (January 1-5), and Port Low on the north coast of Guaiteca Island (January 8-15). Landings were made at all harbours. Except for three records from Patch Cove, the collections in the period are given only general localities in the Flora Antarctica. There are 45 species designated Chonos Archipelago, and 21 designated Cape Tres Montes.
Darwin's last main excursion on Chiloé was to leave Ancud on January 22 and proceed overland to Castro and from there across the middle of the island to the west coast, arriving back on January 28 by the same route. The Beagle left Ancud on February 4 for the north, before which Darwin made a few local excursions.
Darwin, as we see, did not make very large botanical collections in South America but we could hardly expect more, considering his other responsibilities in both geology and zoology. But everywhere Darwin went he collected a little. The Compositae collected ‘between Maldonado, in the north, and Tierra del Fuego in the south including the Falkland Islands’ were described by Hooker and Arnott (1836, 1841), and his gatherings from the Falklands Islands, Tierra del Fuego, and the Chonos Archipelago were used in the preparation of the Flora Antarctica. His specimens are in the herbarium of the School of Botany, Cambridge University.
Lieutenant B. J. Sulivan who had commanded the whaleboat survey at Chiloé also gathered plants during the Beagle's voyage, and these, together with collections which he later made when surveying the Falklands Islands on H.M.S. Philomel, were used by Hooker when preparing the Flora Antarctica. Mrs Sulivan and W. Chartres, surgeon on the Philomel, also sent Hooker specimens.
Dumont d'Urville, Hombron and Jacquinot; 1837-40
In 1835 d'Urville completed his account of the voyage of the Astrolabe (1826-29) and was posted to dock-yard duties at Toulon where it seemed that his career would end in obscurity and administration. But his fiery and imaginative spirit could not page 165 endure such a life of inaction for long, and in January, 1837, he petitioned the Naval Minister for yet a third voyage to the Pacific to continue his unfinished work. This proposal, when submitted to King Louis-Philippe, was approved, but with one major modification. D'Urville was ordered to take the French flag as far south as possible in the region of the sea which Weddell had discovered in 1823. And to stimulate recruitment for the venture each crew member was promised 100 francs if the latitude of 75° S. was attained, and 10 francs apiece for every degree of latitude beyond. Attention was also to be paid to hydrography, natural history and any information of value to the French whaling industry.
Two corvettes were allotted the expedition. The Astrolabe was commanded by d'Urville and the Zélée by Captain Charles Jacquinot. Botanical collecting was the responsibility of Jacques Hombron (aged 37), senior surgeon on the Astrolabe, and of Honoré Jacquinot (aged 23), junior surgeon on the Zélée. E. Le Guillou (aged 31), senior surgeon on the Zélée, and whose name is often mis-spelled Le Guillon, also made a botanical collection, but his account of the voyage (1842) is of little use for our purposes. The official narrative by d'Urville (1841-46) is supplemented by extracts from the diaries of various officers.
The expedition sailed from Toulon on September 7, 1837, entered the Straits of Magellan on December 12 and proceeded directly to Port Famine remaining here from December 15 to 28.
While here d'Urville looked forward eagerly to comparing the vegetation with that of the Falkland Islands which he had described twelve years before, but otherwise as he recorded ‘je ne me proposais d'herboriser qu'en simple amateur’, and not to encroach upon the domains of Hombron and Jacquinot. But his journal contains many references to his collecting activities directed particularly towards mosses and lichens.
Hombron and several other officers attempted to climb Mount Tarn with varying success on December 22-23. From this excursion the botanist returned exhausted and d'Urville was disappointed that only two or three species had been gathered, for they suggested the existence of a distinct alpine flora.
After leaving Port Famine, d'Urville rounded Cape Froward, noting as he sailed westward the gradual impoverishment of the vegetation. From December 29 to 31 the vessels were at Port Gallant. The French then retraced their steps, anchoring in St. Nicholas Bay from December 31 to January 2, 1838, and at Pecket from January 4 to 8. D'Urville records collecting at each place.
After twenty-seven days in the Straits of Magellan d'Urville headed southwards. He passed to the east of Staten Island, and on January 17 was off the South Shetlands. Then began a fruitless attempt to penetrate the pack-ice to the south, lasting for seven page 166 weeks and ranging from east of the South Orkney Islands to Louis Philippe Land in the west. Only one landing was made. On February 20 at Weddell Island in the South Orkney group, a boat went ashore from each vessel to collect rock specimens. M. Dubouzet reported: ‘On trouva dans quelques endroits sur cette roche un peu de terre végétale, et pour toute végétation plusieurs variétés de ces lichens, que tout autre qu'un botaniste ne se douterait jamais appartenir au règne organique.’ Three species of algae were collected from the sea near Louis-Philippe Land, before d'Urville turned north on March 7, 1838, and headed for Talcahuano in Chile.
After visiting Valparaiso the French explored the Pacific and East Indies for some twenty months finally arriving at Hobart on December 12, 1838, with many men seriously ill after a two month voyage from Sumatra through the Indian Ocean.
The aim of d'Urville's second cruise was to explore the Antarctic to the south of Tasmania. The expedition quitted Hobart on January 1, 1840, leaving Hombron and others of the crew to recuperate. On January 20 land was sighted and next day parties from each vessel set foot on one of a group of islets lying just off the main Antarctic coast. Dubouzet wrote: ‘La roche était entiérement nue. et n'offrait pas même la moindre trace de lichens. Nous n'y trouvâmes qu'un seul fucus, encore etait-il desséche et avait-il été apporté la par les courants ou par les oiseaux.’
D'Urville reconnoitred westwards from his Terre Adelie as far as an ice-bound coast, Côte Clarie. encountering the Porpoise of the Wilkes' Expedition on January 29. On February 1 he turned north and arrived at Hobart on February 17.
The French left Hobart again on February 25, 1840, and sighted the west coast of Auckland Island on March 7. They sailed round the south and up the east coast, and on March 10 outside Sarah's Bosom (later Ross Harbour) encountered the Porpoise again as she put to sea. Not till two days later did they finally anchor near Shoe Island in Ross Harbour.
There is no evidence in the narrative that the explorers ventured far from the coast or from the environs of the harbour with the exception of two men who accompanied some Portuguese whalers down the east coast. The few comments on the vegetation are of little importance and the naturalists do not appear to have collected many flowering plants: they did, however, make a good collection of seaweeds.
On March 20 the vessels left the Auckland Islands, sailed north to New Zealand and returned home via the East Indies and Cape of Good Hope, reaching Toulon on November 6, 1840.
D'Urville had completed the first three chapters of the fourth volume of his narrative, when, on May 8, 1842, he perished with his wife and child in a railway accident on an outing to Versailles.page 167
The remaining volumes were capably edited by M. Vincendon-Dumoulin, hydrographer to the expedition, but there is no doubt that the scientific reports suffered by the death of the great explorer.
|Auckland Island||Magellan Strait||Port Famine||Port Gallant||St. Nicholas Bay||Pecket||Off Louis Philippe Land|
The information from Montagne was included in the addenda to the Flora Antarctica (1847).
The description of the ferns and flowering plants had a more chequered history. The first number of a series of beautifully executed plates (which included cryptogams) appeared at some time in 1843 or early 1844 under the supervision of Hombron and Jacquinot, and the last of the thirteen numbers appeared in 1853. Jackson (1888) has listed the contents of each plate and of each number (livraison), and the dates when each was received at the British Museum. Bloomsbury; but in some cases these dates give no indication of time of publication. Thus the number containing the plate of Ligusticum antipodum was received on May 5, 1853, but had been mentioned by Hooker (1844) in a review of the first six numbers. In a review of the seventh and eighth numbers Hooker (1845) wrote: ‘We have still to complain, as before, of the non-appearance of a single description, or indeed, of a single line of text —’ However, the first six numbers preceded the Flora Antarctica and Hooker used the names given by Hombron and Jacquinot where appropriate. These persist in the specific names of Anisotome antipoda, Stilbocarpa polaris, and Cassinia vauvilliersii; and in var. scleroprium of Asplenium lucidum.
While at Hobart the French made the acquaintance of Ronald Gunn. a keen botanist and an official in the Tasmanian Government. Le Guillou sent Gunn specimens from the Auckland Islands and Gunn sent them to Hooker. They arrived too late to be mentioned in the body of the Flora Antarctica but are listed in the addenda.
When Hombron died in 1852 the elegant plates of flowering plants and ferns which he had edited were still unsupported by any page 168 text. This gap was filled by J. F. Decaisne (1853) who also corrected Hombron's errors of nomenclature and classification. Decaisne noted that the collection had passed through many hands when he received it, and that some specimens had been lost. He was forced at times to base his descriptions on those in the Flora Antarctica. But it is surprising that no more vascular species were described by Decaisne than had been figured by Hombron. The finalised species list consists of only 16 ferns and 84 flowering plants. Most of these are from higher southern latitudes, with very few from New Zealand, Australia or the Pacific. Of the flowering plants there are only 15 from the Auckland Islands, 34 from the Straits of Magellan in general, and a further 23 from more specific localities such as Port Famine, Port Gallant or Pecket. If Decaisne's list represented the whole collection of vascular plants during a four-year voyage we cannot say that the French botanists collected very assiduously.
Charles Wilkes; 1838-42
The second United States Exploring Expedition was authorised by Act of Congress on May 14, 1836, but departure was delayed until August 18, 1838, due to various troubles well summarised by Kirwan (1962).
The vessels were the Vincennes (Charles Wilkes) and the Peacock (William L. Hudson), both sloops-of-war, as well as the brig Porpoise (C. Ringgold), the store-ship Relief and the tenders Seagull and Flying Fish. All proved unsuitable in some way or another for the rigours of Antarctic exploration, and the expedition is generally considered to have been poorly equipped. Its successes were undoubtedly due to the dedication of the commander, Charles Wilkes.
The main aim of the expedition was to obtain information useful for the sealing and whaling industries, but Wilkes (1845) was told: ‘Although the primary object of the Expedition is the promotion of the great interests of commerce and navigation, yet you will take all occasions, not incompatible with the great purposes of your undertaking, to extend the bounds of science, and promote the acquisition of knowledge’. But in order to extend the bounds of science good scientists are required, and their recruitment was not easy. James Eights was appointed as a geologist but, in the end, did not sail (Calman, 1937). Asa Gray had his equipment aboard, but after many delays took it ashore, and chose instead a chair at the University of Michigan and a trip to Europe (Dupree, 1959). Wilkes was finally provided with a Scientific Corps of eleven civilians which included Charles Pickering. Joseph P. Couthouy and T. R. Peale (naturalists), William Rich (botanist), J. D. Brackenridge (assistant botanist) and two artists. Dr C. F. B. page 169 Guillou of the Porpoise, one of the medical staff who assisted the scientists, should not be confused with his namesake on d'Urville's expedition.
The expedition left New York on August 18, 1838, and by February 17, 1839, the fleet had assembled in Orange Harbour, Tierra del Fuego. The Relief had called at Good Success Bay on the way. Orange Harbour was the expedition base for the rest of the southern summer, and while the Vincennes remained here for some sixty days with Couthouy and the artist Drayton aboard, the remaining vessels were deployed in three task forces.
The Relief left on February 26, taking the rest of the scientists to investigate the Straits of Magellan by way of the Brecknock and Cockburn channels. Stormy weather kept the vessel at sea and she finally went north to Valparaiso. We could note here that the scientists, as civilians, were not taken on any of the Antarctic cruises, either in the South American or the Australian sectors.
The Peacock and Flying Fish left on February 25 with orders to sail south-westwards as far as Cook's ne plus ultra at 71° 10', 106° 54′W. The Peacock reached 68° S, 97° 58'W, and the Flying Fish 71° S, 100° 16'W, before the illfound vessels and lateness of the season forced a retreat. The Peacock went to Valparaiso and the Flying Fish returned to Orange Harbour.
The Seagull and Porpoise (with Wilkes aboard) left Orange Harbour on February 25 to explore to the south and by March 1 were off King George Island in the South Shetland group. On March 3 the eastern point of Palmers Land was in sight, but conditions were so bad that the Seagull was ordered to return to Orange Harbour. On the way north she anchored in Pendulum Cove, Deception Island, where two officers examined an old crater and boiling springs at the head of the bay. ‘The only sign of vegetation was a lichen growing in small tufts around the mouth of several small craters, of three or four feet in diameter’ (Wilkes, 1845).
The Porpoise returned north soon afterwards and on March 18 anchored in Good Success Bay. A shore party was stranded here when the vessel put to sea from March 20-25, but on the 27th she finally left Good Success Bay and reached Orange Harbour on March 30. By the end of April all vessels had left for Valparaiso.
The gatherings from Orange Harbour comprise 46 species of flowering plants (Gray, 1854) and 11 species of ferns, two of which were also gathered at Good Success Bay (Brackenridge, 1854). As Gray's work only covers about a third of the families this is a reasonably good collection for this area.
After eight months in the South Pacific the squadron arrived at Sydney on November 30, 1839. The second Antarctic cruise began on December 26 and during the next three months the four remaining vessels explored the ice-barrier to the south of page 170 Australia. Though they often sailed in company it is simpler to discuss their movements separately.
The Peacock became separated from the fleet and went to the rendezvous at Macquarie Island where Mr Eld and a quartermaster landed on January 10, 1840. Most of Eld's notes are on birds, and of plants he only mentioned ‘The island is high and much broken; it is apparently covered with verdure, although a long tufted rank grass was the only plant seen by those who landed. The highest peak on the island is from twelve to fifteen hundred feet high, and as far as our observation extended, it had neither tree nor shrub on it.’ (Wilkes, 1845). The Peacock then proceeded to the ice-barrier remaining there until January 26, when it returned to Sydney and afterwards went to Tonga.
The Flying Fish also separated from the fleet, and also went to Macquarie Island, but Wilkes gives little information about the landing made on January 11. After spending from January 21 to February 5 at the ice-barrier the vessel went north to the Bay of Islands, arriving on March 9 and finding that the ‘scientific gentlemen’ had already arrived. They had presumably made their own way from Sydney.
The Vincennes proceeded directly to the ice-barrier, explored there until February 21, arrived back at Sydney on March 11, and then went to the Bay of Islands.
The Porpoise also proceeded directly to the ice-barrier, where on January 30 the Astrolabe and Zélée were seen. On February 24 the vessel turned northwards and spent from March 7-10 at Sarah's Bosom (now Ross Harbour), Auckland Islands. Once again, as at Macquarie Island, the Americans had no botanists present to make collections. Acting-Surgeon Holmes attempted to fill the gap but Gray (1854) mentions only six species of flowering plants gathered at the Auckland Islands, and Brackenridge has only five species of ferns. Brief notes by Holmes on the vegetation are given in Wilkes's narrative.
After passing the French vessels again outside Sarah's Bosom, the Porpoise rejoined the squadron at the Bay of Islands. From New Zealand the expedition went to the North Pacific, the Pacific coast of North America, and the East Indies, and returned home via the Cape of Good Hope reaching New York in June, 1842.
The results of the expedition were published in a series of volumes between 1846 and 1874, and the ill-starred history of these has been well summarised by Collins (1912) who wrote: ‘The act of Congress authorising the work, under date of August 26, 1846, provides for a series of volumes similar to those of the Voyage of the Astrolabe, to be issued in 100 copies, and distributed as follows:— one copy each to Captains Wilkes, Hudson and Ringgold, one to the Library of Congress, one to the Naval Lyceum at Brooklyn, one to each State of the Union, one to each friendly page 171 foreign power, and one additional copy each to France and Great Britain. The number of States increased during the period from 1846 to 1874; whether the number of friendly foreign powers increased or decreased during this time, I have no idea; in any case the number available for general distribution must have been exceedingly small.’ However, in certain cases, arrangements were later made to print more than the official 100 copies.
At least 24 volumes were planned and 20 of these were published. The first five volumes contain the narrative of the voyage, while volumes 15, 16, 17 and 18 are those concerned with plants and require more detailed discussion here.
1. Volume 15′. Botany. Phanerogamia. By Asa Gray. Pt. 1, 1854.
This volume was first attempted by William Rich, botanist to the expedition, whom Dupree describes as a political appointee. Wilkes rejected the work as unsuitable and in 1848 turned to Asa Gray for help. In preparation for the task Gray spent a year in Europe in 1850-51, studying specimens with Bentham in Herefordshire and with Sir William Hooker at Kew. J. D. Hooker being in India at this time. Three years later the first volume on the flowering plants appeared, dealing with about one-third of the families in de Candolle's classification (Dupree, 1959). Gray was not in a position to embellish the account in any way, and the work is confined to the bare essentials, lacking even an introduction. An atlas of plates appeared in 1856, but no further volume was published although Gray continued to produce manuscript for many years.
2. Volume 16. Botany. Cryptogamia. By William D. Brackenridge. 1854.
This was commenced in 1846 and completed by 1848 but circumstances beyond Brackenridge's control delayed publication. The main difficulties that beset him were ‘the absence of a good botanical library in Washington’ and the ‘want of a collection of authenticated species of exotic ferns in this country.’ I dare say that all other American authors then confronted with the exotic material that Wilkes had brought back were under a similar handicap. Although Wilkes originally seems to have wished to make the publications a purely American effort (Dupree, 1959) it is noticeable that in Volume 17 there are European co-authors.
An atlas of plates was produced in 1855 and Collins (op. cit.) considers it the rarest of the botanical works.
3. Volume 17. Botany. Lower Cryptogamia. 1874.
The contributors to this volume were to be W. B. Sullivant (mosses). E. Tuckermann (lichens). J. W. Bailey and W. H. Harvey (algae), and M. A. Curtis and M. J. Berkeley (fungi). To page 172 these was added Torrey's account of the phanerogams of the Pacific Coast of North America. Sullivant issued his work separately in 1859, presumably having become tired of delays (Collins, 1912). The remainder of the articles were issued together in 1874, and all the copies that Collins had seen were of the ‘public or author's edition’. The official volume including Sullivant's article was also printed and one copy is in the Library of Congress; but Collins concluded that there had been no distribution to the States and presumably not to the foreign powers.
4. Volume 18. Botany.
This was never published, and I do not know what contents, if any, had been planned for it.
Of the three major expeditions to the Southern Ocean at this time, the American expedition like that of the French, suffered in not having a first-class botanist. This led not only to poor collecting, but to difficulties in publication. Either the participants attempted to write up the work as best they could, or the collections were studied by botanists who had not the advantage of knowing the plants in the field. The ideal organisation, that of an excellent botanist making his own collections and returning to prepare the results for publication himself, was achieved only by the British on the voyage of the Erebus and Terror now to be described.
J. C. Ross and J. D. Hooker; 1839-1843
This expedition was proposed in August, 1838, in a set of resolutions sent to Melbourne's government from the eighth meeting of the British Association. These stressed the need for increased knowledge of terrestrial magnetism particularly in the higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere. The Royal Society strongly supported the proposals, and the expedition left England on September 30, 1839. The botanists were Joseph Dalton Hooker (aged 22), assistant-surgeon on the H.M.S. Erebus (Captain James Clark Ross), and David Lyall (aged 22), assistant-surgeon on H.M.S. Terror (Commander F. R. M. Crozier). Robert M'Cormick and John Robertson, the two surgeons, were responsible for zoological and geological collections.
1 Turrill (1953) has reprinted the descriptions of Campbell and Cockburn Islands from Ross (1847).
The expedition left Capetown on April 6, 1840, and after unsuccessful attempts to land on Prince Edward Island and the Crozets, reached Christmas Harbour, Kerguelen Island, on May 15. Here, in Cook's old anchorage, the ships remained sixty-eight days, during which time two expeditions went to Cumberland Bay. Hooker noted (1847b) ‘The number of species detected during Cook's stay in the island was eighteen, including Cryptogamia; these with the exception of one Lichen, were refound during the visit of the Antarctic expedition, when the flora was increased to about 150 in all; namely, eighteen of flowering plants, three ferns, twenty-five mosses, ten Jungermanniae, one fungus, the rest lichens and seaweeds’. Fossil wood and coal embedded in igneous rock was discovered by M'Cormick at Christmas Harbour.
The expedition left Kerguelen on July 20 and arrived at Hobart on August 16, where the spring was spent refitting and in making magnetic and biological observations. On November 12, 1840, the vessels left for the Auckland Islands where they remained from November 20 to December 12 with the observatory set up in Terror Cove, Ross Harbour. In the following table, based on the records in the Flora Antarctica, the total number of species collected by Hooker at the Auckland and Campbell Islands is given, together with the number collected at each island.
Of the Auckland Island flowering plants Hooker stated (1847b) that no less than fifty-six were undescribed, ‘and one-half of the whole peculiar to this group, or Campbell Island, as far as is at present known’. This was the first extensive collection from the Auckland Islands, being far more complete than anything made by the Americans or French earlier in 1840; but Hooker was a little optimistic in writing that ‘probably nearly all of the native plants were collected’. His collection of flowering plants and ferns represents about two-thirds of the present known flora of these plants.
The expedition was at Perserverance Harbour, Campbell Island, from December 13 to 17, and in the three days actually available for work ashore. Hooker made the first plant collection from the island.page 174
Then followed Ross's famous first probe to the south when he discovered Victoria Land and the mighty Admiralty Range, the Ross Sea and the great Ice Barrier, and Mounts Erebus and Terror; and when he fixed more accurately the position of the South Magnetic Pole.
Two landings were made on islands in the Ross Sea. In January 12, 1841, a party including Ross and M'Cormick landed on Possession Island. ‘I did not observe the faintest trace of vegetation, not so much as a lichen on the bare volcanic rocks, or even a sea-weed in the shoal. But our stay was so brief — only some twenty-five minutes — in consequence of the threatening aspect of the weather —’ wrote M'Cormick.
On January 27 a party including Ross and Hooker attempted a landing on Franklin Island. Ross scrambled ashore, but Hooker narrowly escaped death when he slipped on the icy rock and fell back into the water. Ross recorded ‘We could not perceive the smallest trace of vegetation, not even a lichen or piece of sea-weed growing on the rocks: and I have no doubt from the total absence of it at both the places we have landed, that the vegetable kingdom has no representative in Antarctic lands.’ This reasonable speculation was in fact disproved before the voyage ended.
It will be noticed that the surgeons from the Erebus went ashore alternately at these islands. This was because Ross adhered rigidly to a routine naval order that there must always be a surgeon on duty aboard each ship. M'Cormick in particular complained strongly about the effect of this restriction on the natural history collections and observations but Ross could not be persuaded ‘to cancel any order he had once placed in the order-book’.
The vessels arrived back at Hobart on April 6, 1841, and spent a further three months there; three weeks were then spent at Sydney, and three months at the Bay of Islands in the north of New Zealand.
On November 23, 1841, the expedition left New Zealand for the second southern cruise, aiming to explore to the east of the previous season's discoveries. No landings were made, and with the approach of winter the ships sailed eastwards arriving at Port Louis on the Eastern Falkland Island on April 6, 1842. Five months were spent here, with the observatory situated near the fort of Bougainville's old settlement. There are sixty-five species of flowering plants noted in the Flora Antarctica as collected by Hooker at the Falklands and amongst the lower plants it is obvious that he paid particular attention to seaweeds. It is not clear how far Hooker went from Port Louis in search of plants or in what directions. He refers to ‘several long rides into the country’ in his account of the vegetation in Ross's narrative, and that is all we know. We do know that M'Cormick went westwards to St. page 175 Salvador Bay and that Ross went south-eastwards to Port William; but neither is a long excursion.
On September 8, 1842, the ships sailed for the vicinity of Cape Horn, and from September 20 to November 7 the expedition was at St. Martin's Cove, on Hermite Island. Here Hooker gathered about thirty-nine species of flowering plants (Flora Antarctica) and included in his Cryptogam collections were ‘one hundred different kinds of moss’ (Hooker, 1847b).
The expedition arrived back at Port Louis on November 12 and on December 17, 1842, began the third southern cruise, the aim of which was to explore to the east and south of d'Urville's Louise Philippe Land. On January 6, 1843, a landing was made on the tiny Cockburn Island which lies in 64° 12′S. between Ross and Seymour Islands. Fortunately for botany it was Hooker's turn to land but M'Cormick has recorded his disappointment that once again Ross would not waive the rule in the interests of zoology and geology. In the two hours which Hooker spent ashore he made some of his most important discoveries, for, as he wrote in his excellent account of the island, ‘Previous to the voyage of the Erebus and Terror almost nothing was known of the vegetation which approaches nearest to the Antarctic Pole’. Five mosses, seven algae and six lichens were collected.
The expedition continued to the east, reaching Capetown in early April, and England in early September, 1843.
The Flora Antarctica; 1844-1847
British botanical exploration in the far south had been characterised until now by considerable activity in collecting and considerable inactivity in publication. All this was to change with the return of Joseph Hooker from the Antarctic voyage. Within a few months the Lords of the Admiralty supported by Robert Brown had petitioned the Prime Minister. Sir Robert Peel, for support in publishing the botanical results of the voyage (W. J. Hooker, 1844), and £1,000 was granted for 500 plates of illustrations (Huxley, 1918). Joseph Hooker was placed on assistant-surgeon's half-pay, with a nominal appointment to one of the Queen's yachts and directed by the Admiralty to prepare the work. The unpublished collections of Banks and Solander, and Menzies, held at the British Museum were placed at his disposal by Robert Brown, and Charles Darwin and Professor Henslow made available the collections from the Beagle's voyage. His father's extensive private herbarium and several others were ready to hand.
Early in 1844 the plan of the great ‘Botany of the Antarctic Voyage’ was outlined by Sir William Hooker. There were to be ‘three separate and distinct portions, each complete in itself’— page 176 Flora Antarctica, Flora Novae-Zelandiae and Flora Tasmaniae — with the Flora Antarctica described as follows: ‘This is intended to embrace a complete history of the Vegetation of the Antarctic regions, namely, such lands as are situated between the parallels of 50° and 78° south, the utmost limit that has been attained by navigation.’ The work was to appear in monthly numbers each to contain both plates and text, and the actual dates of publication and the pagination of each number have been roughly given by Jackson (1912) and more accurately by Wiltshear (1913).
The work was planned in two major parts, and the main regions and collectors dealt with were as follows.
|Auckland Is.||Hombron and Jacquinot: Hooker and Lyall.|
|Campbell Is.||Hooker and Lyall.|
|Macquarie Is.||ex Fraser.|
|Cape Tres Montes||Darwin.|
|Straits of Magellan||Commerson; King and J. Anderson; Darwin: Hombron, Jacquinot and d'Urville.|
|Tierra del Fuego||Banks and Solander; J. R. and G. Forster; Darwin; Hooker.|
|Staten Is.||J. R. and G. Forster; Menzies; Eights; Webster.|
|Falkland Is.||Pernetty; Nee; Gaudichaud; d'Urville and R. P. Lesson; Darwin; Hooker; Sulivan; Chartres; Wright.|
|South Georgia||J. R. and G. Forster.|
|Kerguelen Is.||W. Anderson; Hooker and Lyall.|
|Deception Is. (South Shetlands)||Webster; Eights.|
|Cockburn Island (Antarctic Peninsula)||Hooker.|
The first part of the Flora Antarctica, published in ten numbers between June, 1844, and March, 1845, was the most novel section of the work, as the material described in it was almost all collected by Hooker himself, and almost nothing was previously known of the plants growing on the Auckland and Campbell Islands. And the plants were not only described in words, for with each number of the Flora Antarctica there were eight coloured plates by Walter Fitch. The only other collections mentioned in this first part were the few species figured by Hombron and Jacquinot, the cryptogams that had been described by Montagne, and the species from page 177 Macquarie Island sent by Charles Fraser to Sir William Hooker. The material gathered by the Americans at Auckland Island was not studied, as although Gray would have made the specimens available, he was over-ruled by Wilkes (Dupree, 1959).
The second part of the Flora Antarctica appeared in fifteen numbers from some time before early October, 1846, to early October, 1847. The region dealt with had been visited by many collectors, and many of the plants had already been described in scattered publications. Hooker drew all the threads together, added the results from his own gatherings and from hitherto unstudied collections, and for the first time the botanical characteristics of the region could be seen as a whole.
The earlier numbers of the first part of the Flora Antarctica dealt with higher plants, and while these were appearing, Hooker and various collaborators were describing the cryptogams in another series of papers. The hepatics and lichens were studied with Thomas Taylor (1844 a, b, 1845) and the mosses with W. Wilson (1844). The information in these papers formed a basis for the cryptogam sections of the Flora Antarctica when they came to be written by these authors. However in the case of the algae, which were studied with W. H. Harvey (1845) the descriptions of Auckland and Campbell material appeared in the Flora Antarctica first. Accounts of the diatoms collected on the voyage appeared in Ross (1847) in the Flora Antarctica and in Hooker (1848).
The introductions to the first and second parts of the Flora Antarctica are not comparable in scope with the famous introductory essays to the Flora Novae-Zelandiae or the Flora Tasmaniae; and indeed the work is remarkable enough without any such major essay, considering that it was written between Hooker's twenty-sixth and thirtieth years. The idea of writing the introductory essay last, after all the information was sorted out, as was done for the Flora Novae-Zelandiae and Flora Tasmaniae had apparently not yet occurred to Hooker. The brief introduction to the first part of the Flora Antarctica contains general descriptions of the Auckland and Campell Islands with a few remarks on their vegetation, while the longer introduction to the second part has general comments on Tierra del Fuego and the islands eastward to Kerguelen including such matters as topography, climate, vegetation and earlier explorations. But amongst this miscellaneous information are to be found two major generalisations concerning the geography of plants, and I quote them below as representing a synthesis of all the botanical knowledge of the far south that had gradually accumulated from the time of Drake to the publication of the Flora Antarctica.
‘A review of this Flora, now complete, shows the vegetation of Lord Auckland's group and Campbell's Island to be, in some measure, a continuation of that of New Zealand.’ (Flora page 178 Antarctica, p. 209) … ‘The Flora of these islands is closely related to that of New Zealand, and does not partake in any of those features which characterize Australian vegetation. Most of the plants may indeed be presumed to exist on the unexplored mountains, especially those of the middle and southern islands, of New Zealand; but others are doubtless peculiar to those higher latitudes which they inhabit, —’ (Flora Antarctica, p. 1).
‘Tierra del Fuego and the neighbouring southern extremity of the American continent appear to be the region of whose botanical peculiarities all the other Antarctic Islands, except those in the vicinity of New Zealand, more or less evidently partake. It presents a Flora, characterizing isolated groups of islands extending for 5000 miles to the eastward of its own position; some of these detached spots are much closer to the African and Australian continents, whose vegetation they do not assume, than to the American; and they are all situated in latitudes and under circumstances eminently unfavourable to the migration of species, save that their position relatively to Fuegia is in the same direction as that of the violent and prevailing westerly winds.’ (Flora Antarctica, p. 211) … ‘I shall preface the Flora of these widely severed, and in some cases very isolated spots, with a few remarks upon each, and on the general character of the whole as forming one great botanical region.’ (Flora Antarctica, p. 209).
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