Monday, March 4, 2013

Environmental History Timeline July, 1802

Invasive jimsonweed plagues Ohio pioneers

The European plant jimsonweed Datura stramonium is found invading disturbed ground at Alexandria (West Portsmouth), Ohio and other small towns along fertile terraces of the Ohio River and at the mouth of the Scioto River. Traveling French Botanist F. A. Michaux* reports...
At Alexandria, and the other little towns in the western country, which are situated upon a very rich soil, the space between every house is almost entirely covered with Stramonium. This dangerous and disagreeable plant has propagated surprisingly in every part where the earth has been uncovered and cultivated within twelve or fifteen years; and let the inhabitants do what they will, it spreads still wider every year. It is generally supposed to have made its appearance at James-Town in Virginia, whence it derived the name Jamesweed. Travelers use it to heal the wounds made on horses' backs occasioned by the rubbing of the saddle.
*Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913 (1904); Michaux, Andre, 1746-1802; Michaux, Francois Andre, 1770-1855; Harris, Thaddeus Mason, 1768-1842. Travels west of the Alleghanies: made in 1793-96 by Andre Michaux, in 1802 by F.A. Michaux, and in 1803 by Thaddeus Mason Harris. A.H. Clark company Cleveland.

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