A colored drawing of a plant with green leaves and a red stem

John Torrey:

Many of the earliest studies of North American botany were carried out by European scientists and explorers, beginning with the earliest colonial settlers in the 17th century. Even after American independence, the scientific infrastructure of the young nation—libraries, herbaria, and widespread support for these activities—was not yet in place. Many early figures in American botanical study, such as Philadelphia-based William Bartram (1739-1823) and Henry Muhlenberg (1753-1815) documented local flora near their homes, making periodic botanical collection trips and creating active networks of botanists through correspondence. By the 19th century, these networks extended throughout the United States.