William Bartram


William Bartram  (1739 – 1823) is the son of John Bartram (see post).   He devoted his entire life to the study of nature in this new land of America.  He was a botanical and nature artist,  wilderness explorer, writer and ethnographer who studied the southeastern Indian cultures.  In his book, he recounts his solitary travels through the South including encounters with alligators. Along the way, he collected many plant specimens as his father had done.  His book is extremely informative about life in early America and paints a picture of a time and place so different, that it is hard to imagine today how untamed our country once was.


Oenothera grandiflora was discovered in 1775  by William Bartram on the east side of Mobile Bay in Alabama.  He describes it in his book as “perhaps the most pompous and brilliant plant yet know to exist”.  This pompous plant, grown from seeds purchased at Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia, now graces the Automatic Garden.

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