I’ll share one last photograph from my trip to the Palouse area before moving on. Clustered green gentian is native to Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California, where it can be found on open mountain meadows. The distribution range is similar to yesterday’s elegant mariposa lily, though, as mentioned, it is found in more open areas. You can find a few more images of Frasera fastigiata via one landowner’s attempt to record the plant biodiversity on his / her property in the Palouse.
The genus Frasera is named after John Fraser, a British nurseryman, plant explorer and plant collector. Fraser sounds like quite the character, according to Robert Zahner: “Biographers and modern natural history writers in America portray mixed characterizations of John Fraser. Apparently there is a general impression that Fraser’s botanical competence was not on a par with his contemporaries. He has been called a botanical entrepreneur and an insufferable egotist. Fraser himself reveals something of his ego, stating his determination to excel the French botanist Andre Michaux in plant discoveries, thus obtaining equal honors for Great Britain.” and “One of Fraser’s more telling personality indictments comes from Michaux himself, in a well documented incident during the time Fraser accompanied Michaux on this 1787 exploration into the (Appalachian) mountains. Michaux notes in his journal on May 29th that he found Fraser a superficial bore and that after some time he managed to escape from Fraser’s ‘irritating chatter and foolish questions.’”. If you have a bit of time, I’d encourage you to read the rest of Robert Zahner’s article, Bartram’s Mountain Magnolia, via Chattooga Conservancy. Magnolias and Firs: The John Fraser Connection via Appalachian Voices is a similar account of the story.
I should point out that in UBC Botanical Garden’s newly-planted Carolinian Forest, both Fraser and Michaux have groves named in honour of them.