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By Richard G. Beidleman

This publication chronicles the interesting tale of the enthusiastic, stalwart, and proficient naturalists who have been interested in California's excellent usual bounty over the many years from 1786, while the l. a. P?rouse day trip arrived at Monterey, to the dying Valley excursion in 1890-91, the proclaimed "end" of the yankee frontier. Richard G. Beidleman's attractive and marvelously targeted narrative describes those botanists, zoologists, geologists, paleontologists, astronomers, and ethnologists as they camped below stars and confronted blizzards, made discoveries and collected collections, stored journals and misplaced valuables, sketched plant life and landscapes, recorded comets and local languages. He weaves jointly the tales in their lives, their challenging fieldwork, their contributions to technology, and their intriguing adventures opposed to the backdrop of California and international history.California's Frontier Naturalists covers the entire significant expeditions to California in addition to person and institutional explorations, introducing naturalists who observed boundary surveys, joined federal railroad events, traveled with river topographical expeditions, observed troops concerned with the Mexican battle, and made up California's personal geological survey. between those early naturalists are recognized names--David Douglas, Thomas Nuttall, John Charles Fremont, William Brewer--as good as people who are much less famous, together with Paolo Botta, Richard Hinds, and Sara Lemmon.

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The Alhambra Redwood has died, but contemporaries, undoubtedly Haenke’s, have recently been discovered at another royal garden. Haenke appraised useful as well as possibly poisonous plants, applying a mixture of recognizable and more obscure scientific names such as millefolium (Yarrow), rhusradicans (Western Poison Oak), la cicutasiides (Water Hemlock, poisonous), sambucus-racemosa (Red Elderberry), la arthemesia-dracunculus (Tarragon, a sage), and solidago-cinerea (a goldenrod). Altogether this energetic naturalist reportedly catalogued over 250 species.

He continued his field pursuit of natural history in South America. His memorable floral find, in 1801 along the Amazon River, was the Giant Water Lily, with six-foot-wide floating lily pads, eventually named Victoria regia in honor of Queen Victoria (now Victoria amazonica). At Kew gardens in 1852 the Waterlily House had to be constructed specially to accommodate Thaddeus Haenke’s gigantic discovery. Although he always hoped to return to Europe, his dream was never realized. He died in 1816 or 1817 at a house on his own estate by poisoning when a maid accidentally gave him a toxic potion in place of his medicine.

Menzies, benefiting from his new assignment, was given an additional cabin where he could house his increasing collection of specimens. At Nootka Menzies learned that Don Quadra had been suffering from severe headaches for two years, and now as ship’s surgeon he provided some relief for the Spaniard, engendering a close friendship. At Nootka two unusual passengers were picked up, Raheina and Tymarrow, attractive Hawaiian maidens who had been brought to Nootka for nefarious purposes. Gallantly, Captain Vancouver offered them passage home.

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