Botanists – 07

The Botanists at Crater Lake National Park by Elizabeth L. Horn

Kalmiopsis Volume 12, 2005 31


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Early Interpreters and a Park Flora: Elmer I. Applegate


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Applegate (1867-1949) worked as a Park Ranger (naturalist) from 1934 to 1939, starting when he was 67 years old! A native of southern Oregon, Applegate first visited Crater Lake as a ten year-old boy. Since he began collecting and studying plants at an early age (Lang 2003), it is not surprising that he was involved with the 1896 Coville and Merriam expedition. That experience led to a job as field assistant for Coville as he collected in the Oregon Cascades (including Crater Lake) in the summers of 1897 and 1898. Applegate capably managed the pack animals as well as camping and plant collecting chores (Lang 2003). During the 1897 season, they discovered pumice grape fern or moonwort (Botrychium pumicola) (Applegate 1939). Applegate’s checklist of the flora of Crater Lake National Park listed 564 species (Applegate 1939) and was published ten years before he died at the age of 82. In his flora he acknowledged Wynd’s earlier work as well as that of Coville and Merriam. Most of Applegate’s collections are housed in the CLNP herbarium.