John Muir


[Asa] Gray


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Here the variety of the Jeffrey reaches its greatest distance from the Sierra form of Ponderosa and at the foot of the mountains along the edges and sage plains and volcanic tablelands the two are frequently found together. I find difficulty in determining the trend of the Darwin grade in this species - in discriminating between head and tail. Which is older? Jeffrey or Ponderosa? That they are forms of one species I have no doubt, but which is the variety? How long Jeffrey has been established upon these volcanic tablelands I cannot tell, but the ground they now occupy was certainly bare and warm , while yet those portions of the mountains now occupied by Ponderosa were covered with ice. It therefore occurs to me that what I have been regarding as the outgoing variety, may really be the more ancient form of the species. The foliage of Jeff [Jeffrey] is grayer and longer, and the branches are thicker and much less divided and more upturned at the tips. I gathered cones 6 1/2 inches long, 4 1/2 dia[meter], rounded in outline, dark purple. Needles of the same tree 9 inches long, average about 8. The needles of Ponderosa about 5 inches. The most easterly limit of the species, far as I have found, is the Wasatch mountains. I noticed a few in a canon 15 or 20 miles Northeast of Beaver Utah. Williamson Spruce is abundant around the base of LassenΓÇÖs Butte What have you determined concerning old []? There is a Manzanita to the NE of Shasta on towards LassenΓÇÖs Butte that bears sweet dark brown berries nearly black. Found a fine new Yosemite Valley on Mid Fork K.R. Had good time with the Bidwells. What is Sir [JosephΓÇÖs] address. Happy New Year. Remember me to Mr. Gray. Ever Cordially yours, John Muir.


San Francisco [Calif.]

Date Original

1878 Jan 13


Original letter dimensions: 21 x 31

Resource Identifier

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Directors' Correspondence 199/310-311

File Identifier


Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

Documents reproduced with the kind permission of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

DC 199 f 310 image 2


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