Wisconsin herbarium uncovers plant from field of Civil War battle

As men in blue and gray uniforms fell dead and artillery shells whistled overhead, Capt. b99397573z.1_20141129193040_000_gba8ste4.1-0John Cornelius McMullen noticed a flower growing outside his tent while his unit laid siege to Atlanta.

Despite the carnage all around him, or maybe because of it, McMullen marveled at the plant’s resilience and watched its leaves close at night and reopen as the sun rose each morning.

McMullen, who left Sheboygan Falls in September 1861 to join the 1st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, picked the plant, attached it to a piece of paper and wrote a note before sending it to a friend in Wisconsin. That friend was Increase Lapham, a famous scientist and naturalist whose thousands of plant specimens he collected mostly in Wisconsin formed what is now the Wisconsin State Herbarium on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Click here for more…

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