Field of Science

The true treasure of the North

GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! found in the Klondike river in the Yukon territory, Alaska. The news spread like wildfire, fueling the last great gold-rush of the United States in 1896-99.

Also French businessman Loicq de Lobel decided in 1898 to try his luck in the new world. Even if not directly interested in searching for gold, he hoped to make a living by selling equipment to the prospectors. So the family de Lobel, his wife and four children, following the famous Chilkoot Trail ventured into the northern wilderness, first by feet and later by boat. To distract herself from the perils of the voyage, de Loicq´s wife, which name is not recorded, botanized along the way. She collected for the very first time specimens of the endemic lady's-slipper orchid, Astralagus, bearberry, Epilobium, arnica and a blue-flowering bellflower.

 “… everywhere there were nice flowers, at our arrival at Glenora we found lots of flowering plants...”
The de Lobel family lived for a time in the Yukon territory, then moved to the Aleuten Islands, to finally return to France. The Klondike Gold Rush ended as suddenly as it began, only few found great riches and fortune. However the collected plants by the de Lobel became known as “Klondike River Herbarium” and represents still today a unique botanic treasure.


THINARD, F. (2013): Das Herbarium der Entdecker - Humboldt, Darwin & Co. - botanische Forscher und ihre Reisen. Haupt-Verlag: 168