Whatever his faults, Thoreau was an accomplished naturalist. It doesn't really come through in Walden, but it's readily apparent in his appendix to The Maine Woods, where he catalogs the plants he saw on his trips there. It's a tour de force, complete with each plant's Latin name, common name, and a note or two on where it's usually found. It's rather like watching a good musician practice scales, while knowing full well that he or she has a virtuoso piece readily at hand.
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