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Letter 10439

Treat, Mary to Darwin, C. R.

3 Apr 1876

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    Encloses Pinguicula specimens.

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    Believes she has found a new species of water-lily.


Green Cove Spring, Florida,

Apr. 3, 1876.

Dear Mr. Darwin—

I came to Florida in November last, and have been working on the carnivorous plants here. With this letter I send you pressed specimens of the Pinguiculas which I have worked with. I shall soon publish my observations, and will send them to you in print. I sent you Harper's Magazine for February containing my article entitled ``Is the Valve of the Utricularia sensitive''?

I think I have found two distinct species of Utricularia since I came here, one growing in a warm sulphur spring in beautifully clear water, this species has no antennae, but it is not at all like our U. purpurea, which you have noticed in the article I sent you.

But my greatest find has been a new water lily. It is really astonishing how it could have escaped the botanists. What have they been doing to let me come down here and find this beautiful lily? I enclose specimen of leaf. There are acres of it in extent growing in the bays and coves of the St. John's river. It is one of the most beautiful plants I ever beheld, and when I first saw it my heart fairly stood still. It cannot be a variety of Nymphaea, but a distinct species. The character of the plant is unlike our Nymphæa, and it produces large double yellow flowers. I have sent the plant to Dr. Gray, and asked him to give me directions to send it to Dr. Hooker. I sent it to Dr. Gray a week ago, but it takes so long for letters and packages to go from one end of the union to the other, that I grow impatient and write to you before hearing from him. If you are in communication with Dr. Hooker, please tell him about this water lily. I have transplanted it, and know that it will stand pretty rough treatment. It sends out runners, and even the little plants on the ends of the runners grow readily.

I have just met one of your countrymen and his charming wife—Mr. and Mrs. White who are traveling in this country. Mr. White is a member of Parliament and has traveled with Dr. Hooker. Mrs. W. is a good botanist, and is drawing and painting our Flora. I accompanied her in a row boat to this bed of water lilies, and she is to paint it for me.

Dr. Gray thinks that I have also found a distinct species of Amaryllis, it blooms some two months earlier than our A. atamasco, and the leaves are much longer and broader. It commenced blooming early in January and the leaves and flower-scapes are now dying down, and the bulbs are ripe, whereas our A. atamasco is now in full flower.

I remain here until about the 10th of May, when I shall return to to Vineland, N. Jersey.

Most sincerely yours, | Mary Treat,

P.S. As soon as I can press good specimens of the entire plant of the water lily—flowers roots & runners, I will send to you & Dr. Hooker if you desire.

P.S. You will not get a very good idea of the beauty of the leaf of the water lily from the pressed specimens, when fresh, it is very glossy, and finely blotched with red.

I enclose some of the larger leaves in the package with the Pinguiculas.


    Footnotes Add

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    f1 10439.f1
    This letter is not yet published in the edition of The correspondence of Charles Darwin; it is due to appear in volume 24. The text is being made available here ahead of print publication as part of the `Darwin and Gender' project funded by The Bonita Trust.
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