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Letter 10883

Darwin, C. R. to Gray, Asa

8 Mar 1877

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    Leucosmia burnettiana is in all probability dimorphic. Thinks Gilia is truly heterostyled and Phlox subulata was, perhaps, once heterostyled. Has good evidence of heterostyly in 39 genera from 14 families.

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Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

March 8th 77

My dear Gray

Perhaps you wd like to hear what little I have been able to make out about your flowers.

Leucosmia Burnettiana is in all probability dimorphic judging from relative length & positions of stamens & pistils, but more especially from difference in the stigmas of the 2 forms, but the pollen-grains do not differ in size, which is the best evidence.—

Gilia pulchella: the two forms differ in their stigmas & do not differ in their pollen-grains, & I shd. have left this case quite doubtful, had not G. micrantha differed in exactly the same manner in the stigma, & moreover in the diameter of the pollen-grains: therefore I do not doubt that both Gilias & others to which you allude are truly heterostyled.

Phlox subulata is a devil incarnate & as bad as Rhamnus: perhaps it was once heterstyled, with the short-styled form since rendered more feminine in nature. Altogether I now know on fairly good evidence of 39 genera, in 14 Families, which include heterstyled species. This pleases me.

It is dreadful work making out anything about dried flowers; I never look at one without feeling profound pity for all botanists, but I suppose you are used to it like eels to be skinned alive.—

With hearty thanks | Ever yours | Ch. Darwin

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