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Letter 12357

Darwin, C. R. to Gray, Asa

16 Dec 1879

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    Thanks for AG's trouble about the seeds. Is curious to see their germination and the early seedling growth.

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    Asks for cotton seeds, as he observes odd movements of the cotyledon.

Transcription

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

Dec. 16 1879

My dear Gray

It is uncommonly good of you to have taken so much trouble about the seeds; but it makes me feel rather guilty, for though I was very curious to see them germinate, yet the points in question were not of much importance. Ipomœa leptophylla has not yet germinated, but I have a good many seeds to sow again in the early spring, if those already sown do not germinate; & I have often suspected that some kinds of seeds have an obstinate inherited habit of not germinating & dying if sown in the winter.— I have just put 5 of the seeds of Megarrhiza to soak, but only one sinks & this alarms me.— I very much want to see whether the curious heel-like projection at the base of the hypocotyledonous stem, described by Flahault, & which splits the seed-coats so beautifully in other Cucurbitaceæ, is here absent, as I hope & as ought to be the case as the cotyledons are not withdrawn from the seed-coats.

Now do not waste your very valuable time, but if you cd. easily send me a score of seeds of the common cotton (Gossypium), I shd. be glad; for oddly enough I can get no seeds in England. They have written for me to abroad from Kew, but seem doubtful of the result.— The cotyledons behave oddly at night, for when old & only when old they sink downwards, & I did not when I had seedlings investigate the point sufficiently.

Ever yours very truly | Ch. Darwin

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