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Letter 12582

Darwin, C. R. to Gray, Asa

19 Apr 1880

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    Thanks for the letter from Volney Rattan [see 12553].

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    Discusses protective adaptation of seedlings from frost.


Down Beckenham Kent

April 19th. 1880

My dear Gray

It was very good of you to send me Mr. $Rattan$'s letter which has interested me extremely. I suppose that I may give some of his statements. It seems almost certain that the protection of the plumule from frost has determined the curious mode of germination; & this agrees well with the drawing down {in winter} of so many seedlings by the contraction of their radicles. But I still think the protection of the enlarged roots from being devoured is probably a secondary advantage thus gained. The ``crocks'' explain the behaviour in your first case.

What a curious fact of Mr. Rattan's,—that of the confluent petioles growing {out} horizontally without coming into contact with the bottom of the shallow box. From what I have observed with other seedlings I believe I understand the cause, but it is too long a story. I wish I had a score of germinating seeds to experimentise on.—

Very many thanks for P. Card about roots of Ipomœa leptophylla: I have tried in vain to get seeds of I. pandurata from Kew.

Ever yours very truly | Ch. Darwin

Mr Rattan seems to be a real good observer, & that is a rare species of animal.—

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