Rejects JDH's suggestion that seed-salting experiments be conducted on huge scale. Only wishes to demonstrate possibility of sea transport, not establishment of any particular insular flora. More seed results.
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Hooker
Thank you for your List of R.S. candidates, which will be very useful to me.—
I have thought a good deal about my salting experiments, & really think they
are worth pursuing to a certain extent, but I hardly see the use (at least the use
equivalent to the enormous labour) of trying the experiment on the immense scale
suggested by you.— I shd
I told you I had inserted notice in Gardeners Chronicle; & to day I have heard from Berkely that he has already sent an assortment of seeds to Margate for some friend to put in salt-water; so I suppose he thinks the experiment worth trying as he has thus so very promptly taken it into his own hands.— Reading this over it sounds as if I were offended!!! which I need not say is not so.—
I may just mention that the seeds mentioned in my former note have all germinated after 14 days immersion, except the cabbages all dead, & the Radishes have had their germination delayed & several I think dead; Cress still all most vigorous.— French Spinach, oats, barley, Canary-seed, Borage, Beet have germinated after 7 days immersion.—
It is quite surprising that the Radishes shd have grown, for the salt-water was putrid to an extent, which I cd not have thought credible had I not smelt it myself, as was the water with the cabbage-seed.—
Most truly your's | C. Darwin
I lean to the notion of taking the list of introduced plants in Asa Gray just as it stands, but wait till I hear from you to calculate: tell me whether you care to hear result.—
- f1 1669.f1See letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April , n. 1.
- f2 1669.f2Possibly the two catalogues issued in 1855 by John Cattell, seedsman in Westerham, Kent, which are preserved in DAR 46.2: 1–2. They are heavily annotated by CD in ink and pencil. See letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April , n. 6. There is no evidence that Hooker marked the lists.
- f3 1669.f3Miles Joseph Berkeley also sent a notice to the Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 17, 28 April 1855, p. 278. In his notice, Berkeley commented on CD's request for information and described experiments carried out by immersing bags of seeds in fresh sea-water. These experiments, carried out by a friend, George Henry Hoffman of Margate, were further reported in the Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 35, 1 September 1855, p. 580.