Discusses the flora of Porto Santo in relation to that of Madeira. While these islands have some 20 endemic species in common, there are 7 or 8 species endemic to Porto Santo alone, and 25 common to Porto Santo and Europe that are not found on Madeira. Believes the great difference in soil and climate is enough to explain this: plants common on one island cannot be made to grow on the other. Believes J. D. Hooker has underestimated the number of species endemic to Madeira. There are some remarkable endemic species of common plants in the Dezertas.
The eel is the only freshwater fish on Porto Santo and Madeira.
12 April '56
The Flora of Porto S
- Of these, 7 or 8 are certainly, and one or 2 others
doubtfully endemic—the doubt arising from difficulty of ascertaining
identity of species— 3 or 4 of the 7 or
8 are sufficiently striking and abundantly growing plants. 2 or
3 represent Mad
n endemic sp: 2 or 3 are more of the nature of “weeds”.
- Of plants common to P
oS o& Mad: but not hitherto found elsewhere, there are 20 or 21, perfectly certain, and 3 others doubtful.
- Again, of plants common to P
oS o and other countries (mainland) of Europe, but not found at all in Mad a there are 25 certain & 4 doubtful.
- Lastly, of plants common to P
oS o and other countries (mainland) of Europe, but very rare in Mad a there are 6, to which may perhaps be added 2, which are indeed only at this day occasional garden plants in Mad a , whence they were introduced in 1834, into P o S o which they have now completely overspread! One of these is a Tamarix, (T. orientalis L.?); and the other is the Hottentot Fig, (Mesembryanthemum edule L.)
Of classes 3 & 4, almost all are common European “weeds”,
proving of course little any way. And let me add, that the very peculiar nature of the
soil & climate of P
This may be useful as a caution against attributing too much in this particular case to other possible modifying general causes or influences.
Hooker has I think considerably underrated the number of good endemic species
in Madeira, which exclusive entirely of
There are very many common endemic species in Madeira not occurring in
In the Dezertas there are 3 very remarkable endemic common plants,
one forming a new genus of Umbelliferae; another a
new genus of Gramineae; the 3
There is no freshwater fish in P
- f1 1852a.f1The original manuscript of this letter has not been found, but there is a copy by Charles Lyell in his ‘scientific journals’ (Wilson ed. 1970, pp. 53–4). Lyell visited CD at Down House from 13 to 16 April 1856, and the ‘Migration of Plants & Shells’ was one of the topics discussed, with particular reference to Madeira, which greatly interested Lyell (Wilson ed. 1970, pp. xlviii–xlvi, 52–5). CD's notes on their conversation about Madeiran shells, dated 16 April 1856, are in DAR 205.3 (Letters).
- f2 1852a.f2The date as given by Lyell.
- f3 1852a.f3CD's query probably concerned a point he had noted in his copy of A. de Candolle 1855, 2: 801:
Could I get list of Naturalised Plants from Lowe for Madeira … This wLowe was preparing a short catalogue of new species of plants found on Madeira for Hooker's Journal of Botany and Kew Garden Miscellany (Lowe 1856). The list includes species from Porto Santo, part of the Madeiran group of islands. dbe important as showing means of distribution, & as showing inhabitants of islands not well adapted.
- f4 1852a.f4W. J. Hooker and J. D. Hooker 1847.
- f5 1852a.f5The genus was called Monizia by Lowe and described in Lowe 1856, pp. 295–6. It comprised only one species, Monizia edulis, found only on the island of Dezertas.
- f6 1852a.f6The genus was given the name Arthrochortus and described in Lowe 1856, pp. 301–2. Lowe considered the single species A. loliaceus to be intermediate between the genera Lolium and Lepturus.
- f7 1852a.f7Chrysanthemum haematomma, described in Lowe 1856, p. 296. It was distinguished from its nearest ally, C. pinnatifidum of Madeira, by the ‘dark blood-coloured florets’.