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Letter 1936

Henslow, J. S. to Darwin, C. R.

2 Aug 1856

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    One plant in self-sown patch of Aegilops has assumed a triticoidal character; JSH feels it may be an example of Aegilops passing to wheat.


Hitcham, Bildeston, Suffolk.

2 Aug 1856

My dear Darwin,

I go to town on Tuesday & on to Cheltenham on Thursday— Are you to be there? L. Jenyns writes me word he wants to get up a discussion about the limitation of species— He means to attack the subject thro' Ornithology. I have a case or two this year among plants—

I have clearly reduced Centaurea nigrescens or decipiens (of Bab. ) to C. nigra, after about 4 years culture— I think I told you I have had a small bed of Ægilops squarrosa self sown for the last 3 or 4 years— This year one plant in the very midst of the patch assumed the triticoidal character, which has been noticed in 2 other species— I have carefully netted it—& watched it but from its appearance I begin to fear it will not ripen any seed. I had fancied it to be a clear example of Ægilops passing to wheat—& certainly it is a most remarkable plant— It may however be a hybrid between the Ægilops & some revet wheat (?)— It is upright, & the ear has long straight awns & is quite downy. Would you like some seeds of the Ægilops now ripe? I have manured a piece of the border next the patch, & mean to extend my experiment next year over it— You have not told me yet what seeds you would like us to get for you— We have been in a greater

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1936.f1
    The British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting was held at Cheltenham, 6–13 August 1856. CD did not attend.
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    f2 1936.f2
    Leonard Jenyns read a paper at the British Association meeting entitled ‘On the variation of species’ (Jenyns 1856).
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    f3 1936.f3
    Described in Henslow 1856, a paper delivered at the British Association meeting in Cheltenham. See also letter from J. D. Hooker, 10 July 1856.
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    f4 1936.f4
    Charles Cardale Babington.
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    f5 1936.f5
    See letter from J. D. Hooker, 10 July 1856 and n. 6.
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    f6 1936.f6
    CD had sown seeds from the second generation of Henslow's experimental Aegilops in the spring of 1856 (see letter to J. S. Henslow, 6 August [1856] and n. 3).
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    f7 1936.f7
    Scraps marked ‘3’ frequently concern cross- and self-fertilisation and the number may have referred to chapter 3 of Natural selection, ‘On the possibility of all organic beings crossing’.
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