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Letter 2098

Gray, Asa to Darwin, C. R.

1 June 1857

    Summary Add

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    Comments on species with disjoined ranges; does not feel, despite CD's expectations, that they tend to belong to small families.

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    Gives the proportion of U. S. trees in which the sexes are separate [see Natural selection, p. 62].

Transcription

Cambridge, Mass. U.S.A.

June 1st, 1857

My Dear Darwin

Yours of the 9th came last week.

I do not wonder you were somewhat puzzled to make out just the 49 species spoken of in my note p. 387. It was a clear mistake my speaking of 6 species of Carex as belonging to 1st & 2d heads—as evidently there are only three of the 1st head and none of the 2d

I mail you a fresh copy of the article, with the 49 species I must have had in view marked with a — in pencil.—

The 49 or rather 50, species belong to 46 genera,—which is as you would have it.—

I did not know at all that you suspected disjoined species to belong to small genera & small orders, as a general thing.

The monotypic genera of these 50 species are— Brasenia, Hippuris, Cryptotænia, Crantzia, Phryma, Monotropa (in the restricted sense) Anacharis(?) Hemicarpha(?), Zannichellia(?), Camptosorus.

The only good-sized genera are Anemone, Silene (S. Antirrhina is diffused as a weed & by the agency of man?) Cerastium, Potentilla, Plantago, Primula, Veronica, Carex, Poa, Festuca, Adiantum.

My 76 disjoined species belong to 34 families,—and I cannot see that they incline to belong to small families. diag 15 are Gramineæ which form 113 of our Flora.

18 ’ Cyperaceæ ’ 110

The 1 Leguminosa & 1 Composita are as you would like; but that is because these orders are remarkable for their species being of narrow range.

3 are Rosaceæ

2 ’ Scrophulariaceæ (the 1 orchid is to be erased)

3 ’ Ranunculaceæ. &c &c

6 ’ Umbelliferæramme

As to our trees, what proportion have flowers more or less separated. Number the orders on p. 400— 1. Magnoliaceæ, and so on. And append diag p.= polygamous more or less. m = monœcious d = diœcious.

separated flowers 1. Magnoliaceæ 0 2 — 0 3 — 0 4 — 0 5 — 1 p 6 — 8 p. 7 — 2 d 8 — 0 9 — 1 m 10 — 1 p 11 — 2 p. d. 12 0 13 0 14 1-p 15 1 p 16 0 17 — 7 p. d. 18 — 2 p 19 — 8 p. d. 20 — 1 m 21 — 9 m 22 — 21 m. 23 — 5 m. 24 7 d 25 Coniferæ— 18 m. d.ramme

Out of 132 trees, those with separated flowers more or less—are 95.—and for the greater part very decidedly separated.

I must think it by chance—that your introduced plants are in so near the proportion by families that the indigenous species are. diag Indigenous Introduced Our Compositæ 18 — nearly 110.

’ Cyperaceæ 110[160]

’ Gramineæ 11318

’ Leguminosæ 124118

’ Rosaceæ 129152. &

’ Orchidaceæ – 0

’ Ranunculaceæ 143143 but ’ Labiatæ 143111!ramme

I am very glad if my published notes or my jottings are of any use to you.

This is my season of greatest and most distracting occupation. I shall have no article in the July no. of Sill. Journal—nor in the Sept. either, I fear.

I wrote—or rather despatched a letter to you last week—— Watson's memoranda will be sent back to you a week or two hence—

Ever Yours | A. Gray

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 2098.f1
    See letter to Asa Gray, 9 May [1857].
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    f2 2098.f2
    See letters to Asa Gray, 1 January [1857] and [after 15 March 1857]. Gray refers to his tabulation of the trees of the northern United States in A. Gray 1856–7, p. 400.
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    f3 2098.f3
    See letter to Asa Gray, 9 May [1857].
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    f4 2098.f4
    See letter from Asa Gray, [c. 24 May 1857].
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    f5 2098.f5
    See letter to Asa Gray, [after 15 March 1857], in which CD enclosed some notes and a letter from Hewett Cottrell Watson.
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    f6 2098.f6
    A. Gray 1856–7. See n. 2, above.
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