Believes that, in Dicentra, Fumaria and Corydalis, flower structures are related directly to visits from bees. Flower stigmas generally are placed in the path of bees.
Has received paper from Wallace on natural selection; has sent abstract of his notions, with Wallace's paper, to Linnean Society.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Gray
I have not answered your note of May 21 for I have had death & illness & misery amongst my children. And we are all going immediately from home for some weeks.
With respect to Dicentra it is really pretty to watch the Humble Bees sucking first on
one or the other side of the several flowers; with their hind legs resting on the crests
of the hood formed by the inner united petals they push it to opposite side of flower,
& the straight pistil is rubbed against their abdomens & inner side of
thighs, which are white with pollen from the several flowers. It is impossible
but what the individuals of Dicentra must be largely crossed. Your Adlumia has not
flowered with me yet. In Fumaria & Corydalis we have another structure, viz
nectary on one side & here the pistil bends so that the 2 stigmas are
presented in the gangway to the one nectary; & the hood slips off easiest in
opposite direction, instead of equally easily to either side.
I suspect from my own few observations that the following rule may be
gen-eralised (& I shd
It is very unlikely, but if by any chance you have my little sketch of my notions of
“natural Selection” & would see whether it or my letter
bears any date, I shd
I have troubled you with a long story on this head; so pray forgive me & believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin.—
P.S | In regard to bent pistils & nectaries, I
- f1 2302.f1Gray's letter has not been found. From CD's remarks, it seems that CD had not yet received the letter from Asa Gray, 21 June 1858.
- f2 2302.f2CD and Emma left Down on 9 July 1858 and returned on 16 August (Emma Darwin's diary; ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
- f3 2302.f3See letter from Asa Gray, 21 June 1858.
- f4 2302.f4See Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Asa Gray, 5 September .
- f5 2302.f5See letter to Charles Lyell, 18 [June 1858]. Alfred Russel Wallace had set out for New Guinea on 25 March 1858. He returned to the island of Ternate three or four months later (Wallace 1905,1: 363–4).
- f6 2302.f6CD's and Wallace's papers had been read at a meeting of the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858. See letter from J. D. Hooker and Charles Lyell to the Linnean Society, 30 June 1858.