Asks for information about birds eating berries of a mountain-ash.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Miss Holland—
About a year ago I heard indirectly from you about a Mountain-Ash, of which the berries
were greedily sought by Birds.— I
What birds are the eaters? Is there any difference in appearance of tree or berries? Do the berries taste differently to us? Are the berries ripe earlier than in other trees.— And any other particulars
Perhaps you would be so kind as to keep this note & read over my queries at time.—
Pray believe me | My dear Miss Holland | Yours very truly | Charles Darwin
- f1 2395.f1It has not been possible to identify Miss Holland (see n. 3, below). Mary, Lucy, Elizabeth, and Hannah Holland are listed as living in Knutsford, Cheshire (Post Office directory of Cheshire 1857).
- f2 2395.f2The date is suggested by a note dated April 1859 in which CD recorded the information referred to in the letter (see n. 3, below).
- f3 2395.f3A note by CD in DAR 46.1: 47 reads:
Ap. 28/59/ Amy tells me that at Knutsford she saw in Miss Hollands Garden the thrushes eating the fruit of one particular Mountain-ash, before that of any other tree; & was assured that this happened every year: this tree being cleared of its fruit, which no doubt was better; this tree is largely sowed by Birds: & so wCD refers to his niece Amy Wedgwood, the daughter of Francis (Frank) Wedgwood, and Frances Mosley Wedgwood. dbe favoured by being devoured.
- f4 2395.f4CD used this, or very similar, information in Variation 2: 230, although Miss Holland was not cited.