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Letter 2716

Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D.

[26 Feb or 4 Mar 1860]

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    Summary Add

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    Asks JDH for some Goodenia.

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    Suggests Daniel Oliver try to cross Mimosa, noted for sterility.



Sunday night.

My dear Hooker

I forgot in this morning's note to say that I have tried in vain to get any Goodenia from large nursery here.—   If you have any plant which you can perfectly spare & would send it as by enclosed address.— But it does not of course really at all signify; as it half mere amusement— —

Do get some of your men (is Mr Oliver to whom you alluded one of them?) to cross with distinct individual 2 or 3 times in morning a bunch of flowers of some healthy Australian mimosa. perhaps also Eucalyptus    I see in Lecoq's work he speaks of sterility of the group under culture; it may possibly be from want of crossing; but not probably.

Remind your man that the stigma may be ready after or before pollen of own flower is shed.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2716.f1
    Dated by the relationship to the preceding letter, also written on a Sunday. However, the reference to `Mr Oliver' links the letter with that written to Hooker on Saturday, 3 March [1860]. The Goodenia plants referred to in the letter arrived at Down House on 9 March (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 12 March [1860]).
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    f2 2716.f2
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, [22 January 1860]. Plants of the genus Goodenia have flowers with a cup immediately under the stigma into which the pollen drops before the flower opens. CD wished to investigate the mechanism by which insects might bring about pollination and any adaptations exhibited by the flowers that might facilitate this process. However, Hooker could only supply plants of the closely related genus Leschenaultia. See letters to J. D. Hooker, 12 March [1860] and 18 April [1860].
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    f3 2716.f3
    Daniel Oliver was an assistant in the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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    f4 2716.f4
    CD refers to Lecoq 1845, pp. 103--4. CD's annotated copy of this work is in the Darwin Library--CUL.
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