Requests observations on Drosera and Dionaea,
and asks DO to look up Buchanan and Wight on insectivorous plants ["Conspectus of Indian Utricularia", Hooker's J. Bot. 1 (1849): 372–4].
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
There are two other points, on which I sh
Lastly would you look at the Dionæa (if you have living specimen) & observe whether the hairs are viscid, for it almost passes my belief that the leaf can snap so quick as to catch a fly, unless it be in some degree entangled: when a fly is caught it is said to be bathed with a secretion, as in case of our Drosera.—
Pray forgive me troubling you so much & believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin
P.S. I believe one of your Gardeners artificially stirred up pollen in the indusium of Leschenaultia formosa at my request. Will you ask whether it has made Pods. My plant has made pods on those flowers, which I thus treated. Whether my seeds will ripen I doubt, but I can see seeds through walls of pod.—
P.S. | I have written to Gardeners Chron. to ask for authority of movement of leaves of D. lunata.—
You will think it incredible but it is a fact that genererally
- f1 2913.f1Dated by the relationship to the letters to J. D. Hooker, 2 September  and 6 September .
- f2 2913.f2See letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 September .
- f3 2913.f3Lindley 1846, pp. 433--4. See letter to Gardeners' Chronicle, 15 [September 1860].
- f4 2913.f4Francis Hamilton Buchanan and Robert Wight were cited in Steudel 1841, p. 531, as the first to identify Drosera lunata. CD's copy of Steudel 1841 is in the Darwin Library--CUL. Buchanan and Wight were specialists in the flora of India. The point about which CD was inquiring is not discussed in Insectivorous plants.
- f5 2913.f5The Venus's fly-trap (Dionaea muscipula) is described in Insectivorous plants, pp. 286--320. CD states that the surface of the leaf of this plant is thickly covered with minute glands (ibid, p. 287). In addition, the leaves have several rows of sensitive filaments that `are not viscid, and the capture of insects can be assured only by their sensitiveness to a momentary touch, followed by the rapid closure of the lobes.' (ibid., p. 290).
- f6 2913.f6See letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 May .
- f7 2913.f7See letter to Gardeners' Chronicle, 15 [September 1860] and n. 3.
- f8 2913.f8CD's notes on experiments carried out in July, August, and September 1860, in which he tested the effects of various substances on the leaves of Drosera, are in DAR 60.1.