A poser: carbonate of soda produces inflection rather than contraction in Drosera. Possible solution: glands at end of hairs absorb as well as secrete. Fascinated by currents in cells after inflection.
15 Marine Parade | Eastbourne
My dear Sir
I thank you for two notes. It was a capital thought your sending me the gum itself (so ingeniously bottled or quilled); I tried it on 3 leaves, & it produced no effect; & I tried thicker gum on 5 other leaves with no effect, & I subsequently proved that these leaves were good ones. If a leaf is feeble & does not secrete copiously, the gum dries & draws together all the hairs which it has touched; & this, I imagine, must have been cause of the apparent inflection in your case. At last I have come to a puzzler, for I find Carb. of Soda causes inflection; but I have sent to London for pure C. of soda, & as that sold by Druggists is not pure. But I strongly suspect I have come across a poser. I am, however, trying my experiments in another fashion, which may throw light on subject.— I find the glands at end of Hairs are absorbers as well as secreters. The change which takes place in the Hairs after inflection is very curious. The currents & movements in the cells strike me in my ignorance as marvellous.—
You are very kind in your second note to say that I must not apologise for all the
trouble which I have caused; but pray thank M
I am very glad to hear that you are experimentising on the leaves in water. I have long thought that naturalists make far too few experiments.—
My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
Do you possess a copy of my ``Origin of Species''; if you do not, I should much like to have the pleasure of sending you one.—
- f1 2939.f1Dated by the relationship to the letters from Daniel Oliver, 19 September 1860 and 25 September 1860.
- f2 2939.f2The notes from Oliver have not been found.
- f3 2939.f3See letter from Daniel Oliver, 25 September 1860, and letter to Daniel Oliver, 27 [September 1860]. CD's notes on his experiments are in DAR 60.1: 110.
- f4 2939.f4CD's first experiments on Drosera had led him to expect to find that only nitrogenous substances would stimulate inflection of the leaf-hairs.
- f5 2939.f5Charles William Crocker was foreman of the propagating department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. See letter to Daniel Oliver, 15 [September 1860].
- f6 2939.f6William Jackson Hooker was the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. See letter to Daniel Oliver, [29 September 1860].
- f7 2939.f7According to a note by Francis Wall Oliver (Daniel Oliver's son) added to the typed copy he made of this letter, CD subsequently sent Oliver a copy of the first edition of Origin with a `letter of dedication'. However, this would appear to be in error: see second letter to Daniel Oliver, 12 [October 1860], and Appendix III. The letter of dedication recalled by F. W. Oliver may relate to the copy of Journal of researches that CD sent Oliver later in October.