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Letter 2952

Darwin, C. R. to Oliver, Daniel

[17 Oct 1860]

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    The best way to see cell movement in Drosera hair, is to cut off those lately inflected over a fly, sketch shape of red matter under high power, and repeat after one or two minutes.


15. M. P. | Eastbourne


My dear Sir

Just received your letter. which I have hardly read— I write before morning post, to say, that I did not suppose you would care to look at the movement in Drosera; (I am very glad), else I would have told best way, viz to take Hairs lately inflected over a fly, cut off, & put either dry or in water between glass, under high power (14 object) make a sketch of shape of red matter, & look again in 1 or 2 minutes.— There is, also, sometimes a strong circulation in the cells.—   I refer to cells of footstalk of round-headed marginal Hairs—

Yours [illeg] | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2952.f1
    Dated by the relationship to the letters to Daniel Oliver, 14 October [1860], 17 October [1860], and 20 October [1860], in which CD suggested experiments on Dionaea that Oliver might perform. The letter from Daniel Oliver, [before 23 October 1860], and the letter to Daniel Oliver, 23 [October] 1860, indicate that Oliver had not yet mentioned to CD that he intended to undertake such experiments. By the time that CD wrote the letter to Daniel Oliver, 3 November [1860], CD knew that Oliver also intended to look for the `moving red matter' in the cells of Drosera rotundifolia (see n. 3, below).
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    f2 2952.f2
    Oliver's letter has not been found.
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    f3 2952.f3
    CD had asked Oliver to examine actively functioning cells of Dionaea muscipula in order to substantiate his descriptions of a process that appeared to be connected with the plant's metabolism. CD told Oliver about a similar process that he had first observed in leaves of Drosera rotundifolia. See letters to Daniel Oliver, 14 October [1860], 17 October [1860], and 20 October [1860].
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