Letter icon
Letter 2987

Darwin, C. R. to Oliver, Daniel

[21 Nov 1860]

    Summary Add

  • +

    The plant CD's father called "flycatcher" was not Asclepias.



My dear Mr Oliver.—

Thank you for your note— I do not think the plant can be an Asclepias: as far as my memory serves the flowers were very simple & I think the proboscis was caught between stamens & pistil. The minute white or very pale pink flowers were not in trusses or umbels. I have seen the plant fairly studded with captured flies. My Father called it the Fly-catcher. It died down in winter. The leaves were narrow.— stem thin, much branched smooth & I think slightly succulent. You did send me the curious account of Asclepias, which surprises me much, considering R. Browns paper on importance of insects in its fertilisation.— The conferva seems a good suggestion.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

In the Fly-catcher the orifice of corolla was small.—   It is odd that such a plant shd. not be in Kew.—   It lived 30 years ago for very many years in my Father's flower-garden.— Would you ask Sir William if he can recognise my vague account?

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 2987.f1
    The note seems to be the `scrap' referred to in the preceding letter.
  • +
    f2 2987.f2
    Oliver's letter has not been found.
  • +
    f3 2987.f3
    CD had asked Oliver whether he could identify a plant that had grown in Robert Waring Darwin's garden (letter to Daniel Oliver, 16 November [1860]).
  • +
    f4 2987.f4
    Brown 1833. There is a lightly annotated copy of the paper in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL.
  • +
    f5 2987.f5
    William Jackson Hooker. The `Fly-catcher' was a species of dogbane, Apocynum androsaemifolium. See letter from Daniel Oliver, 23 November 1860.
Maximized view Print letter