Letter icon
Letter 3583

Darwin, C. R. to Oliver, Daniel

[before 11 June 1862]

    Summary Add

  • +

    Asa Gray approves of Orchids; his work on American species confirms CD's findings.


Dear Oliver.

I have been much pleased by the Zeitung for Müller describes exactly what I have seen, except that he overlooked the funny minute rudiments of petals. V. hirta belongs to type of V. odorata. Why I write is that you have marked ``your Regards'' on copy; but you do not mean me to keep copy? Does it not break set? I will keep it safe, & return it whenever you may have occasion to write

with many thanks.— yours very truly | C. Darwin

It is a pity that Müller did not know that the perfect flowers are fertile only when visited by Bees

P.S. By the way I must tell you that I had long letter from Asa Gray this morning, approving of my orchis book, & what is better comparing what I say with structure of living American allied orchids, & finds, as yet, all true. This pleases me much.— He likes the book, incomparably more than I ever ventured to hope.—

P.S. What a wonderful scheme of reference you must have, always to know, what & where has been written on any subject.—

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 3583.f1
    Dated by the reference to CD's having received a letter from Asa Gray, approving of Orchids, on the morning on which this letter was written (see n. 4, below); CD received Gray's letter of 18 May 1862, on or before 10 June (see letter to Asa Gray, 10--20 June [1862]). See also n. 2, below.
  • +
    f2 3583.f2
    Müller 1857; there is an annotated copy of this paper in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL. Oliver cited Daniel Ernst Müller's article on Viola hirta and V. odorata in his review of `Dimorphic condition in Primula' ([Oliver] 1862c, p. 239). See also letter from Daniel Oliver, 10 April 1862, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 May [1862].
  • +
    f3 3583.f3
    CD's copy of the issue of the Botanische Zeitung in which Müller 1857 appears is marked: `With DO's kind regards'.
  • +
    f4 3583.f4
    For Gray's reaction to the first half of Orchids (of which he read the proof-sheets), see the letter from Asa Gray, 18 May 1862; the portion of this letter written on 26 May (see letter to Asa Gray, 10--20 June [1862]) is missing. After sending him the proof-sheets, CD sent Gray a presentation copy of Orchids (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV).
Maximized view Print letter