Asks DO to name enclosed Lythrum received from CD's sister-in-law [Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood]
Cliff Cottage | Bournemouth
My sister-in-law sent me several specimens dried of Lythrum hyssopifolium to compare
with the fresh specimen, which you kindly sent me, &
amongst them was the enclosed: it is clearly not L. hyssopifolium or
L. salicaria: it has 12 stamens, large petals, smooth calyx, &
flowers not in whorls. Could you find out its name? I fancy
the genus is not large. It is a European specimen. The specimen sent answers to the
``short-styled'' in L. salicaria, but differs in many important respects. The
stigma of ``mid-styled'' would not project beyond the calyx, & this perhaps led
old Vaucher (who always blunders when that is possible) to assert that some species are
dimorphic like Primula. It would be a very interesting aid to
me if you could name this species for me, & at same time, when you
find the specimens in the Herbarium, (if the species be not rare) pluck off a single
unopened flower from a few specimens, as I
I hope you will not think me very unreasonable to ask all this; for I hope & believe that the species of Lythrum are not numerous; & I have been much perplexed, how any of the species could be dimorphic, as old Vaucher says.—
Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
- f1 3720.f1The year is established by CD's reference to having received dried specimens of Lythrum hyssopifolia from Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood (see n. 2, below).
- f2 3720.f2The reference is to Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood; in DAR 27.2 (ser. 2): 14, there is a note by CD, dated 8 September 1862, which records:
Elizabeth sent me 3 specs of L. hyssopifolia from different countries these all agreed with Kew specimens; so that I have seen 4 specimens. *very improbably [del] *This species is probably not [interl] dimorphic.—These specimens are preserved in DAR 142 in a wrapper marked `Lythrum hyssopifolium from Elizabeth from 3 countries.—' Oliver had sent CD specimens of L. hyssopifolia from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with his letter of 4 September 1862; CD's notes on those specimens are in DAR 27.2 (ser. 2): 17.
- f3 3720.f3Oliver's reply to this letter has not been found. However, in DAR 21.2 (ser. 2): 14, CD noted:
E. sent me a 4The specimen is preserved in DAR 142 in a wrapper marked `Elizabeth W'; this was preserved, together with several other specimens of Lythrum Graefferi, in an envelope addressed to CD by Oliver, postmarked 16 September 1862, and annotated by CD `Lythrum Graefferi' (Calendar no. 13891f). See also letter to Daniel Oliver, [17 September 1862] and n. 2. thspec. *of L Graefferi (named at Kew) [interl] with larger leaves & larger petals & longer flowers than L. hyssopifolia; & differing quite in narrow smooth *& longer [interl] calyx from L. salicaria.—
- f4 3720.f4Vaucher 1841, 2: 371.
- f5 3720.f5See letter to Daniel Oliver, [17 September 1862] and n. 3.