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Letter 4114

Darwin, C. R. to Scott, John

20 [June 1863]

    Summary Add

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    Glad to hear of JS's orchid paper [Trans. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh 7 (1863): 543–50].

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    Suggests experiments on peloria.

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    Wants to count seed of the self-fertile red cowslip with equal stamens and styles.

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    Can send account of Hottonia.




Dear Sir

I am poorly & must be brief— I am glad to hear about your orchid paper; by all means let me have copy for Dr. Hooker. It would be quite worth while to show that Gregoria is dimorphic & that Cortusa has the structure of one form alone.— I can give you a M.S. short account of structure of pollen &c of Hottonia.— You will thus make a fairly complete, & anyhow sufficient, account of Primulaceæ.— I know nothing of the genera to which you refer.— I would make all this part brief.—

I shall be very glad if you have time to try peloric Gloxinias & Antirhinum; I have got both: I mean to try peloric on self & on common flower: & conversely with other forms; so that there will be 4 crosses.— I doubt whether Pelargonium worth the labour; I have tried many crosses & can get no certain result—

Please save every capsule of the self-fertile variety of red cowslip with equal anthers & stamens; I shd. like to count the seeds in each capsule, if you do not yourself do it— In counting I find it safest plan to count all seeds, which are not manifestly bad; as this allows for partially unripe seed: of course it does not signify if same, as near as is possible, standard of goodness is used in all cases.—

Do not work too hard.—

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4114.f1
    The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Scott, 16 June [1863].
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    f2 4114.f2
    The references are to Scott 1863a and Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter from John Scott, 16 June [1863]).
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    f3 4114.f3
    See letter from John Scott, 16 June [1863] and nn. 14--16. The reference is to the paper Scott was preparing to write on the structure and functions of the reproductive organs in the Primulaceae (Scott 1864a).
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    f4 4114.f4
    Scott gave CD's results in Scott 1864a, pp. 78--9. See also letter to John Scott, 2 July [1863].
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    f5 4114.f5
    See letter from John Scott, 16 June [1863].
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    f6 4114.f6
    CD had been interested in carrying out experiments on the fertility of peloric flowers for some time (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 10, letter to M. T. Masters, 8 July [1862]), and had ordered plants of peloric varieties of Gloxinia and Antirrhinum at the end of 1862 (see ibid., letter to John Scott, 19 December [1862]). See also letter to Isaac Anderson-Henry, 20 January [1863], letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863], and Appendix VI. CD's experimental notes relating to peloric Antirrhinum majus, dated 26 June -- 20 July 1863, are in DAR 51: B18--19. CD described his experiments with A. majus in Variation 2: 70--1 and 166--7.
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    f7 4114.f7
    CD had carried out a number of crossing experiments with the normally sterile central peloric flowers of several varieties of Pelargonium in the summer of 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to Asa Gray, 1 July [1862], and the experimental notes in DAR 51: B4--9, B12--13). There is a further set of CD's experimental notes on peloric Pelargoniums, dated 15 May -- 20 July 1863, in DAR 51: B14--15. CD referred to his experiments on peloric Pelargoniums in Variation 2: 167.
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    f8 4114.f8
    See letter from John Scott, 21 May [1863]. Scott presented his results from this experiment, including a tally of the number of seeds produced, in Scott 1864a, p. 106.
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