CD does not think he could be wrong about the stigma of Bolbophyllum.
Will not write up Drosera for years.
Praises JS's experiments. Invites him to send a paper to Linnean Society.
L. C. Treviranus says all species of Primula present two forms except P. longiflora.
Down Bromley Kent
Now for a few words on Science.— I do not think I could be mistaken about stigma of Bolbophyllum; I had the plant alive from Kew & watched many flowers. That is a most remarkable observation on foreign pollen emitting tubes, but not causing orifice to close: it would have been interesting to have observed how close an alliance of form would have acted on orifice of stigma.— It will probably be so many years, if ever, that I work up my observations on Drosera, that I will not trouble you to send your paper; for I could not now find time to read it.—
If you have spare copy of your Orchid paper, please send it; but do not get a copy of the Journal, for I can get one, & you must often want to buy Books.— Let me know when it is published.—
I have been glad to hear about Mercurialis; but I will not
accept your offer of seed on account of time, time, time, & weak health. For
same reason I must give up Primula matter. What a wonderful indefatigable worker you
are! You seem to have made a famous lot of interesting experiments. D. Beaton
once wrote that no man could cross any species of Primula, you have apparently proved
the contrary with a vengeance.— Your numerous
experiments seem very well selected, & you will exhaust the subject.—
Now when you have completed your work, you should draw up a paper well worth
publishing & give a list of all the dimorphic & non-dimorphic
forms. I can give you on authority of Prof. Treviranus in
Bot. Zeitung case of P. longiflora non-dimorphic.— I am surprised at your Cowslips in this state. Is it
a common yellow cowslip? I have seen Oxlips (which from some experiments I now look at
as certainly natural hybrids) in same state. If you think
Bot. Soc. of Edinburgh would not do justice & publish your paper; send
it to me to be communicated to the Linnean Soc
I will keep this letter till I hear from D
I shall be very glad if you try Passiflora.—
Your experiments on Primula seem so well chosen that whatever the result is; they will be of value. But always remember that not one naturalist out of a dozen cares for really philosophical experiments.
Dear Sir In Haste | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
- f1 4185.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters from John Scott, 21 May  and 22 May 1863.
- f2 4185.f2Scott had enclosed a note from his manuscript on orchid pollination (published as Scott 1863a) with his letter to CD of 21 May . Scott's study had led him to suspect that CD's observations on Bolbophyllum rhizophorae were anomalous. In Orchids, p. 170, CD had described how the stigma of B. rhizophorae would close after some time, even if not pollinated, something he had seen in no other orchid; the observation is repeated in Orchids 2d ed., p. 137. Joseph Dalton Hooker had sent CD a specimen from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in November 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9, letters to J. D. Hooker, 5 [November 1861] and 25 November ).
- f3 4185.f3See enclosure to the letter from John Scott, 21 May .
- f4 4185.f4Scott read a paper, `On the propagation and irritability of Drosera and Dionaea', before the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on 11 December 1862; only an abstract was published (Scott 1862b; see letter to John Scott, 2 May  and n. 10, and letter from John Scott, 21 May ). CD had carried out a series of experiments on Drosera and Dionaea between 1860 and 1862 (see Correspondence vols. 8--10); however, he decided to postpone this line of research until after Variation was completed (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to Edward Cresy, 15 September ). CD resumed his research on these plants in 1872, and Insectivorous plants was published in 1875; Scott's work on Drosera is cited on pp. 1--2 n. See also Correspondence vol. 10, letter to John Scott, 11 December  and n. 10.
- f5 4185.f5Scott sent CD an abstract of his paper on orchids with his letter of 28 May . The paper, which was read before the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on 14 May 1863, was later published in full as Scott 1863a. Scott sent a copy of Scott 1863a in July (see letter to John Scott, 1 and 3 August ); it is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL.
- f6 4185.f6Scott apparently sent observations on Mercurialis in the missing section of his letter to CD of 21 May .
- f7 4185.f7Probably a reference to Donald Beaton's statement that polyanthuses (a member of the genus Primula) could not be crossed (Cottage Gardener, 5 June 1860, p. 150, and 3 July 1860, pp. 200--11). CD marked the statement in his unbound copy of the Cottage Gardener, which is in the Darwin Library--CUL. Beaton was a gardener and regular contributor to the journal (R. Desmond 1994). See also Appendix V. Scott discussed his crossing experiments with Primula in his letter to CD of 21 May . Scott had been corresponding with CD on Primula since November 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 10).
- f8 4185.f8CD communicated Scott's observations on dimorphic and `non-dimorphic' species of Primula to the Linnean Society (Scott 1864a). The paper, which was read on 4 February 1864, contained lists of dimorphic, short-styled, long-styled, and `non-dimorphic species' (Scott 1864a, p. 80).
- f9 4185.f9In his review of `Dimorphic condition in Primula' (Treviranus 1863a, p. 4), Ludolph Christian Treviranus stated that Primula longiflora was non-dimorphic. Treviranus sent this review to CD in February (see letter from L. C. Treviranus, 12 February 1863). CD's annotated copy of Treviranus 1863a is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL; at the head of the fourth page, CD noted that according to Treviranus, P. longiflora was found `alone' and that it was `nondimorphic' and `shortstyled'. However, see the letter to John Scott, 25 [July 1863]. See also letter to Daniel Oliver, 20 [February 1863], and letter from Daniel Oliver, 27 February 1863.
- f10 4185.f10See letter from John Scott, 21 May .
- f11 4185.f11The oxlips referred to are apparently those described in DAR 108: 24b. CD's experiments with cowslips and primroses (Primula veris and P. vulgaris) had led him to conclude that the common oxlip was a hybrid produced as a result of cross-pollination between these two species (`Dimorphic condition in Primula', pp. 93--4, Collected papers 2: 60--1). See also Correspondence vol. 10, letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 [October 1862] and n. 14, letter to John Scott, 3 December  and nn. 13--15, and this volume, letter to John Scott, 25 [July 1863]. CD published his results, based on experiments performed between 1862 and 1867, in `Specific difference in Primula', pp. 443--8. See also Forms of flowers, pp. 63--71.
- f12 4185.f12CD's experiments on the fertility of successive generations of Primula raised from homomorphic crosses were made with P. sinensis, P. vulgaris (acaulis), and P. veris (officinalis), and were carried out between 1862 and 1865. On the 1862 experiments, see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to Alphonse de Candolle, 17 June  and n. 2, letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 June  and n. 4, and letter to John Scott, 3 December  and n. 6. CD's notes on homomorphic crosses of P. sinensis and P. vulgaris, dated March--June 1863, are in DAR 108: 50--5 and 165--7. CD eventually concluded that successive generations of long-styled and short-styled forms of these species, when pollinated with own-form pollen, showed variable changes in fertility, from slightly lessened fertility to absolute sterility. The results were published in `Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants', pp. 410--37, which was read before the Linnean Society on 20 February 1868.
- f13 4185.f13Scott told CD of his intention to experiment on Passiflora in his letter of 21 May . CD, wishing to corroborate statements that some species of Passiflora could be fertilised more readily by different species than by their own pollen, suggested these experiments in 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 10, letters to John Scott, 19 November  and 11 December  and n. 21). Scott's experiments were published in Scott 1864d.
- f14 4185.f14The enclosure has not been found, but an indication of its contents is given in the letter from J. D. Hooker, [23--7 May 1863]. Scott had asked CD's advice on an appointment he had been offered in Darjeeling, India (see letter from John Scott, 22 May 1863, and letter to John Scott 23 May ).
- f15 4185.f15John Hutton Balfour was the keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh; James McNab was the curator (R. Desmond 1994).
- f16 4185.f16See letter from J. D. Hooker, [23--7 May 1863].