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Letter 5048

Henslow, George to Darwin, C. R.

7 Apr 1866

    Summary Add

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    Sends copies of Science gossip and The leisure hour.

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    Enjoyed visit.

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    His criticism of Primula fertility referred to table 2 [Collected papers 2: 56] where weight of seeds produced from good pods by long-styled homostylous cross and short-styled heterostylous cross are virtually identical.


10 South Crescent | Bedford Sq | W.C.

April 7th /66

My dear Sir

I send by this post a few copies of the ``Science Gossip'', which I happen to have as duplicates, so that you can obtain a knowledge of their General character. Also one or two Nos. of the Leisure Hour in which I have written short papers, that may perhaps interest you, as being connected with my fathers doings. Please to accept them. (One has not my name attached viz: ``Phosphate Nodules''.)—

I have already exhibited the Coryanthes—you so kindly gave me—to the delight & astonishment of several: it certainly is a most wonderful contrivance.

With regard to the remark I made about the relative Nos. expressive of the fertility of Primrose.— I was referring to the Tab. II p. 89. P. veris

By calculation

good pods Weight of seed in grains Long: styled as 100 to 42*

Homoc.) long styled) ` 100 ' 62

Heteroc.) Short styled:) ` 100 ' 30

Homoc.) Short styled) ` 100 ' 44*


Comparing these (*) it seems, they run very close! does that proportion mean that the seed from every 100 good pods weighed, on average (by calculation of course) 42 grains?

Again thanking you for a very pleasant visit last Monday,

Believe me | My dear Sir, | Yours very faithfully | Geo Henslow

C. Darwin Esq.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5048.f1
    Hardwicke's Science-Gossip: an Illustrated Medium of Interchange and Gossip for Students and Lovers of Nature was established in 1865. Published monthly, it was advertised as `a medium of exchange and Chit-chat … for lighter and more varied information', complementing the publisher's other journal, Popular Science Review (back page of issue 2).
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    f2 5048.f2
    Henslow's article `Phosphate nodules' described the introduction of phosphates as a manure for root crops by Henslow's father, John Stevens Henslow; it was published in Leisure Hour, 11 July 1863, pp. 436--8 ([Henslow] 1863). Henslow also refers to his signed article `The wild flowers of Shakespear', which appeared in Leisure Hour, 9 April 1864, pp. 229--31 (Henslow 1864).
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    f3 5048.f3
    CD probably gave Henslow a plant of the orchid genus Coryanthes when Henslow visited Down from 2 April 1866. CD had described Coryanthes in Orchids, pp. 277--8, remarking that drops of the secreted nectar were collected in the hollowed end of the labellum `just like a bucket suspended some way beneath a dripping spring of water'. The section on Coryanthes is considerably expanded in the second edition (Orchids 2d ed., pp. 173--6). See also Origin 4th ed., p. 230, `Fertilization of orchids', p. 151 (Collected papers 2: 153--4), and Correspondence vol. 12.
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    f4 5048.f4
    The table is an extract from table II in `Dimorphic condition in Primula', p. 89 (Collected papers 2: 56); the four lines show, successively, the results of pollination of long-styled flowers of Primula veris by own pollen and pollen from short-styled flowers, and of pollination of short-styled flowers by own pollen and pollen from long-styled flowers.
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    f5 5048.f5
    In `Dimorphic condition in Primula', p. 88 (Collected papers 2: 56), CD calculated that homomorphic unions yielded a weight of 35 grains of seed per 100 `good capsules', while heteromorphic unions yielded 54 grains. Henslow here shows that the difference is narrowed considerably if the second and third rows of results are omitted.
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    f6 5048.f6
    See n. 3, above.
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