CD not a good enough botanist to form a judgment of specimen. Does not understand whether CAJ supposes the variety to be a result of hybridism or of the present very hot summer, which CD cannot doubt will have an effect on some British plants in their struggle for life.
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E. [Freshwater]
I am much obliged for your note; but I am sorry to say
that I am not botanist sufficient to form a judgment on the
specimen which you have sent. I do not quite understand
whether you suppose that the variety is the result of
hybridism or of the present peculiar summer, but in any case
The thought had not occurred to me, but I dare say this very hot summer will have a marked effect on some British plants in their struggle for life. I am aware that this is a subject to which you have for many years attended, for I remember quoting from you a statement regarding the number, chiefly I think of leguminous plants, which you were able to cover under the circumference of your hat.
With my thanks for your kindness in writing to me, I remain Dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin
- f1 6312.f1The year is conjectured from the headed notepaper, which CD used between May 1861 and April 1869, and the reference to a hot summer; the summer of 1868 was unusually hot and dry (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 23 July  and n. 4).
- f2 6312.f2The letter from Johns has not been found in the Darwin Archive--CUL. The specimen has not been identified.
- f3 6312.f3In the Phytologist 2 (1845): 908, Johns said that species of leguminous plants grew so closely together at a spot near Land's End that he could cover growing specimens of eight of them with his hat. CD referred to Johns's observation in the manuscript of his `big book' on species (Natural selection, p. 230), as an exception to his rule that large numbers of closely allied forms did not tend to occupy the same area.