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Letter 6783

Müller, J. F. T. to Darwin, C. R.

15 June 1869

    Summary Add

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    FM much gratified by the appearance of Für Darwin translation.

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    Discusses dimorphism in Rubiaceae.


Itajahy, Sa Catharina, Brazil

June 15. 1869.

My dear Sir.

I have been prevented from answering sooner your kind letters of March 14th and 18th by a botanical excursion, I made last month.

I do not know how to express my warm gratitude for all the pains, you have taken in the publication of the Translation of my little book, to which, after all, you attach far too much importance. The three copies have arrived here safely; many thanks for them. I have been much gratified by the appearance of the book in its English dress, as well as by the Translation, which appears to me to be very good. I have to thank you also for the reviews in the ``Athenæum'' and the ``Scientific Opinion'', which you have kindly sent me. I am sorry to learn from these reviews, that some expressions of mine have shocked the religious feelings of one of the reviewers. I should indeed have suppressed or modified some passages, before offering my book to English readers.—

As to Faramea, I am quite sure, that the two forms are really the long-styled and short-styled form of a single species. The plant is very common in my own forest, and after examining numerous specimens, I cannot find any difference between the two forms excepting those in the sexual organs. The size of the flowers varies much, but is not characteristic of either form. Some long-styled flowers, which I had fertilized artificially with pollen from the opposite form, are yielding fruits.— A second very beautiful species of the same genus which grows near the mouth of the Itajahy, is probably also dimorphic; I have hitherto examined the flowers of only one plant; these were longstyled and the styles as long as in the longstyled form of the first species.—

Many thanks for the Eschscholtzia—seeds, which will be sown in a few weeks.— It is curious to see, on what trifling circumstances fertility sometimes depends. Thus I have in my garden several specimens of an endemic Irideous plant (Cypella?), which I suspected to be self-sterile. I fertilized repeatedly numerous flowers with pollen of the same and of distinct plants, without obtaining a single pod. The unprotected flowers were regularly visited by insects; by these also, for months, did not yield a single fruit, when unexpectedly all the flowers, about 20 in number, which had opened on a certain day, produced fine pods. The plants have continued to flower after this time for many weeks, but without producing any more pods.—

That curious grass with spirally contracting barbs, the Streptochæta, appears to be extremely rare here. I have looked in vain for more specimens at different localities; that part of my forest, where I had found it first, had been cut down in the meantime; a single specimen, which I had planted in my garden, seems to thrive well and will, I hope, furnish me with an opportunity of settling the points to which you allude in your letter.

From seeds of a long-styled white Oxalis, legitimately fertilised with pollen of the longer stamens of the mid-styled form I raised some plants; 8 of these have hitherto

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 6783.f1
    See letters to Fritz Müller, 14 March 1869 and 18 March 1869. In a letter of 12 June 1869, Müller told his brother, Hermann Müller, that he had travelled to the furthest part of his land to get supplies of garlic vine (Pseudocalymma alliaceum) to use as rope for his garden fences (Möller ed. 1915--21, 2: 158).
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    f2 6783.f2
    Müller refers to the translation of his book Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864a) into English as Facts and arguments for Darwin (Dallas trans. 1869; see letter to Fritz Müller, 14 March 1869).
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    f3 6783.f3
    The review in the 21 April 1869 issue of Scientific Opinion (Anon. 1869b) was positive, but the one in the 27 March 1869 issue of the Athenæum was critical, and the author remarked, `It is to be feared that Dr. Müller's moral code is rather Crustacean than Christian' ([Leifchild] 1869). The reviewer, John R. Leifchild, had written a review of Origin for the Athenæum that CD found unfair `under a theological point of view' (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to C. S. Wedgwood, [after 21 November 1859]). In his letter to his brother Hermann, Müller confided that he thought the remark about his moral code a rather good joke (Möller ed. 1915--21, 2: 158).
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    f4 6783.f4
    See letter to Fritz Müller, 14 March 1869 and n. 9.
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    f5 6783.f5
    CD refers to Eschscholzia californica (California poppy); see letter to Fritz Müller, 14 March 1869.
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    f6 6783.f6
    Cypella is a South American genus of the family Iridaceae. Müller later published observations on two species of Cypella in `Biologische Beobachtungen an Blumen Südbrasiliens' (F. Müller 1883).
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    f7 6783.f7
    See letter from Fritz Müller, 12 January 1869 and nn. 3--5, and letter to Fritz Müller, 14 March 1869 and n. 13.
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    f8 6783.f8
    CD's notes are for his reply to Müller of 8 September [1869]; he refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker and Eduard Claparède. Müller discussed a monstrous begonia in his letter to CD of 14 March 1869. The butterfly genus Peridromia is now Hamadryas (LepIndex).
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