Comments on a case of crossing distant plants of Habenaria
and on hermaphroditism in hybrid plants.
Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S. E.
My dear Sir
The case of the Habenaria is very interesting as shewing how distant plants may be crossed; & I wish I had known of it before drawing up the notes of which I send a copy by this post.
The Lychnis-case well deserves investigation; but I doubt whether
the bi-sexual condition can be the result of crossing (tho' this w
If the smaller grains of pollen are of equal size & really sound,
Your hermaphrodite plants ought all to be transplanted into a garden, carefully observed, the small-grained pollen experimented on, with insects, of course, carefully excluded.
This is what I sh
Pray believe me | My dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin
- f1 6961a.f1The date range is established by the form of the address with `Bromley' crossed out and `Beckenham' added, which CD used between April 1869 and May 1871.
- f2 6961a.f2The notes CD sent have not been identified. CD's notes on the floral morphology of Habenaria (bog orchids) are in DAR 205.8: 9--10. The species of Habenaria studied by CD are now in the genera Platanthera and Coeloglossum, both known to hybridise intergenerically in nature (see Orchids, pp. 76--8, 83--92, and Dressler 1981, p. 189).
- f3 6961a.f3Lychnis is the genus of campions. For Karl Friedrich von Gärtner's results in crossing different species of Lychnis, see Gärtner 1849, pp. 218--19 (see also Natural selection, pp. 393--4).
- f4 6961a.f4For more on CD's interest in rudimentary sexual organs found in flowers of Lychnis dioica (now Silene dioica, red campion), see Correspondence vols. 9 and 10. In Cross and self fertilisation, pp. 410--11, CD discussed the possible causes for the separation of sexes in L. dioica.
- f5 6961a.f5The diagram has not been found.