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Letter 7202

Farrer, T. H. to Darwin, C. R.

26 May 1870

Summary

Not discouraged by F. Müller’s Passiflora.

Observations on insects visiting barberries.

Transcription

Abinger Hall, | Reigate.(Post Town) | Gomshall(Station) S.E.R.

26. May/70

My dear Mr Darwin

I am not discouraged by M. Müller’s Passiflora.f1 It is verydifficult to judge of a dried specimen   But so far as I can seethe corona belongs to a different type, of which, according to engravingswe have some kinds in this country, where the corona is not so regular,so stiff, & so grating like, as in P. Cærulea &c.f2 What it meansis a different question.

I have been interested in watching the common Berberis (barberry),f3much visited by bees, wasps, hornets & flies. Old Sprengel is accurate& quaint as usual, but, I think has not gone quite far enough.f4 Heassumes that the stamens move, when touched by insects, so as tobring the open anthers in contact with the viscid edge of the stigma.This however does not explain the undoubtable fact that the stamensdo not continue appressed to the stigma, but, under this sun,quickly recover their old places, ready, when there is more nectarand another insect, again to spring forward. If the end is to placethe pollen on successive insects, ready to be carried by eachto another flower, this double motion becomes intelligible

Sincerely yours | T H Farrer

I have sent some of Mullers seeds to Kew & to the Regents ParkGardens, besides sowing some heref5

DAR 164: 63

true

Footnotes

f1
Farrer refers to Fritz Müller and to a dried flower of aPassiflora that Müller had sent from Brazil (see letter toT. H. Farrer, 13 [May 1870]).
f2
See letter to T. H. Farrer, 13 [May 1870] and n. 3. Passifloracaerulea is the blue or common passion flower.
f3
Farrer refers to Berberis vulgaris.
f4
Christian Konrad Sprengel described his observations on Berberisvulgaris in Sprengel 1793, pp. 203–6.
f5
Farrer refers to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and to the BotanicGardens, Regent’s Park, London.
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