Fertilisation of barberries.
Is continuing his experiments on the comparative growth of crossed and self-fertilised plants.
Down. | Beckenham |Kent. S.E.
My dear Farrer
I suppose I must have known that the stamens reversed their formerposition in Berberis, for I formerly tried experiments withanæsthetics, but I had forgotten the fact, & I quite agree with youthat it is a sound argument that the movement is not forself-fertilisation.f2 The N. American barberries (mahonia) offer a goodproof to what an extent natural crossing goes on in this genus; for itnow almost impossible in the country to procure a true specimen of the2 or 3 forms originally introduced—f3
I hope the seeds of Passiflora will germinate, for the turning upof the pendent flower must be full of meaning.f4 I am so glad that youare able to occupy yourself a little with flowers: I am sure it is mostwise in you for your own sake & children’s sake.—f5
Some little time ago Delpino wrote to me praising the Swedishbook on the fertilisation of plants; as my son George can read alittle Swedish, I shd like to have it back for a time just to heara little what it is about, if you wd. be so kind as to returnit by book Post.—f6
I am going steadily on with my experiments on the comparative growthof crossed & self fertilised plants, & am now coming to some curiousanomalies & some interesting results.f7 I forget whether I showed youany of them when you were here for a few hours.—f8 You ought to seethem; as they explain at a glance why nature has taken such extraordinarypains to ensure frequent crosses between distinct individuals.
If in the course of the summer, you shd. feel any inclination tocome here for a day or two, I hope that you will propose to do so,for we shd. be delighted to see you; though, as you know, I cantalk with no one except for a very short time.—
Pray believe me | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
P.S | I remember years ago being surprised at observing that thepollen in the genus Hedaroma (or Darwinia)f9 is almost liquid viscid,& this seemed to me deserving examination. The plant is also ratherornamental & curious.