To Asa Gray 19 April 1880
Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.
April 19th. 1880
My dear Gray
It was very good of you to send me Mr. Rattan’s letter which has interested me extremely. I suppose that I may give some of his statements. It seems almost certain that the protection of the plumule from frost has determined the curious mode of germination; & this agrees well with the drawing down in winter of so many seedlings by the contraction of their radicles. But I still think the protection of the enlarged roots from being devoured is probably a secondary advantage thus gained. The “crocks” explain the behaviour in your first case.
What a curious fact of Mr. Rattan’s,—that of the confluent petioles growing out horizontally without coming into contact with the bottom of the shallow box. From what I have observed with other seedlings I believe I understand the cause, but it is too long a story. I wish I had a score of germinating seeds to experimentise on.—
Very many thanks for P. Card about roots of Ipomœa leptophylla: I have tried in vain to get seeds of I. pandurata from Kew.
Ever yours very truly | Ch. Darwin
Mr Rattan seems to be a real good observer, & that is a rare species of animal.—
Thanks for the letter from Volney Rattan [see 12553].
Discusses protective adaptation of seedlings from frost.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Gray, Asa
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (BANC MSS 74/78 z)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12582,” accessed on 22 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-12582