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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-1699

To M. J. Berkeley   12 June [1855]

Down Farnborough Kent

June 12th

My dear Sir

I am extremely much obliged to you for your note with your account of your experiments in the salting line.— Your approbation in the Gardener’s Chron. has been a great satisfaction to me, & has stimulated me to go on trying.1

I hope you will state in Gardeners’ Chron. (or to me) whether the seeds which were left for 5 days were quite wet or became partially dry: in the former case it might, I shd. think be counted as part of the immersion.2

I had begun to try whether by drying the seeds for a week after immersion, whether they wd. then germinate; but this day I have had a most provoking accident in a set of seeds, which had soaked for 8 & 10 weeks (& those which had been dryed) having been allowed to get dry in the glasses, owing to one day’s omission of looking at them, & I fear they are assuredly all killed. I may just mention that some of my seeds have germinated after 56 days immersion. By the way, I may mention, that when the seeds are come to nearly their full period of endurance: their germination becomes much delayed sometimes.

Hooker seems much interested in these experiments; but they seem to have had very little influence, or no influence, in making him think that plants thus get distributed, which I am rather surprised at; & I shd. like sometime very much to hear your opinion on this head.

With very sincere thanks, pray believe me Your’s very sincerely | C. Darwin

Your Peas have come up capitally3

Footnotes

1
In the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 17, 28 April 1855, p. 278, Berkeley had described his own experiments and urged others to undertake similar investigations.
2
Berkeley did not discuss this point in his report in Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 35, 1 September 1855, p. 580. In CD’s report of his own and Berkeley’s experiments, ‘On the action of sea-water on the germination of seeds’ (Collected papers 1: 264–73), CD included this period in the total time of immersion.
3
See letters to M. J. Berkeley, 7 April [1855] and 11 April [1855]. CD’s notes on his observations on peas and other vegetables, made between March and September 1855, are in DAR 46.2: 1–26.

Summary

Thanks for approval of seed-soaking experiments in Gardeners’ Chronicle ["Does sea-water kill seeds?", 26 May 1855; Collected papers 1: 255–8]. They seem not to have convinced Hooker of consequences for geographical distribution.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-1699
From
Darwin, C. R.
To
Berkeley, M. J.
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Shropshire Archives (SA 6001/134/43)
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1699,” accessed on 25 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1699

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