From Thomas Bell Salter 25 June 1855
June 25. 1855
My dear Sir
I was very happy to receive your letter & so far from any apology being needful, I thank you for this step towards an acquaintancy which I may hope some day to make more fully.
I have not carried my little experiments any further. They had been discontinued long before I read that little paper to our local Philosophical Society, 1 but I felt that they ought to be recorded before they became forgott〈en.〉 The Geum rivale in my garden was itself very little disposed to seed— I have an idea that it only seeded when fertilized with foreign pollen but the resulting hybrid is very fertile & has abundantly seeded ever since & the seedlings have come up by thousands—2 I have to this day growing plants and as the situation is always changing it is obvious they must be new plants. They all seed immensely & are precisely the same as the first crop of plan〈ts.〉
〈Th〉us the G. rivale fertilise〈 〉 〈 〉 the number of seeds is certainly vastly more than in the G. rivale,—if these were 〈 〉 〈mature〉 in that plant which has since died away,—but not quite so many as in G. urbanum which I have since brought into the garden.3
Epilobium Montano-tetragonum is also very prolific but I cannot speak of number of seeds— I observed the generations by saving seed to the fourth year & since that they take their chance so that the hybrids, now coming up may be only the 2d generation or that of any other subsequent number.
I shall be happy to send you 〈 〉eum & capsules of Epilobium when ripe— I hope you will sow them & see the plants.
I think I might have obtained hybrid seeds of Linaria if I had tried the pollen of L. repens on the stigma of L. vulgaris instead of the reverse which is what I attempted—4 In the garden the plants of L. repens creep so prodigeously that they have still chance for perfecting seed.
I remain, dear Sir | Very faithfully yours | T. Bell Salter C. Darwin Esq.
Discusses hybrid plants he has raised, particularly hybrids between Geum urbanum and G. rivale, which are very fertile and exhibit great variability. [See Natural selection, p. 102.]
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1703,” accessed on 22 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1703