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Darwin Correspondence Project

From H. C. Watson   11 July [1855]

Thames Ditton

11 July

My dear Sir

Your list of Azore plants is re-enclosed.1 You will see by the Explanations on page 9 how far I have departed from your express direction. 2

Probably all the species which are indicated in Britain or Europe do occur in the Spanish peninsula; altho’ the want of full lists for it may leave several uncertain at present. I should guess that far the greater number of these had been carried to the Azore Isles by human agency. They are either annual weeds of the gardens & cultivated fields,—roadside plants,—or those used for some economic purpose. It seemed easier to write a list of the European species least likely to have been so introduced.3

Besides the Spanish peninsula or other part of Europe, the proximity of Madeira may render transit thence to Azore sufficiently probable.—

Sincerely Yours | Hewett Cl. Watson To | C. Darwin | Esq

CD annotations

crossed pencil
2.7 introduced.] ‘(This list is with papers for salting.—’4 added pencil


The list referred to is in DAR 73: 68–71a. It was begun by CD and completed by an amanuensis and comprises a list of Azores plants, omitting all aliens and species known to be introduced by man, drawn from H. C. Watson 1843–4 and 1847. To this list Watson added brief remarks on the geographical distribution outside the Azores and underlined and added symbols of his own devising that are explained in the letter (see n. 2, below).
On p. 9 of CD’s list (DAR 73: 71a), there is a paragraph in Watson’s hand explaining how he has marked the list. It reads: Explanations | List of Azore plants | Red line underneath the name indicates a species peculiar to the Isles, so far as known to H. C. Watson | Dots instead of lines indicate a species that is more or less probably=with a species found elsewhere, | ‘Madeira’, on faith of a mss list by Dr. C. Lemann | ‘Algiers’ on faith of Munby’s Flore d’Algerie | ‘Europe’ or ‘Britain’ on recollection by H.C.W. The former substituted if plants not reaching Britain. Watson’s note refers to Charles Morgan Lemann and Munby 1847.
This second list, in Watson’s hand, is headed ‘European Species in the List of Azore Plants, which may be deemed least likely to have been introduced with seed for fields or gardens, or more designedly.’ The list was enclosed with the letter and is preserved in DAR 205.4 (Letters). It contains 78 species.
The list is no longer with the notes on salting but is in DAR 205.4 (Letters).


Returns CD’s list of Azores plants with information on the distribution of the species added. Encloses a list, extracted from CD’s list, of those plants common to Europe and the Azores that were probably not introduced by man.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hewett Cottrell Watson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Thames Ditton
Source of text
DAR 181: 27
Physical description
2pp †, list 2pp †, CD list 10pp ††(by HCW)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1715,” accessed on 24 March 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5