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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   11 July [1855]

Down Farnborough Kent

July 11th

My dear Henslow

As I see Babington makes some differences between Lychnis diurna & vespertina; & as he says that the red species is sometimes white, & white sometimes red,1 it strikes me as quite necessary that a good specimen, of the same plant from which the seeds were got or from same group of plants shd. be dried as a standard of comparison, shd. I succeed in making the seedlings from your seed sport & vary.— Do you not think that this will be quite necessary?— otherwise it will be asserted that it was a red var. of L. vespertina.

I have planted part of the seed in good sunny ground, & as soon as I can get young plants, I will begin to manure & torture them in every way, which I can think of.—

I have, also, some Myosotis in two situations; but I care most about the Lychnis, as Gærtner has laboriously experimented on its powers of crossing.2

Ever your’s most truly | C. Darwin

Do you think you could by any correspondent get me some seed of the wild Dianthus caryophyllus; I want some to try some experiments in hybridising, & I shd. likewise like to see whether I could break the plant & get pretty varieties.—

Footnotes

Babington 1851, pp. 45–6. See also letter to J. S. Henslow, 27 June [1855].
Gärtner 1849, pp. 218–19, discussed in Natural selection, pp. 393–4.

Summary

Asks for advice on establishing a control group in his experiments to produce sports and varieties of Lychnis diurna.

Seeks seeds of wild Dianthus for hybridising and producing varieties.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-1716
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 93: A38–A39
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1716,” accessed on 19 July 2018, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1716

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

letter