From J. D. Hooker 7 May 1856
My dear Darwin
Nymphæa seeds—we can get you plenty in Autumn if you will remind me.1
Ascenscion plants. I found only 3 or 4 native phænogams, & as many Ferns— I was wrong about the Rubiaceous genus & should have said Hedyotis (a very common trop. genus)— the plants are diag Euphorbia endemic
Aristida do. (grass.
& perhaps one or two Cyperaceæramme
The Ferns are generally not St Helena Species, but W. Indian— this is unaccountable.
Had the winds transported seeds at all there ought to be many common trop. weeds on the Mt. top—but I believe that every non endemic flowering plant of Ascenscion has been imported by man— all may be traced to the garden & houses, as far as I could detect.2
Scabiosa & Cnestis—the observations no doubt refer to species and not to individuals. I should rebut that the amount of albumen (perisperm) would be constant in the individuals of the species,—at least in some other exalbuminous orders in some few species of which I have found a little albumen (Compositæ & Halorageæ) I do not find the quantity variable3
Bentham did not cultivate the Dandelions (to which his observations refer) he watched the effects of light, shade, seasons &c on the forms (species of Dl.) growing about him at Montpellier.4
Seed of Glyceria fluitans is abundantly collected (from the wild plants) & eaten in Holland & Russia & exported also, being the true“Manna Croup”.—5 Zizania was & is eaten abundantly by N. Am Indians, but is not cult.6
Dréges Verseidinity is not a mere catalogue, but elaborate table of distributions hideously closely printed, & diabolically complicated—7 I doubt if you can get it in the Linnean, but I will lend you the Kew copy for a fortnight or month if you would care for it diag in Russia
Oxlip—Caucasus to lat of Moscow.—
Cowslip—Caucasus to lat. of St Petersbugh,
(Compare English distribution)ramme
Forbes map sent to Royal Society.8
Lyallia Kerguelensis— I have lost clue to the American affinity—probably a myth.9
In Herefordshire where both Oxlips & Cowslips grow, Bentham finds plenty of intermediates
Bentham would not have altered his Targioni review10 for ADCs book11 —but I think that ADC. would for Bentham’s review—
Will you let me know when you have spoken to Lord Overton12 about Huxley & Athenæum13 & I will back it up through Lord Os bosom friend Strzelecki. 14
Non-endemic Ascension Island plants brought by man, not wind-transported.
Bentham has found intermediates between oxlip and cowslip in Herefordshire.
JDH finds quantity of albumen in seeds is not variable within a species.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1869,” accessed on 30 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1869