From J. D. Hooker [26 June or 3 July 1856]1
I can make no story at all out of the N.W. American plants:2 the cases I had in view have all turned up in the Altai, & especially in the Baikal Siberia & Dahuria3, which is a very fertile nook of N. Asia: there are however a considerable number of plants absolutely peculiar to N.W. America, west of the Rocky mountains.4 Various Asiatic & Europæan plants that advance Eastwards to Sitka & the Aleutians but no further East in Am. advance much further North on the two Pacific coasts than they do in the interior of Asia, & were long supposed (by me at any rate) to be foreign to Siberian Asia. I am however writing to Asa Gray & will ask him if he can give any information.5
By the greatest good luck in the world we have two seedlings of the Asiatic Entada, growing side by side with the Azorean, & they are very different species; so that you have no sooner found proof that the West Indian one will travel with unimpaired vitality to the old world, when it turns out that it has not taken advantage of its powers after all.! a beastly disgusting fact, which I hope will give a little more countenance than you will allow to my dogma, that it it is much more difficult so to wash seeds up that they shall grow, than to transport them.
When opening some Aristolochia flowers I find the pollen all escaped & on the stigma before expansion—ditto in some Visca, the buds being firmly closed. 6
A Dr Radlkofer7 tells me that Siebold has proved that some ♀ Bees & Butterflies are sometimes fertile without impregnation;8 is this true?
That paper in Flora to which you allude seems to be very good,9 I am thinking of getting it translated: would it not be much better for the Ray Club to confine its efforts to translating such things & leave it to Societies to publish original monographs, which with proper support the Socs could do better than the Ray Club. 10
Thomson11 has refound near Calcutta one of the most remarkable anomalies in Geogr: dist: of plants in Aldrovandra, a most singular & curious rare S. Europæan water plant, allied to Drosera, of which a drawing exists at the Calcutta Garden, but for which Griffith,12 Wallich,13 Falconer, Hook fil & Thomson & scores of others have hunted the length & breadth of India for in vain: but which Thomson has found abundantly in a few small ponds about 5 miles from Calcutta, It proves to be absolutely identical with S. European local plants14
Can no longer make out story of NW. American plants; consulting Asa Gray.
Questionable validity of seed-salting experiments.
Aristolochia and Viscum seem to shed pollen before flower opens.
Ray Society should only do translations.
Thomas Thomson in India has rediscovered Aldrovanda, a rare relative of Drosera.
- affinity and analogy
- experiment, scientific observation
- flowers and buds
- geographical distribution
- movements and habits of plants
- negative attitude/assessment
- number, increase and decrease
- sea, sea-currents
- species, speciation
- time and age (‘organic’ time)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1911,” accessed on 26 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1911