From J. D. Hooker 10 July 1856
We have flowered Dr Bell Salters hybrid Epilobium from seeds he sent us, & it is so clearly E. roseum and nothing else, having no trace of either parent that I have no faith whatever in his experiments—1 he himself remarks in the Phytologist that it is to all appearance similar to E roseum, but differs in the slightly 4 Cleft stigma—2 now though E. roseum is put in the section with entire stigmata, it is described both by Babington3 & Hook Arnott4 as having a slightly 4-cleft stigma— This is just the way, whenever I do make an experiment it is sure to end either in smoke, or disappointment, or in a disgusting opposition to some preconceived theory of my own. (As the Entada seeds.)5
Per contra Henslow is going ahead with his Ægilops & procured a sport from it very like Revet wheat after the 3d year!6
I have been just reading Ed. Forbes first 112 pages of his little work on the European seas, all that is which Van Voorst had printed before Forbes death:7 would you like to see it?
I have read Huxleys response to Falconer with eminent gusto—how admirably neatly & clearly he puts the whole question.8 I never understood the distinctions between Morphology & Physiology in their relation to systematic Zoology half so well before. I certainly only half understood the question before & I do not think that Huxleys original Lecture was particularly good at all.—9 he has put forth his strength here & will I think startle old Falconer. I had a note from the latter a week ago from Paris, in which he alluded to the subject as if he had eaten Huxley without salt & left no bones at all; by Jove he will find this pungent
Huxley & Mrs H staid with us from Saturday till Monday last, but I had not then read his response.
I began this letter intending to tell you why I had not earlier attended to your letters which is because my father is in Scotland: so you may set your mind at ease on the score of the Tristan d’Acunha list.10
The said Tristan d’Acunha list is I think capable of some modification in my favor, a most remarkable and wholly distinct grass inhabiting it having been lately found in the Island of St Pauls (N. of Kerguelens land)— I see you have a note of this I shall hunt up the Tristan d’Acunha plants & let you know.
With regard to the Chili + N.Z. list I have gone over it— none are mountain plants in any sense that I know of— As a rule none of the genera have wide ranging species except Epilobium though none are remarkably restricted as to the ranges of their individual species— they are nothing particular in short.11
Upon the whole the most wonderful cases, almost demanding double centres, are the presence of the European plants in the Australian Alps & in Tasmania as Cardamine pratensis, x Lysimachia vulgaris, Aphanes arvensis, x Turritis glabra, x Veronica serpyllifolia—besides various Carices, & grasses plants that are not common in Australia & are found no where else in the Southern Hemisphere & are not very widely distribd in the Northern except the Card. 12
x These on the faith of Dr Ferd. Mueller Govt Bot. of Victoria an able Botanist.13
It appears however true that multiple centres are worse for your theory than any thing else.
Lyell has not sent me your letter,14 I wish he would.
The Aristolochia was A. labiosa or an allied species, the brute of a Viscum is diœcious after all, it looked Hermaphrodite, & certainly the pollen is all out before the bud opens, so that observation is worthless.—15 The Aristolochia stigma seemed all ready for pollen but I will look again. Its anthers are on the stigmata hence the necessity of Insect or other action to shake out the grains
I shall try to get you cases of well marked varieties being common & the intermediates rare16 —but these cases are always explained away by the assumption of hybridism— e.g. Geum urbanum, rivale & intermedium— Wheat & Ægilops— Hewett Watson would probably give you more good cases than I could.
Ever yours | Jos D Hooker
Has it ever struck you that the fact of Parnassia, Saxifraga & anthers approaching & being applied to the Stigma in pairs or in turns is against cross hybrid impregnation, in as much as that a plants own pollen shoots its tubes on its own stigma before that of another species will applied at same time & in general overcomes the latter.— You know what I mean.
[T. Bell Salter’s?] "hybrid" Epilobium a false claim.
Admires Huxley’s response to Falconer [see 1904].
Tristan da Cunha plant list, requested by CD, supports JDH’s position [on continental extension?].
Chilean plants not exceptional.
JDH considers parallels between Australian Alps and European plants strong evidence for multiple creations.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1923,” accessed on 21 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1923