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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-1936

From J. S. Henslow   2 August 1856

Hitcham, Bildeston, Suffolk.

2 Aug 1856

My dear Darwin,

I go to town on Tuesday & on to Cheltenham on Thursday—1 Are you to be there? L. Jenyns writes me word he wants to get up a discussion about the limitation of species—2 He means to attack the subject thro’ Ornithology. I have a case or two this year among plants— 3

I have clearly reduced Centaurea nigrescens or decipiens (of Bab. 4 ) to C. nigra, after about 4 years culture— I think I told you I have had a small bed of Ægilops squarrosa self sown for the last 3 or 4 years— This year one plant in the very midst of the patch assumed the triticoidal character, which has been noticed in 2 other species—5 I have carefully netted it—& watched it but from its appearance I begin to fear it will not ripen any seed. I had fancied it to be a clear example of Ægilops passing to wheat—& certainly it is a most remarkable plant— It may however be a hybrid between the Ægilops & some revet wheat (?)— It is upright, & the ear has long straight awns & is quite downy. Would you like some seeds of the Ægilops now ripe?6 I have manured a piece of the border next the patch, & mean to extend my experiment next year over it— You have not told me yet what seeds you would like us to get for you— We have been in a greater

CD annotations

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following‘[’added pencil; crossed pencil
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Top of first page: ‘(3)’7 brown crayon

Footnotes

1
The British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting was held at Cheltenham, 6–13 August 1856. CD did not attend.
2
Leonard Jenyns read a paper at the British Association meeting entitled ‘On the variation of species’ (Jenyns 1856).
3
Described in Henslow 1856, a paper delivered at the British Association meeting in Cheltenham. See also letter from J. D. Hooker, 10 July 1856.
4
Charles Cardale Babington.
5
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 10 July 1856 and n. 6.
6
CD had sown seeds from the second generation of Henslow’s experimental Aegilops in the spring of 1856 (see letter to J. S. Henslow, 6 August [1856] and n. 3).
7
Scraps marked ‘3’ frequently concern cross- and self-fertilisation and the number may have referred to chapter 3 of Natural selection, ‘On the possibility of all organic beings crossing’.

Summary

One plant in self-sown patch of Aegilops has assumed a triticoidal character; JSH feels it may be an example of Aegilops passing to wheat.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-1936
From
Henslow, J. S.
To
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
Hitcham
Source of text
DAR 166: 178
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1936,” accessed on 30 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1936

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