To Asa Gray 9 May 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Dr Gray
I must thank you for your new part of Statistics:2 if feeling the most lively interest in reading it can make me worthy of receiving it, assuredly I am worthy. I will not trouble you by specifying the many points which have particularly struck me; but the note at p. 387 I must allude to, as I want to ask a question which I think it cannot take 5 minutes to answer, namely to how many genera the 49 species belong: as there are six species of Carex there cannot be more than 44: I tried to go through list, but I cd not feel sure in separating the 3d head from 1st & 2d Heads.—3 I want to know to see more clearly in proportion to your whole Flora how large the proportion of monotypic genera is in the disjoined species. This subject interests me very much: I began to try to work out this point in all the cases of much disjoined species which I met with; but I failed from want of knowledge: I tried also to make out whether the disjoined species would not on average belong to small Families, but here again I failed from want of knowledge; though the cases in which I could find out something, confirmed my very strong expectation that species having disjoined ranges would belong to small genera;4 so you may imagine how much interest I felt in coming on your note on this very subject.—
Your list of the Trees made my mouth rather water to know what proportion had sexes in some degree separated,—on which subject I wrote you a ridiculously long letter some weeks ago.5
I am so glad that you are going to attack your introduced plants in the next number:6 I may mention that two or three years ago I compared the proportions of the British introduced species, to the native Flora & it was in several cases ridiculously close: I then took your first Edition7 & did the same, but the proportions here were very different; but I think this point wd be just worth looking to, for chance of some result.
I have just looked at my old useless notes, & I see I made out in your Manual 206 introduced plants & of these Compositæ form 18 & so do (as I thought) your indigenous compositæ.—8
In Britain from H. Watson’s Cybele9 diag Introduced——Indigenous
I happened to stumble on these results first, & was inclined to think something of them; but I suppose all was chance or errors. The standard proportion ought to be, I shd think, that for world in same latitude, & not the standard of the individual country. Though why I shd trouble you with an old exploded notion of mine, I know not.
With my sincere thanks & good wishes.—
Believe me | Your’s most sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Thanks for new part of "Statistics".
Interested in disjoined species; do they tend to belong to large or small genera, and are they generally members of small families?
Is glad AG will tackle introduced plants; has noticed that the proportion of a particular family to the whole flora tends to be similar in introduced and indigenous plants.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2089,” accessed on 18 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2089