From J. D. Hooker 25 January 1859
I am very greatly relieved & pleased by Wallaces letter which I have forwarded to Lyell1
I am here rusticating with my friends the Dillwyns2 & giving 3–4 hours a day steadily to my Australian Essay—which I hope may progress at last.3 Since seeing you I have seen a very intelligent Madras naturalist who confirms what I say of the Casuarina being truly naturalized in Madras— He tells me that other Australian plants are naturalized at Hyderabad & Bangalore, along with European (Plantago major) but I want more definite information. I do not know why you object to the Nilgherries—as localities for naturalization of Australian plants.4—they are vast upland areas where alone you have a climate for temperate Australian plants. I have been looking over the list of European naturalized plants of Australia & find almost all are social or roadside or cultivated-field plants of England, that must have been introduced over & over again into Australia & by hundreds of people— Consider how many thousand people have imported Europ. cerealia &c &c into Victoria & garden plants. According to your own theories these plants have adapted themselves to dressed or disturbed ground, & most are found no where else. In Australia there was no such ground till Europeans made it & it it would take centuries of civilization & cultivation to adapt any Australian plants to these habits of life. Out of a list of upwards of 100 naturalized European plants of Melbourne all, with very few exceptions, are plants that are scarcely ever found in England except where they have been brought by man or his agents.— they are field, cultivated, dung heap, wayside, cornfield or pasture plants: & would disappear if the Victoria colony was deserted, most certainly. Exceptions occur as Rosa rubiginosa, which is the only woody plant in my list of 100:
Alphonse DeCandolle has written asking me to help him to election as Foreign fellow of R.S. & referring me to you, Murchison & Lyell.5 I am greatly shocked, having always thought him too much of a gentleman, though I never gave him credit for overmuch modesty. I have been talking over the matter with Bentham & Lindley & we both agree that Asa Grays claims are out of sight superior, as also Grisebachs of Hanover.6 I think that A.G. should come in, & if I have an opportunity of mentioning it I would like to refer to you—7
Muellers death offers a vacancy & they want an American & a Botanists turn is more than passed.8
I am rejoiced at the award of the Wollaston medal.
From the old glacial moraines of Sikkim to Kangra is about 900 miles. I know of no more Westerly evidence9
Ever Yrs | Jos D Hooker
Relieved by Wallace’s letter.
At work on introductory essay to Flora Tasmaniae.
European plants naturalised in Australia are almost all adapted to invading disturbed ground.
JDH supports Asa Gray against Alphonse de Candolle as foreign member of Royal Society.
- geographical distribution
- human intervention
- positive attitude/assessment
- stations, niches
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2404,” accessed on 21 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2404