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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   30 April [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 30th

My dear Hooker

I am not going to ask any more questions; but only to thank you much for your most full answers to all my many questions.—2 Pray thank Mrs. Hooker for Extract.—3 Especial thanks for Leschenaultia, which, if you had not settled the case, would have always haunted me with doubts. Ill luck to it, the case is a great difficulty to me; but when we meet (& I shall enter it in my note-book to ask you) I must get you tell me where R. Brown talks about insects & Goodenia.4 If the species referred to has “indusium”, it is extra odd; & the case becomes exactly parallel to Bee orchis (in respect to insect impregnation) for though this Bee orchis has sticky gland to pollen apparently to aid transport by insects, it never is transported as far as I can make out.

I do not care much about the curvature of style towards nectary if it be a necessary result of growth; but if it be a special adaptation it would be very valuable to me.— I shall ask you when we meet, whether the curvature of pistil, when the pollen is shedding does not look more like special adaptation, rather than a necessary result of kind development of flower.—

The rectangular bend in some cases, as in some Delphiniums, looks to me too much to depend on the irregularity of the flower & the consequent effect of force of growth.—

Haughton has been down on us with awful force.5 His frame of mind is exactly that of Jemmy Button,6 when he saw his countrymen, & when he remarked “d—d fools, no sabe nothing”.— With hearty thanks | Your affect | C. Darwin I shall be up in London about end of May, when I daresay we may meet.— Do not kill yourself with work.—


Dated by the reference to Leschenaultia and its pollination by insects. See letter from J. D. Hooker, [28 April 1860].
CD had requested a translation of an extract from Reissek 1843, which Frances Harriet Hooker prepared. See letter from J. D. Hooker, [28 April 1860], CD note and note 12.
Samuel Haughton, professor of geology at Dublin University, had publicly criticised CD’s theory (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 May [1859]). His anonymous review of Origin was published early in June 1860 ([Haughton] 1860b). See letters to J. D. Hooker, 5 June [1860], and to Asa Gray, 8 June [1860].
Jemmy Button was a Fuegian who was brought to England in 1830 by Robert FitzRoy and returned to Tierra del Fuego on the Beagle in 1833.


JDH has settled the Leschenaultia case, but it remains a difficulty to CD.

Goodenia, like bee orchid, seems a case of a structure with an evident function, which is not carried out. Is curvature of styles an incidental result of growth or a pollination adaptation?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 51
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2776,” accessed on 23 August 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8