To Daniel Oliver [29 September 1860]1
15 Marine Parade | Eastbourne
My dear Sir
I really thought that I should give no more trouble. But I have strongest wish to observe structure of Dionæa, now that I know Drosera so well.2 Is it a very precious plant? Could a living plant be packed so as to come here by Railway & could I keep it alive for week or two in sitting room? If so, would you be so kind as to give me address of any nurseryman where I could purchase a plant. Or if there are several plants at Kew, would you read this note to Sir William3 & ask him whether he could lend me a plant, which should be returned (carriage free) to Kew; but I should require to gather & dissect some leaves. I want to compare structure of hairs of Dionæa & Drosera, & especially to see whence the fluid is secreted in Dionæa, which is said to bathe the flies caught by it.
The fluid in Drosera is acid & has curious antiseptic powers on meat. Pray forgive me. I would just as soon purchase as borrow: I only mention Kew in case the plant is not to be easily purchased & in case of there being several plants at Kew. How I should like to see a fly caught by it!
Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
Requests Dionaea now that he knows Drosera so well. Wants to compare fluids secreted; in Drosera they are acid and have antiseptic effect on meat.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2941,” accessed on 18 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2941