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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-2987

To Daniel Oliver   [21 November 1860]1

[Down]

My dear Mr Oliver.—

Thank you for your note—2 I do not think the plant can be an Asclepias:3 as far as my memory serves the flowers were very simple & I think the proboscis was caught between stamens & pistil. The minute white or very pale pink flowers were not in trusses or umbels. I have seen the plant fairly studded with captured flies. My Father called it the Fly-catcher. It died down in winter. The leaves were narrow.— stem thin, much branched smooth & I think slightly succulent. You did send me the curious account of Asclepias, which surprises me much, considering R. Browns paper on importance of insects in its fertilisation.—4 The conferva seems a good suggestion.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

In the Fly-catcher the orifice of corolla was small.—   It is odd that such a plant shd. not be in Kew.—   It lived 30 years ago for very many years in my Father’s flower-garden.— Would you ask Sir William if he can recognise my vague account?5

Footnotes

1
The note seems to be the ‘scrap’ referred to in the preceding letter.
2
Oliver’s letter has not been found.
3
CD had asked Oliver whether he could identify a plant that had grown in Robert Waring Darwin’s garden (letter to Daniel Oliver, 16 November [1860]).
4
Brown 1833. There is a lightly annotated copy of the paper in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
5
William Jackson Hooker. The ‘Fly-catcher’ was a species of dogbane, Apocynum androsaemifolium. See letter from Daniel Oliver, 23 November 1860.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-2987
From
Darwin, C. R.
To
Oliver, Daniel
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Down House (MS 10: 27)
Physical description
2pp

Summary

The plant CD’s father called "flycatcher" was not Asclepias.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2987,” accessed on 25 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2987

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