From Daniel Oliver 23 November 1860
23. XI. 60 | Friday morng
My dear Sir
Dr. Hooker has given me your memorandum about the Fly-Catcher.1 Looking again at the notice of Asclepias in Konig & Sims’ Annals of Botany.2 I find reference there to an account of the Fly-catching Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) by Curtis in Bot. Mag. 280.3 This is doubtless the plant. Dr. Hooker recollects it I think at Glasgow. & I believe quite thinks yours must have been the same. Curtis says “The flowers of this Apocynum have a sweet honey-like fragrance, which perfumes the air to a considerable distance x x x x when a plant x x is fully blown one may always find flies caught in its blossoms, usually by the trunk, very rarely by the leg x x x —. x x x x x x the sweet viscid substance x secreted by the stigma within the antherae x x the fly endeavours to obtain, & to this end insinuates its trunk first into the lowermost & widest part of the slit, betwixt each of the antherae x x pushing it of necessity upwards: when gratified, not having the sense to place itself in the same position, as that in wh. it stood when it inserted its trunk & to draw it out in the same direction downwards, unfortunately for it, it varies its position, & pulling its trunk upwards, draws it into the narrow part of the slit, where it becomes closely wedged in, & the more it pulls the more securely it is caught,” &c &c
See also Darwin (!) Botanic Garden, Supplement. p— ?. 4
Shall I copy you all Curtis’ account? We must make a point of looking at this Apocynum. Yours very faithfully | Danl. Oliver
Dr Hooker has given him CD’s memorandum on the fly-catcher.
Copies out extract from Curtis’ Botanical Magazine [On Apocynum androsæmifolium, 8 (1794): tab.]: 280 and gives a further reference in Erasmus Darwin’s The loves of plants . Suggests that they look at Apocynum.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2995A,” accessed on 25 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2995A