To J. D. Hooker 25 November 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker.
I fear that there is no chance of an Acropera of either species or its ovarium still remaining on your plants. You will remember about the mouth of the stigmatic cavity being so small; & your own remark about the stigma not being viscid, which I noticed, but like an incredible ass did not look closely at.2 It occurred to me that the species of Acropera may be the males of some other orchids (like Catasetum & Myanthus) & I have just looked at an ovarium in spirits & I can see no trace of ovules! Unfortunately I cut the ovarium rather short when I put 3 flowers in spirits; & this makes me want a perfect ovarium, & a flower for fresh stigmatic tissue. I shd like to get over this opprobrium to my work on fertilisation; of course I must look to ovaria of other unfertilised orchids & see how plain ovules are: my memory makes me think that they are plain.—3 I have looked to Link on ducts in Orchids, & he trusted only to transverse sections & I am sure very falsely contradicts R. Brown.—4 What you said about Brown having observed the ducts running wrong in Habenaria is very likely (though he ought to have said so) but then he does apparently trust to position of ducts as far as he traced them by transverse sections. I hope in a day or two to attack Bonatea.—5
I was much pleased & interested by your remarks on the Primula case: but I cannot remember whether you gave any additional cases of dimorphism; if you did, please tell me again. A rather tall man with upturned eyebrows, told me that Weddell says that Cinchona presents the two forms.—6
I went to B. Mus. & saw a few of Bate’s “mimetic” butterflies & they are truly wonderful: He ought to have a coloured plate;7 I told him I would give £10 towards it, but I fear a coloured plate would cost much more.— What a pity that this man shd. have to work for his daily bread & have only 1 or 2 hours for science; but I do not see what can be done.8 He speaks with admiration of Wallace’s talents, energy & knowledge.—9
Here is a good joke; I saw an extract from Lecoq. Geograph. Bot. & ordered it & hoped that it was a good sized pamphlet & my God nine thick volumes have arrived!—10
My dear old Hooker | Your affect | C. Darwin
P.S. Do you (or Oliver) know whether in males of such plants, as the male of Lychnis dioica, whether there are rudimentary ovules in the ovarium?11
I shall be so glad to see the living Bolbophyllum rhizophora is this spelt right? it is not in Steudel12
Acropera species may be males of other orchids.
Homologies of ducts in orchids.
Went to British Museum to see Bates’s mimetic butterflies.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3329,” accessed on 29 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3329