To J. D. Hooker 1 December 
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Hooker
The Catasetum arrived quite safe, but I have not seen it, as it is at friends hot-house, & I hear it has splendid truss of buds, which I am so very glad of, as I have thought of many experiments to try.—1
The Bolbyphyllum came, also, quite safe; but alas I can see no trace of irritability in Labellum.—2
Hearty thanks for the orchid-flowers: one of Maxillaria showed me quite a new movement in caudicle, & I was extremely glad of Acropera, which has cost you so much trouble & has so perplexed me.—3 I send to Oliver by this post its wretched rudimentary ovules, with request that he will look at them; for I never looked at an ovule in my life before!4 Yet a blind man (to speak like an Irishman) could see the difference in the ovules of Acropera & of all the many other orchids at whose ovules I have now looked.—
Pray get your foreman G....…? to give me the precise facts about the crossing of Victoria.5
I am very glad to hear that you liked Bates:6 I have seldom in my life been more struck with a man’s power of mind: it is capital about the Plates for Linn. Transactions.— I do not think I could offer him the £10, but perhaps he will want it for the drawing of Plates.—7 His explanation of these mimetic resemblances removes a difficulty which has very long perplexed me, & which never could have been understood without his facts.—8
When Lecoq came I was so disgusted at size, (not so much at price, which is only 3£) that I put the 9 volumes on highest shelf; but I have this evening taken down 1st & 9th vol & have cut pages & will have look & see what it is. If it does not suit me, & does suit you, you may have it for 2£: It seems full of details on range of each individual species.9
How little plants of Africa must be known from what you say of the Laurels!10
Adios.— | your affect— | C. Darwin
P.S. | Have you ever attended to morphology of ovarium of Orchids, & to difference between Brown on one hand, & Lindley & Link on other, on whether it consists of 6 or 3 carpels.— In specimens on glass-slides sent to Oliver, there is row of hairs, or spine-like cells on the intermediate segments (between those which bear the ovules) which I fancy indicate that these segments are independent parts, & not mere lines of splitting, as Brown argues, to favour dissemination of seed.—11
But of course such a point is quite beyond my tether: no one seems to have observed these projecting spine-like cells.—
I wonder who makes abstracts for Gardener Chron: there is capital one on Primula; I am surprised much if Kippist does it so well.—12
Rudimentary ovules of Acropera.
High opinion of Bates.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3337,” accessed on 28 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3337