From Asa Gray 5 September 1862
Sept. 5. 1862
My Dear Darwin
Thanks for yours of Aug. 9.1 Lythrum Hyssopifolia is not in my reach.2 Get it from France, where it is common. I may, perhaps, get you L. lineare & alatum thro. correspondents. Nesæa verticillata I will send you seeds of. Probably a very hopeful plant for your purpose3
Mitchella—you will hardly be able to raise from seed.4 But I mean to send you this autumn patches of it—hoping to get better sorts,—and live roots of Cypripedium.5 Let them rest in the cold till Xmas, & then they will flower in your room very well.
So you have paid for the Orchid-Books sent by Trübner!6 Well, I had given away a part, and shall so arrange for the rest. I hope to get observations & fresh orchids in return.
Rothrock suddenly enlisted from Pennsylvania, & is before the enemy!7
I am so glad to hear of your boy’s recovery.8
Of observations, I have little to say this time. Impatiens sends off pollen tubes out of the anthers of the precociously fertilized blossoms. I could not get specularia. But Torrey says he could not find the pollen-tubes coming out.9
No Lythrum within my reach here.
In Ammannia, I have distinguished 2 species by length of style, dimorphic—no doubt, though the 2 species are good.
Goodyera repens & I believe pubescens also. The column of the flower turns back a little & exposes the stigma in the older flowers.— not the labellum drum. 10
Spiranthes cernua. The difference between the older flowers & those first opened is striking. The latter presents the disc—the former the stigma. But here too, I am very confident the change not in the position of the labellum—but in that of the column!11
You have opened a rich mine indeed among dimorphic & trimorphic? flowers.
Ever— in haste— Yours | most cordially | A. Gray
Suggests CD try to get Lythrum hyssopifolia from France.
Differences between newly opened and older orchids.
Flowers of Spiranthes and Goodyera.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3712,” accessed on 21 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3712