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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 8 November 1862]1

Will any one learned in Peas have the kindness to tell me whether Knight’s Tall Blue and White Marrows were raised by Knight himself?2 If so, I presume that they are the offspring of the crosses described by him in the Philosophical Transactions for 1799.3 I find that the name “Knight” tacked to a Pea is not a guarantee that the sort was of his production. I will beg permission to ask one other question. Has any one who has saved seed Peas grown close to other kinds observed that the succeeding crop came up untrue or crossed?4 This certainly occurs rarely if ever; yet from what I have observed on the manner of fructification of the Pea, I should have expected that such crossing would occasionally happen, as in the case of Dwarf Kidney Beans, of which fact I gave a striking example in your Paper of October 25, 1857.5

Charles Darwin, Down, Kent.


The letter was published in the issue of 8 November 1862 (see also Collected papers 2: 70).
CD was preparing a draft of the part of Variation dealing with ‘Facts of variation of Plants’ (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II)); he discussed Thomas Andrew Knight’s pea varieties in Variation 1: 326, 329–30.
Knight 1799; CD discussed Knight’s experiments in Variation 2: 129.
CD was mistaken about the date; his letter was published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette on 24 October 1857 (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 18 October [1857]).


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Knight, Thomas Andrew. 1799. An account of some experiments on the fecundation of vegetables. [Read 9 May 1799.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 89: 195– 204.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Asks whether T. A. Knight’s tall blue and white marrow peas were raised by Knight himself.

Also asks whether anyone who has saved seed peas grown close to other kinds observed that the succeeding crop came up "untrue" or crossed? CD would expect that such crossing would occasionally happen.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 8 November 1862, p. 1052

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3798,” accessed on 16 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10