From W. E. Darwin 4 May 
My Dear Father,
The flower is Anchusa officinalis, that is to say I am almost certain it that.1
I went over to the isle of Wight yesterday and gathered 52 plants and brought them back to look at them, and of these 52 plants 22 were Short styled 30 Long styled, and of the 30 Long styled 16 were longest styled, & 14 long styled, but I fancy this was mere variability in length of pistil.2
the difference between the long and short styled is that as well as the styles being different length the stamens tho’ all the same length or nearly so are attached to different places on the Corolla.
I am not going to send you flowers till I know whether you are at Down or Hartfield. send me a line at once if you want them as they will be getting withered.3
The pollen of short-styled I think is the largest. The shortstyled seem (in the 50 examined) to have the smallest flowers, the long next and the longest finest of all but I think this must be chance4 The shortstyled seem to have a greater tendency than others to become regularly 6 divisioned instead of 5. I have only had one short look at them this morning before breakfast, I shall look again tomorrow.
in Boragineæ the scales in mouth of Corolla are said to be aborted stamens and they have spiral vessels running up to them
Sends observations on [Anchusa] plants from Isle of Wight.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4139,” accessed on 28 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4139