To Hermann Crüger 25 May 1
Down Bromley | Kent. S.E.
Various circumstances have delayed my thanks for your very interesting letter of Ap 23d.—.2 I thank you sincerely about the Melastomas:3 it seems that my suspicion was quite unfounded yet it is just possible that bees may visit the flowers for pollen & suction.— I have wasted a fearful amount of time over this order.4 There is something very odd about the difference in the two sets of stamens I first most strongly suspected that the plants on which I experimented were dimorphic; nor should I yet be surprised if this proved to be the case. I shall be very curious to know about the Catasetums & what attracts insects.5 What a singular fact that of the orchids which did open their flowers setting seeds!6 A good observer Mr. Scott believes that when the flower is closed the pollen tubes come out of the anther & travel to the stigma.7 You say you are going to try to make orchis seed germinate: Dr. Hooker tells me that they cannot succeed in Calcutta;8 but that self-sown foreign plants appears on the surrounding trees!
I am very glad that you have not my Journal and I wrote a week ago to my publisher to send you a copy.—9 I sent sometime ago a newspaper to you in which I alluded to some of your information.10 I have also sent a copy of a little paper on the dimorphism of Linum:11 This is a subject on which I am experimenting with great interest. Have you any analogous cases in the West Indies? You must kindly permit me to ask you questions: have you seen cases of what gardeners call “sports” but what I shall call “bud variation” (i.e. variation by buds & not by seed) in plants from warmer temperate regions cultivated in the West Indies.12 I am collecting all cases. Sir R Schomburgk says that temperate plants as Dahlia, Roses &c cultivated in St Domingo are very liable to change in character & give off single shoots different from the mother plant.13
with cordial thanks for all your interesting information & great kindness | Dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch Darwin
Thanks for news about fertilisation of Melastomataceae.
Discusses fertilisation of orchids.
Mentions observations by John Scott.
Asks about "bud-variations".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4184,” accessed on 25 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4184