To Fritz Müller 23 May 1866
Down Bromley Kent
May 23. 1866
My dear Sir
I thank you sincerely for your two letters of Mar. 6 & Ap. 3rd.1 Your account of the Orchis with affinities toward Cephalanthera, Vanilla, & Glossodia is extremely curious.2 I am much surprized at the course of the vessels; but Dr Crüger partly convinced me (as well as some observations which I have made on some other plants) that vessels often fail to give true homologies: at present I feel quite in the dark on the subject.3 As I am not likely to take up Orchids again, I did not like to retain your really beautiful drawings as they might be of use to yourself.4
I am very much obliged for all the facts which you give me in your former letter on the changes in the flora & fauna in your ditches & especially on the sea coast.5 If ever I have strength to publish my larger work these facts will come in very useful.6 The only analogous facts which I have met with refer to frequent changes in the Fuci growing on the same part on our shores.7
That is a singular fact of which you tell me about the male Orchestia externally like a female.8
I have recd your little pamphlet about poor old Gray’s absurd blunders.9 Such men do much harm in Nat. History; but he has done wonderfully well in accumulating materials for the Brit. Museum.10 You must have read carefully my book on the Lepadidæ to have picked out Gray’s method of classifying Scalpellum11 As you attend to plants, will you be so kind as to observe whether Oxalis with you exhibits different forms; for Dr Hildebrand of Bonn writes to me that the C of Good Hope species are trimorphic like Lythrum, as indeed I was aware as I have been experimenting on some for the last two years.12 I suspect that aquatic & marsh-plants are apt to be dimorphic so if you see any with a pistil much longer or shorter than the stamens pray look at the flowers of 3 or 4 other plants.13 I have almost finished correcting the new Ed. of the Origin14 & I am pleased to hear that my labour will be so much the more advantageous as a 3rd German Ed. is immediately to be printed revised by Prof. Leonhard.15 As you feel interested on the subject, I may mention that I have lately read two pamphlets in our favour, by good men, one by Oscar Schmidt & the other by Carl Nägeli.16 I think Rutimeyer, for whom I feel much respect is also with us; by the way he quoted in one of his last works your account of the metamorphoses of the “Garneelen”.17
With sincere thanks for all your kindness pray believe me | yours very truly | Ch. Darwin
P.S. I will keep safely your note on the curious Orchis & can return it to you if you shd desire it18
Thanks for information on orchids
and facts on coastal flora and fauna.
Asks FM to look out for dimorphic aquatic and marsh plants.
Has read pamphlets "in our favour" by Carl v. Nägeli and Oscar Schmidt.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5097,” accessed on 11 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5097