To Fritz Müller 25 March 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
Your last letter received two days ago contained a multitude of curious facts about orchids.1 The case of the little orchid of which the long pedicelli performs such curious movements is very interesting. I once suspected that the pollen when partially dry acted best, but was quite unable to prove it; I daresay the final cause is what you suggest.2 Hildebrand of Bonn has just published a book which I have not read but which seems to me very good on the fertilisation of plants. I think it would perhaps interest you so I will get an additional copy & send it.3 Many thanks for your answer about the Maxillaria.4 The seeds of the Plumbago which you have sent are a treasure to me.5 I shall also be curious to see the two lobelias.6 The little bulbs of your semi-dioceus oxalis are growing well, except those of the flowers with semi foliaceous stamens & none of these grew; the others will not flower this year. Your Cordias have germinated well, but as I suppose they are trees I fear I never shall see them in flower.7 I have dispatched two copies of yr. paper on Climbing Plants as directed & will with pleasure send any others.8 Your brother (as I now know him to be) sent me some time ago some papers on mosses in which he has worked out with great care the variability of certain forms.9 I am working very hard at correcting proofs of my new book & the corrections are very heavy.10 I fear that neither you nor anyone will care much about this book which has cost me much more labour, I suspect, than it is worth.
I am extremely glad to hear that you like Häckel’s book;11 it is so long & the german rather difficult that I have been able to read only small portions. He seems to me a singularly clear thinker with great powers of methodical arrangement, but I have not met with much that seems actually new. I have, however, no right to judge. I liked the man so much that I do hope his book will be very successful.12
My dear Sir, believe me | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin
P.S. What can be the cause of flowers like yr. Echites catching insects?13
Thanks for facts on orchids.
Friedrich Hildebrand’s new book on fertilisation of plants [Die Geschlechten-Vertheilung bei den Pflanzen (1867)].
CD correcting proofs of Variation.
FM likes Ernst Haeckel’s book [Generelle Morphologie (1866)].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5458,” accessed on 12 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5458