To T. H. Farrer 5 June 1868
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
June 5 1868
My dear Mr Farrer
I must write a line to cry peccavi. I have seen the action in Ophrys exactly as you describe & am thoroughly ashamed of my inaccuracy. I find that the pollinia do not move if kept in a very damp atmosphere under a glass; so that it is just possible, tho’ very improbable, that I may have observed them during a very damp day.1
I am not much surprized that I overlooked the movement in habenaria as it takes so long.2
I am glad you have seen Listera; it requires to be seen to believe in the co-ordination in the position of the parts, the irritability, & the chemical nature of the viscid fluid.3
This reminds me that I carefully described to Huxley the shooting out of the Pollinia in Catasetum, & received for an answer “Do you really think that I can believe all that.”4
My dear Mr Farrer | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
P.S. | I cd. find no fly in the nectary of the orchis just received; but there was a minute insect in one flower stuck fast to the viscid stigma.—5
"I have seen the action on Ophrys exactly as you describe and am thoroughly ashamed of my inaccuracy."
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6230,” accessed on 19 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6230