From T. H. Farrer 21 November 1868
3 Gloucester Terrace | Regents Park
My dear Mr Darwin.
Since I saw you I have been looking over some notes—made in September.1 And I think something might be made out of an attempt to explain many parts at any rate of the structure & variations of Papilionaceous flowers by your views concg insect agency & crossing. For instance I believe the following features may be traced to this cause.
1. The varied bendings of the peduncle before & in flowering so as to make wings & keel a lighting place.
2 The attachment of the wings to the keel; and of the sides of the keel to each other; in other words the more or less development of gamopetalism.2
3 The stiffness or otherwise of the filaments—correlated to the character, moist or dusty, of the pollen—and absence or presence of a brush on the style.
4. The character of the pollen
5. The Shape & position of style & stigma; and the presence or absence & position of hairs upon it.
Other points—such as shape & colour of vexillum:3 solitary carpel: & staminal coherences suggest themselves to the imagination— As regards this latter point & the free stamen—which you suggested there is one case of totally separate stamens (Chorozēma) which struck me as very curious & which may possibly give some hints. Of this I venture to send you a note.4
Now might I ask you quite at your leisure to tell me whether you think this subject at all worth following up. It is simply an amusement and relaxation to me— But one would rather spend leisure hours in a right than in a wrong direction.
I think the “hairs” also would be extremely interesting.
Believe me | Sincerely yours | T H Farrer
Thinks CD’s views of insect agency and crossing might explain structure and variations of papilionaceous flowers. Lists five points. Asks CD’s opinion.
- Letter no.
- Farrer, T. H.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Sent from
- London, Gloucester Terrace, 3
- Source of text
- DAR 164: 49; Linnean Society of London, MS Case 6B, No. 299
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6470,” accessed on 25 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6470