To Fritz Müller 12 May 1870
Down Beckenham | Kent
May 12. 1870
My dear Sir
I thank you for your two letters of Dec 15 & Mar 29, both abounding with curious facts.1 I have been particularly glad to hear in yr last about the Escholtzia; for I am now rearing crossed & self-fertilized plants, in antagonism to each other, from your semi-sterile plants, so that I may compare their comparative growth with that of the offspring of English fertile plants.2 I have forwarded your post script about Passiflora with the seeds, to Mr Farrer, who I am sure will be greatly obliged to you; the turning up of the pendant flower plainly indicates some adaptation.3 When I next go to London I will take up the specimens of butterflies & shew them to Mr Butler of the British Museum, who is a learned lepidopterist & interested on the subject.4 This reminds me to ask you whether you received my letter about the ticking butterfly described at p. 33 of my Journal of researches; viz whether the sound is in any way sexual? Perhaps the species does not inhabit yr island.5
The case described in yr last letter of the trimorphic monocot. Pontederia is grand. I wonder whether I shall ever have time to recur to this subject; I hope I may, for I have a good deal of unpublished material.6
I thank you for telling me about the first-formed flowers having additional petal, stamens, carpels &c; for it is a possible means of transition of form: it seems also connected with the fact on which I have insisted of peloric flowers being so often terminal.7 As pelorism is strongly inherited (I have just got a curious case of this in a legum. plant from India); would it not be worth while to fertilise some of your early flowers having additional organs with pollen from a similar flower, & see whether you cd not make a race thus characterised? Some of yr abutilons have germinated, but I have been very unfortunate with most of your seed.8 You will remember having given me in a former letter an account of a very curious popular belief in regard to the subsequent progeny of asses, which have borne mules; & now I have another case almost exactly like that of Lord Morton’s mare, in which it is said the shape of the hoofs in the subsequent progeny are affected.9
(Pangenesis will turn out true some day!)10
A few months ago I recd an interesting letter & paper from yr brother, who has taken up a new & good line of investigation, viz the adaptation in insects for the fertilisation of flowers.11
The only scientific man I have seen for several months is Kölliker who came here with Günther & whom I liked extremely.12
I am working away very hard at my book on man & on sexual selection, but I do not suppose I shall go to press till late in the autumn13
Believe me my dear Sir | with many thanks for all yr kindness | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Crossing experiments and self-sterility [in Eschscholzia].
Hermann Müller on insect adaptations for fertilisation of flowers.
CD working on book on man and sexual selection.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7184,” accessed on 24 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7184