From T. H. Farrer 26 May 1870
Abinger Hall, | Reigate.(Post Town) | Gomshall(Station) S.E.R.
My dear Mr Darwin
I am not discouraged by M. Müller’s Passiflora.1 It is very difficult to judge of a dried specimen But so far as I can see the corona belongs to a different type, of which, according to engravings we have some kinds in this country, where the corona is not so regular, so stiff, & so grating like, as in P. Cærulea &c.2 What it means is a different question.
I have been interested in watching the common Berberis (barberry),3 much visited by bees, wasps, hornets & flies. Old Sprengel is accurate & quaint as usual, but, I think has not gone quite far enough.4 He assumes that the stamens move, when touched by insects, so as to bring the open anthers in contact with the viscid edge of the stigma. This however does not explain the undoubtable fact that the stamens do not continue appressed to the stigma, but, under this sun, quickly recover their old places, ready, when there is more nectar and another insect, again to spring forward. If the end is to place the pollen on successive insects, ready to be carried by each to another flower, this double motion becomes intelligible
Sincerely yours | T H Farrer
I have sent some of Mullers seeds to Kew & to the Regents Park Gardens, besides sowing some here5
Not discouraged by F. Müller’s Passiflora.
Observations on insects visiting barberries.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7202,” accessed on 22 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7202