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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. C. Copland   23 June 1874

Office of Public Works, | Customs House, Dublin,

23 June 1874


Observing in a paragraph in the Echo last week that you are publishing a work on the habits of Drosera rotundifolia, it may interest you to receive my own notes on those of another species—Drosera dichotoma.1 It is a tender or half hardy plant, but I cannot give you its habitat. A plant I had for some years threw out fresh leaves on a foot stalk about 7 or 8 inches high every year armed with points tipped with glutinous matter just as our own has; and I have invariably found that a fly caught on the points of any of these was drawn into the channel in the centre of the leaf & sucked dry in a very short time. The leaves were with me deciduous & generally were filled with victims before they shewed any signs of decline, when they gradually dried up.

The rough sketch on the other side is from memory but is pretty near the natural size & appearance.— I unfortunately lost the plant by keeping it in sphagnum (Irish) as an experiment—

I am | Sir | Your obedt servt | Thos. C. Copland


C. Darwin Esq

CD annotations

1.8 The leaves … dried up. 1.9] scored pencil
Diagram: ‘deciduous | Therefore is this petiole or stem’ ink, line to footstalk
Top of letter: ‘Hooker’2 red crayon


CD cited Copland for information on the large Australian sundew, Drosera dichotoma (now considered to be a variety of Drosera binata, the forked-leaf sundew), in Insectivorous plants, p. 282. No notice of CD’s work has been found in the Irish Echo.
Presumably a reference to Joseph Dalton Hooker.


Sends a description of Drosera dichotoma and its manner of fly-catching [see Insectivorous plants, p. 282].

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Cooke Copland
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Office of Public Works, Dublin
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 62–3
Physical description
4pp sketch

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9509,” accessed on 19 June 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22