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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Lawson Tait   [after 17 June 1875]1 

Abinger Hall | Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

My dear Sir

Aldrovanda is rootless & floats freely & catches abundant prey in various parts of world.—2 If you will wait till my book appears, I think you will find abundant evidence of absorption.—3 Your separation of the ferments, seems a capital discovery.—4 I have not strength to give evidence of absorption.

yours sincerely | Ch Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Lawson Tait, 17 June [1875].
Tait expressed an interest in Aldrovanda (the waterwheel plant) in his letter of 17 June [1875].
Insectivorous plants was published on 2 July 1875 (see CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)); the section on Aldrovanda is on pp. 321–31. CD concluded that its glands secreted true digestive fluid and absorbed the digested matter.
In his first letter of 12 June [1875], Tait had informed CD that he had isolated a pepsin-like substance from the glands of Drosera dichotoma (a synonym of D. binata, the forked-leaf sundew).


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


RLT will find abundant evidence of absorption by Aldrovanda in CD’s forthcoming book [Insectivorous plants]. Congratulates him on his discovery of ferments.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Sent from
Abinger Hall
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10019,” accessed on 17 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23