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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   15 October [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 15th

My dear Hooker

I thank you much for your note, but after agonies of doubt I found that I cd. not endure to refuse sending L. Tait’s paper to the Royal, as he has been here & wishes to do everything to oblige me, But he is a coarse impudent fellow.2 Yet he is a clever man, & his paper may very probably contain good matter, though I have seen that he rushes to his conclusions very rashly.—

I am very very sorry that you had trouble to telegraph; I had remembered “Charles St” & this wd. have found him.—3

Frank is very glad to know name of the Anemone & I am uncommonly obliged about Imatophyllum & Melastomaceæ.4 Paritium is mentioned by me under name of “Cistus tricuspis” in Var. under Dom. (see Index); but I shall give Dr. Kings statement to the 2d Edit. which will appear in December.—5

I do not know whether Glycerine is a colloid; but it is said to attract water strongly, & so I have found it with Drosera. We will try it with Mimosa, but I suspect that water on articulation causes movement, & if so it, will tell nothing.6

Ever yours affect | C. Darwin

P.S. I have kept back & opened my note to say that Imatophyllums have come all safely.— I have put them in greenhouse for the present, but will move them when winter comes on to Hot-house, as I suppose this wd. be right.—7

I have tried glycerine of the articulations of leaflets of Cassia with no effect whatever.8


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 October 1875.
CD had asked Hooker’s advice on whether to present a paper to the Royal Society of London on behalf of Lawson Tait. CD was reluctant because the subject of Tait’s paper was similar to research being carried out by Hooker on tropical pitcher-plants (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 October [1875]). Hooker counselled CD to refuse on the grounds of poor health and too much work (letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 October 1875). Tait had visited Down on 17 April 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Lawson Tait’s address was 7 Great Charles Street, Birmingham. Hooker forgot to return Tait’s letter to CD with his letter of 14 October 1875 and telegraphed Tait’s address to CD in case CD needed it in order to reply to Tait (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 19 October 1875).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 October 1875 and n. 6. Imantophyllum is a synonym of Clivia; the family Melastomaceae is now known as the Melastomataceae.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 October 1875. CD referred to Cistus tricuspis in Variation 1: 377; he expanded his discussion in Variation 2d ed. 1: 402, referring to it as (Hibiscus) Paritium tricuspis, and citing George King for information about a tree of Paritium tricuspis that produced a branch that was buried in the ground and grew like a bush, with leaves and flowers resembling those of P. tiliaceum. King’s manuscript on the phenomenon was later sent by CD to Thiselton-Dyer and published in the Journal of the Linnean Society (King 1875; see letter W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 22 October 1875). Hibiscus tricuspis and Paritium tricuspis are synonyms of Talipariti hastatum (Tahiti hibiscus; Fryxell 2001, p. 247). Paritium tiliaceum is a synonym of Talipariti tiliaceum (beach hibiscus).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 October 1875 and n. 5. CD described the action of glycerine on Drosera rotundifolia (common or round-leaved sundew) in Insectivorous plants, p. 52. CD probably refers to the effect of water dropped on the pulvinus or joint of the petiole; he described the action of the pulvini of the leaflets of Mimosa pudica in Movement in plants, p. 113.
According to an entry in the Outwards book (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), a plant of Imantophyllum cyrtanthiflorum was sent to CD on 14 October 1875 (see letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [16–22 October 1875] and n. 2). Imantophyllum cyrtanthiflorum is a synonym of Clivia × cyrtanthiflora.
According to an entry in the Outwards book (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), six species of Cassia were sent to CD on 14 April 1874. In a note dated 18 July 1874 (DAR 209.1: 19), CD described the reaction of Cassia mimosoides (a synonym of Chamaecrista mimosoides, feather-leaved cassia) to water being dropped on its leaves. No notes on the effects of glycerine have been found.


Fryxell, Paul A. 2001. Talipariti (Malvaceae), a segregate from Hibiscus. Contributions from the University of Michigan Herbarium 23: 225–70.

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

King, George. 1875. Note on a sport in Paritium tricuspe, G. Don. [Read 16 December 1875.] Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 15 (1875–7): 101–3.

Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Has decided to send R. L. Tait’s paper to the Royal Society.

Will try glycerine on Mimosa but doubts it will have an effect.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 394–6
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10200,” accessed on 20 March 2023,

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