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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer   26 October [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct. 26

My dear Dyer

I am very glad that you think Dr. King’s notes worth sending to Linn. Socy.2 If I understand the case rightly, the Imant. Cyrtanthiflorum, which I have got from Kew is a hybrid, but that there is also a true I. cyrtanthiflorum. I certainly ought to possess the latter for my experiments, if you have no scruple in getting a plant from M J. Henderson.3

Please thank Hooker for the seeds which are a treasure to Frank.4 I have despatched Pfeiffer to Linn. Socy.5

Many thanks for the paper on Thallophytes which you were so kind as to send me.—6 I have begun reading it with great interest, as it is almost all new to me.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 22 October 1875.
No letter from Thiselton-Dyer mentioning George King’s notes has been found, but see the letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 22 October 1875 and n. 1.
CD had already asked Thiselton-Dyer for one of the parent species of the hybrid Imantophyllum cyrtanthiflorum (a synonym of Clivia × cyrtanthiflora), Clivia nobilis (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 22 October 1875 and n. 3). According to entries in the Outwards book (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), a plant of Clivia nobilis (green-tip forest lily) was sent to CD on 26 October 1875 and a plant of I. cyrtanthiflorum on 22 November 1875. The synonymy of what is referred to in this letter as a ‘true I. cyrtanthiflorum’ is uncertain, but CD may have misunderstood what Thiselton-Dyer had told him. John Andrew Henderson was a nurseryman .
In his letter of 23 October 1875, Joseph Dalton Hooker had promised to send a specimen of grass seed from India for Francis Darwin’s experiments with awned seeds.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 23 October 1875 and n. 4. CD donated his copy of Ludwig Pfeiffer’s Nomenclator botanicus (Pfeiffer 1873–4) to the library of the Linnean Society.
Thiselton-Dyer had sent a copy of his study on the classification and sexual reproduction of thallophytes (Thiselton-Dyer 1875). CD’s copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Thallophyta is a former division of plants that originally included algae, lichens, and fungi.


Pfeiffer, Ludwig . 1873–4. Nomenclator botanicus. 2 vols. Cassel: Theodor Fischer.

Thiselton-Dyer, William Turner. 1875. On the classification and sexual reproduction of thallophytes. London: J. E. Adlard. [Revised version of ‘Sexual reproduction of thallophytes’. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science n.s. 15 (1875): 295–326.]


Wants Imantophyllum for crossing experiments.

Is glad WTT-D thinks George King’s notes worth sending to the Linnean Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Thiselton-Dyer, W.T., Letters from Charles Darwin 1873–81: 37–8)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10227,” accessed on 21 July 2024,

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