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Darwin Correspondence Project

To S. B. Herrick   6 March 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

March 6. 76

Dear Madam

My chief reason for believing that Drosera drew the greater part of its nourishment from captured insects was its growing where no other plants could grow.1 I began experiments on the comparative growth of plants with and without insects, but failed by the plants being accidentally poisoned.2 It seems to me likely that the chief difference would be in the production of seeds. I did not observe the developement of the glands as this had been partly done by MM. Grönland & Trécul; but Mr Bennett has recently read a paper on these glands which is published in the Monthly Microscop. Journal Jan 1876.3 I can hardly believe that they are modified stomata.4

I am glad my book has interest you. | Dear Madam | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


CD probably refers to experiments he made in 1860; his notes are in DAR 60.1: 15–23. See also letter from S. B. Herrick, 12 February 1876 and n. 2.
CD refers to Johannes Grönland and Grönland 1855, and Auguste Adolphe Lucien Trécul and Trécul 1855. Alfred William Bennett’s paper ‘The absorptive glands of carnivorous plants’ was read on 1 December 1875 and appeared in the Monthly Microscopical Journal (Bennett 1875).


Bennett, Alfred William. 1875. The absorptive glands of carnivorous plants. [Read 1 December 1875.] Monthly Microscopical Journal 15 (1876): 1–5.

Grönland, Johannes. 1855. Note sur les organes glanduleux du genre Drosera. Annales des sciences naturelles (botanique) 4th ser. 3: 297–303.

Trécul, Auguste. 1855. Organisation des glandes pédicellées des feuilles du Drosera rotundifolia. Annales des sciences naturelles (botanique) 4th ser. 3: 303–11.


CD came to believe Drosera drew its nourishment from insects because it grows where no other plants survive. Doubts glands are modified stomata.

Suggests works by Grönland and Trécul.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10415,” accessed on 24 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24