skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [before 21 May 1877]1

The Limes | Erith

My dear Father,

I enclose a letter from Ray-Lankester by which you will see that he wants to reprint ‘Food-bodies &c’ in the Quarterly J. of Mic: Sc:. I suppose the Linnean can’t object? & by Ray L’s asking me I gather that it is a customary thing.2 But if it is against etiquette I should get the blame, so I thought I had better ask you about it. If you think it all right will you please send on the enclosed letter to Ray L:. If not we will talk & I can write on Sat & send it off on Sunday morning

I am glad Hermann Müller approves of it— what an odd chance Fritz M. having found out the fern glands—3

I have done nearly all the drawings I shall want now, so I shall soon have done the whole thing.4 I hope you havn’t wanted help about pollen grains. I quite forgot that you might when I went away. I am glad your joke is appreciated5

Yr affectionate son | Frank Darwin

H6 & I come by train getting to Orpington either at 3.20 (saturdays only train) or 3.46


The date is established by Francis Darwin’s communication to Nature (see n. 3, below).
Edwin Ray Lankester’s letter to Francis Darwin has not been found. Francis’s paper, ‘On the glandular bodies on Acacia sphærocephala and Cecropia peltata serving as food for ants’, had been published in the Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) on 23 October 1876 (F. Darwin 1876d). Lankester was one of the editors of Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science; the paper was not reprinted.
Hermann Müller’s letter mentioning F. Darwin 1876e has not been found. Fritz Müller’s observations on the honey glands of Pteris aquilina (a synonym of Pteridium aquilinum subsp. aquilinum, southern bracken fern) protecting ferns from leaf-cutting ants were communicated by Francis in his letter, dated 21 May 1877, to Nature, 7 June 1877, pp. 100–1.
Francis’s paper ‘On the protrusion of protoplasmic filaments from the glandular hairs on the leaves of the common teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris)’ (F. Darwin 1877b) included several drawings of experimental apparatus and a plate with sixteen figures.
Francis was evidently visiting his brother Horace, who worked for the engineering firm Easton and Anderson of Erith, Kent. CD was measuring pollen-grains for Forms of flowers; see, for example, letter from W. E. Darwin, [24 April 1877?] and n. 8. The joke has not been identified.


Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.


Edwin Ray Lankester wants to reprint FD’s paper ‘Food bodies’ in the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 22
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10520F,” accessed on 13 April 2024,