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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer   22 September [1876]1

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

Sept 22d

Dear Dyer

I shd be very much obliged for one plant of Catasetum (named if possible) & I think it had better be sent on Monday, on account of delay from Sunday.2 If you can send me a plant (not mere flower-stem) of Acropera I shd be very glad, as I want to try whether it will set capsules when fertilised in a particular manner. Of course the plants will be returned.—3

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

PS. This reminds me to ask you to let me hear 3 or 4 days before the Catasetum is ready to be despatched, as God knows where we shall be.—4

Please mark parcel plainly

To be despatched by special messenger.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 17 October [1876].
Thiselton-Dyer had sent a specimen of Catasetum, probably Catasetum tabulare, but CD had not been able to make the observations he wanted (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 1 September 1876 and n. 1). CD was making further observations for Orchids 2d ed., which was published in January 1877 (Publishers’ circular, 1 February 1877, p. 93).
Thiselton-Dyer had not sent any specimen of Acropera (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 1 September 1876 and n. 3). Acropera is now a subgenus of Gongora.
The Darwins were uncertain of their plans because they needed to make arrangements for the care of Bernard Darwin, the baby son of Francis and Amy Darwin, before they travelled to Southampton to visit William Erasmus Darwin (see letter to Ernst Haeckel, 16 September 1876, n. 4).


Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.


Would like Catasetum and Acropera plants.

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: 49)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10612,” accessed on 23 September 2023,

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