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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Cross   4 October 1876

Bolland’s Court | Chester,

4th. Oct. ’76.


Last night at the Conversazione of the Chester Society of Natural Science I exhibited specimens of Drosera rotundifolia, which attracted a great deal of attention.1 The plants were gathered at Delamere during the last week in June & placed in a fern case.2 Being excluded from their natural food, they have assumed the form & appearance of an ordinary green plant. The axis has grown out to the length of 3 or 4 inches bearing several leaves perfectly green, without “tentacles”, but having hairs.3 Several of the leaves have also sent out buds the leaves of which have the ordinary involute & circinate vernation.

It was my intention to forward two of the specimens—with this note, but one of my friends, Mr. Siddall,4 in whose case the plants had been growing, said, ‘a fact like this can hardly have escaped the notice of Darwin, write to him first.’ Acting on this advice I do so, and if you desire to have them, I will forward two plants immediately on receiving your reply.

I am, | Yours faithfully, | Geo. Cross.

Charles Darwin Esq.

CD annotations

1.3 in June] underl red crayon
1.4 & appearance … plant. 1.5] underl red crayon


The Chester Society of Natural Science was founded in 1871 by Charles Kingsley, then canon of Chester Cathedral; annual conversaziones were held at the Town Hall (Williams [1978], pp. 10–15). Drosera rotundifolia (the common sundew) had been the main subject of CD’s book Insectivorous plants.
Delamere Forest is about six miles north-west of Chester.
For CD’s detailed description of Drosera rotundifolia (the common sundew), see Insectivorous plants, pp. 4–8.
John Davies Siddall was a member of the Chester Society of Natural Science (Williams [1978]).


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

Williams, Edmund Gardner. [1978.] The Chester Society of Natural Science … its origin and development over one hundred years. 2 vols. [Chester: the author.]


Drosera plants grown with insects excluded have developed normally.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Cross
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 268
Physical description
ALS 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10630,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

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