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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   27 November 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov 27. 76.

My dear Gray,

Many thanks for your pleasant letter, & for the correction of my stupid blunder.1 I hope that you will have received by this time a nearly complete set of sheets; but in case they should have failed, I send another set with the exception of the four or five last pages & title page which will come very soon.2 I shall be delighted to send you sheets in advance of the Orchid book, & have written for them today3

Only yesterday I discovered that I had overlooked one of your papers on Platanthera, from which I could have extracted two or three good facts, & this has vexed me. I find it very difficult to keep references distinct for various subjects.4

Ever yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


In his letter of 12 November 1876, Gray asked for proof-sheets of Orchids 2d ed. so that he could write a notice of it.
In ‘Fertilization of orchids’, p. 147, published in 1869, CD cited the American Journal of Science and Arts 34 (1862): 143, 259, 424, and 36 (1863): 292, for Gray’s comments on Platanthera; these were references to three separate papers: a two-part review of Orchids (A. Gray 1862a), ‘Enumeration of the plants of Dr Parry’s collection in the Rocky Mountains’ (A. Gray 1862c), and ‘Structure and fertilization of certain orchids’ (A. Gray 1863). In Orchids 2d ed., which incorporated ‘Fertilization of orchids’, he added in a list of works published since the first edition a reference to Gray 1862c. The other references to Gray on this list are from works already cited in ‘Fertilization of orchids’. Platanthera is the bog or fringed orchid.


Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

‘Fertilization of orchids’: Notes on the fertilization of orchids. By Charles Darwin. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4th ser. 4 (1869): 141–59. [Collected papers 2: 138–56.]

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

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Thanks for a correction. Hopes AG now has all the sheets of Cross and self-fertilisation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (114)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10688,” accessed on 21 May 2024,

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