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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   13 December 1876

Royal Gardens Kew

Dec 13/76

Dear Darwin

6 Banana go today, not best kind— better will ripen ere long. A little white-sugar brings out flavor wonderfully— I find this with all fruit.1

We have an unnamed Suteria in Herb. with flower like this.2

I enclose Forsythia flowers   all we have on our specimens are like them. In spring (early) we shall have lots of flowers of both species.3 I cannot think it right in Gunther to make of hearsay imputations reports to official bodies, & I think that the conduct of the Trustees: forwarding such officially to the Government is very bad. Whose character is safe under such charges?

Gunther not only repeats the report of Archer, but says that he is disposed to believe it—& this without the slightest investigation.4

Ever aff yrs | Jos D Hooker.


Francis Darwin wrote in a manuscript of reminiscences about his father: ‘Hooker too used to send him beautiful ones [bananas] from Kew— They were christened “Kew gooseberries” being I suppose I think considered a return for the gooseberry feast for which Hooker was supposed to come every year to Down’ (DAR 140.3). On the expensiveness and rarity of bananas in this period, see Endersby 2007, pp. 170–1.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 December 1876 and n. 3. The genus Suteria is now subsumed within Psychotria.
Hooker sent dried flowers of Forsythia suspensa (weeping forsythia) collected from different locations; see Forms of flowers, p. 117. See also letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 December 1876 and n. 3.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 8 December 1876 and n. 4, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 December 1876 and n. 5. Albert Günther, in a letter to the trustees of the British Museum, had suggested that Charles Wyville Thomson wanted to keep the Challenger specimens in Edinburgh rather than depositing them in the British Museum, based on information received from Thomas Croxen Archer (director of the Museum of Science and Arts, Edinburgh) and others. Günther’s letter had been forwarded to the Treasury by the trustees (Royal Society, Council minutes 4: 344; Appendix V).


Endersby, Jim. 2007. A guinea pig’s history of biology: the plants and animals who taught us the facts of life. London: William Heinemann.

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


Complains at Albert Günther’s imputations against Charles Wyville Thomson [as a result of the dispute between Thomson and the British Museum, regarding the disposal of the specimens from the Challenger].

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 71–2
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10715,” accessed on 25 February 2024,

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