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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   17 January [1877]1

I beg a little space in your journal to confess my error with respect to the cause of the scarcity of Holly berries. I have been convinced of this by the two communications in your last number, by a statement in the Garden by Mr. Fish, and by some private letters which I have received.2 It appears that several causes in combination have led to this scarcity; but I still think that the rarity of bees of all kinds in this neighbourhood during the spring, of which fact I feel assured, may have played a part, though a quite subordinate one.

Charles Darwin, Down, Beckenham, Jan. 17.

Footnotes

The year is established by the publication date of the letter in Gardeners’ Chronicle.
Several correspondents responded to the letter CD had written to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 3 January [1877], which had been reprinted in full in The Times, 11 January 1877, p. 7, as well as in local newpapers (see letter from Allen Stoneham, 11 January 1877, letter from G. M. Tracy, 11 January 1877, letter from Alfred Grugeon, 14 January [1877], letter from F. W. Pim, 15 January 1877, and letter from L. E. Becker, 16 January 1877; see also Gardeners’ Chronicle, 13 January 1877, p. 52, 20 January 1877, p. 83, and 3 February 1877, pp. 148–9). David Taylor Fish’s note on holly-berries appeared in the Garden, 13 January 1877, p. 40. Fish remarked that although most trees had few berries, occasional ones had a full complement, and this fact could hardly be ascribed to the scarcity of bees. George Murton Tracy had made a similar point, having observed that a couple of trees in sheltered spots had many berries (letter from G. M. Tracy, 11 January 1877). Fish wrote a longer reply to CD that appeared on the same page of Gardeners’ Chronicle as CD’s letter.

Summary

CD confesses his error with respect to the cause of the scarcity of holly berries. It appears that several causes in combination have led to it. CD still believes rarity of bees played a part, though a subordinate one.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10797
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle, 20 January 1877, p. 83

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10797,” accessed on 15 May 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10797.xml

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