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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [12 June 1847]



My dear H.

I enclose a flower with apparently a single stamen having become foliaceous & bilateral— is not this still more curious? I have not opened it, that you might yourself judge of its insertion. Standard wings & Keel all purple—the two wings slightly unequal in size—Keel with the apex little bifid— In all other respects resembled the other purplish flowers on the raceme.— It was terminal or penultimate flower, & this position seems favourable for the change, for I have now 3 other bilateral flowers in these positions.

I once saw Laburnum with almost every raceme terminated by a peloriated flower—1

Ever yours | C. D.—


CD thought that peloria, regularity of form in flowers that are usually irregular, was an example of reversion. He discussed peloria at some length in Variation 2: 58–60, 345–8, and suggested that the flowers which were closest to the axis or to the tip of the flower truss were most likely to show this ‘reversion to a primordial condition’ (Variation 2: 345).


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Encloses another specimen of the "bilateral" Laburnum flower.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 95
Physical description
ALS 3pp encl & C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1096,” accessed on 8 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4