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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   31 May 1877


May 31/77

Dear Darwin

I send seeds of two of your desiderata, & can get you most of the others.1 We can send you plants of

Arachis hypogæa

Marsilea quadrifolia2

Strephium floribundum }
but not guineanse3

Castor oil—

Mimosa albida—

Desmod: gyrans (too young to send yet)4

✓Nelumbium—as soon as the leaf is up. I suppose you want leaves only—it is a huge thing—we can send you plant easily enough—i.e. rhizome.

Musa glauca we have not but I can send other glaucous Musas5

Mimosa sensitiva we lost & I fear cannot get again— I have written to Brazil for the seeds.

Averrhoa Carambola we never had; but we can lend you A. Bilimbi which probably goes to sleep the same way6

Strephium guineanse— I can find no such name in Bot. works.7

“Other water plants with good bloom”— I know of none such..

“English wild plants with bloom”— I think I remember a good many,—& would suggest you looking at


Papaver somniferum


✗Glaucium luteum

Fumaria some.

✗Brassica.— Crambe.—

✗Cakile— Isatis—

Dianthus— Saponaria.

Stellaria glauca

Lathyrus sylvestris—palustris.

Rubus stems of various

Sedum dasyphyllum

✗Eryngium maritimum

Chrysanthemum segetum.


Lactuca virosa— Sonchus

Chlora perfoliata

✗Mertensia maritima

Primula farinosa

Polygonum bistorta

— maritimum

Chenopodium glaucum


Aristolochia clematitis

Euphorbias various

Salix various

various Grasses as Psamma arenaria & Phragmitis communis.8

The above I think are all more or less glaucous9 especially on one or other surface of the leaf.— Those with a ✗ are more or less glaucous all over & are maritime—heaps more are glaucous here or there.

I will get together some observations, from the Garden & write again.— answer required where I have placed ✓.

Ever yr affec | J. D Hooker

CD annotations

1.1 I send … none such. 2.1] crossed red crayon
Top of letter: ‘See—side’ red crayon


Desiderata: things wanted (Latin). For the list of seeds and plants CD required for his work on bloom (the epicuticular waxy coating on some leaves and fruit), see the enclosure to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 May [1877].
Arachis hypogaea is the peanut; Marsilea quadrifolia, four-leaf clover.
Strephium floribundum is a synonym of Raddia brasiliensis; Strephium guianense is a synonym of Raddia guianensis.
The castor-oil plant is Ricinus communis; Mimosa albida is a Central American shrub in the family Fabaceae; Desmodium gyrans is a synonym of Codariocalyx motorius (the telegraph plant).
Nelumbium is a synonym of Nelumbo (the genus of lotuses); Musa glauca is a synonym of Ensete glaucum (the snow banana). The family Musaceae includes the genera Musa and Ensete; they include bananas and plantains.
Mimosa sensitiva is a sensitive plant native to Brazil and Peru; Averrhoa carambola is carambola or starfruit; Averrhoa bilimbi is the bilimbi or cucumber tree.
CD wrote Strephium guianense in the list of plants he gave Francis Darwin to take to Kew; the enclosure to letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 May [1877], and n. 3, above.
Aquilegia is the genus of columbine; Papaver somniferum is the opium poppy; Chelidonium majus is greater celandine; Glaucium luteum is a synonym of Glaucium flavum (yellow hornpoppy). Fumaria is the genus of fumitory, Brassica, the genus of mustard, Crambe, the genus of seakale, Cakile, the genus of sea rocket, and Isatis, the genus of woad. Dianthus is the genus of pink, and Saponaria, the genus of soapwort. Stellaria glauca is a synonym of Stellaria palustris (marsh stitchwort). Lathyrus sylvestris is narrow-leaved everlasting pea, Lathyrus palustris, the marsh pea. Rubus is the genus of brambles and raspberries. Sedum dasyphyllum is the thick-leaf stonecrop; Eryngium maritimum is sea holly. Chrysanthemum segetum is a synonym of Glebionis coronaria (crown daisy). Tragopogon is the genus of goatsbeard or salsify. Lactuca virosa is bitter lettuce; Sonchus is the genus of sow thistle. Chlora perfoliata is a synonym of Blackstonia perfoliata (yellow-wort). Mertensia maritima is oysterleaf; Primula farinosa is bird’s-eye primrose. Polygonum bistorta is a synonym of Bistorta officinalis subsp. officinalis (common or meadow bistort). Polygonum maritimum is sea knotgrass. Chenopodium glaucum is a synonym of Oxybasis glauca (oak-leaved goosefoot). Atriplex is the genus of saltbush. Aristolochia clematitis is birthwort. Euphorbia is the genus of spurge. Salix is the genus of willows. Psamma arenaria is a synonym of Ammophila arenaria (European beachgrass). Phragmites communis is a synonym of Phragmites australis subsp. australis (European common reed).
Glaucous: covered with a powdery greenish or bluish bloom (Chambers).


Chambers: The Chambers dictionary. Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap Publishers. 1998.


Responding to CD’s request for assistance with his study of "bloom", JDH sends seeds, a list of available plants, and a list of English wild plants with "bloom".

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 84–5
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10977,” accessed on 31 January 2023,