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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Bentham   [after 12 July 1877]1

My dear Mr Darwin

My impression is certainly 〈1 word missing〉 strong that plants with a smooth glauc〈ous〉 epidermis to their foliage and branches are chiefly prevalent in hot dry situations— in the Mediterranean region in Australia in South Africa in the dry parts of Mexico—in plants that grow in exposed rocky sunny situations—in apricis et maritimis—and are rare in moist climates in rich soils—2 The Eucalypti and Phyllodineus3Acacias of Australia the Mexican Cacti the Mediterranean Caryophylleae e.g. Gypsophila and Cruciferae4 and many others show a large proportion of glaucous plants, but the case may 〈2 or 3 words missing〉 〈w〉ith the fugacious bloom 〈1 or 2 words missing〉 〈 〉ch as plums grapes etc   Olive〈r〉5 tells me that this bloom has been the subject of researches of some of the German physiologists and refers me to de Barys elaborate paper in Mohl’s Botanische Zeitung 1871, 128, 145, 161, 566, 593 589, 605—but this you are probably acquainted with.6

It has always appeared to me that similar hot exposed situtations tend to the development of rigid hairs and cottony wool—much more abundant in species or varieties belonging to such situations than in those grown in moist rich ones

Yours very sincerely | George Bentham


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to George Bentham, 12 July 1877.
CD had asked Bentham about bloom, the waxy or powdery coating of some plants; see letter to George Bentham, 12 July 1877. In apricis et maritimis: exposed to the sun or sea (Latin).
Phyllodineous or phyllodinous: an expanded petiole funtions as a leaf-blade, the true leaf-blade being absent or reduced in size (OED).
Gypsophila is a genus in the carnation family (now Caryophyllaceae); Cruciferae (now Brassicaceae) is the mustard and cabbage family.
Daniel Oliver.
Anton de Bary and Bary 1871 (‘Ueber die Wachsüberzüge der Epidermis’: On the wax coating of the epidermis). Hugo von Mohl was the editor of Botanische Zeitung.


Bary, Anton de. 1871. Ueber die Wachsüberzüge der Epidermis. Botanische Zeitung 29: 128–39, 145–54, 161–76, 566–71, 573–85, 589–600, 605–16.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Answers CD’s query on "bloom".

Letter details

Letter no.
George Bentham
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 169
Physical description
2pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11051,” accessed on 23 January 2021,