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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer   14 July [1877]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

July 14th

My dear Dyer

Can you give me a few seeds of Lotus ornithopodoides, (which is very important for me) or wd. it be possible to get me 2 or 3 very young plants. Seeds of Any other species of Lotus perhaps wd. be very useful.2

Only one seed of Neptunia monosperma (which you sent me from Australia) germinated, & the seedling alas! has died.— I tried all sorts of plans to save it.— Have you any plant, & cd. you lend me one?—

Mimosa sensitiva (not M. pudica) none of the seeds have germinated. Have you a plant you can give or lend?3

Hooker thought that you had a grass, Strephium, & could lend me a plant,: but none came.4 It is the sole monocotyledon which sleeps.—

Have you seeds of Passiflora gracilis; I shd be very glad of a few.5

Malva Peruviana, Linn. Averrhoa Carambola Linn. Hæmatoxylon campechianum Linn. I put down these 3 plants, (which are mentioned by Linnæus as peculiar sleepers) for the bare chance of your having them.6

I hope & think I shall give no more trouble; & give yourself as little as possible i.e. by not writing.—

Frank & I are working very hard on bloom & sleep &c.; but I am horribly afraid all our hard work will yield uncommonly little if any fruit.—7

Your’s very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. | I have just thought of another point.— Can you spare me 1, 2, or 3 succulent species with good bloom on them, so that I may try effects of removing it & placing water on— Also if possible effect on evaporation, but to do this I shd have to break off 2 or more large leaves.— I possess only a Sedum, & there is not enough to form any judgments about.

Inhabitants of a dry country wd. be best I think.—

You will be a very good man, if you do not hate me.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 16 July 1877.
CD discussed Lotus ornithopopoides (sic, for ornithopodioides) and other members of the genus in Movement in plants.
CD had asked for seeds or a plant of Mimosa sensitiva in the list he gave his son Francis Darwin to show to Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 May [1877]). Hooker replied that they no longer had a plant and had sent to Brazil for seeds (letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 May 1877).
Hooker had offered CD Strephium floribundum instead of the species CD asked for, S. guianense. Hooker misread CD’s handwriting and could not identify the species he intended; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 May [1877], and letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 May 1877). CD mentioned S. floribundum in Movement in plants, p. 391. Strephium is a synonym of Raddia; S. floribundum is now R. brasiliensis, and S. guianense is now R. guianensis (Ohrnberger 1999).
CD described Passiflora gracilis (annual passionflower) in Movement in plants, pp. 383–4.
Malva peruviana is a synonym of Fuertesimalva peruviana. CD asked for a plant of Averrhoa carambola (the carambola or star fruit) in his earlier list (see n. 3, above). Hooker had replied that they did not have it at Kew (letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 May 1877). The nocturnal movement of the leaves of Haematoxylon campechianum (a synonym of Haematoxylum campechianum, logwood) is discussed in Movement in plants, pp. 368–9. Malva peruviana is mentioned in Somnus plantarum, p. 15 (Linnaeus 1755), but not the other two; according to Somnus plantarum, the flowers of M. peruviana are protected by the leaves at night.
For CD’s interest in bloom, see the letter to Fritz Müller, 14 May 1877 and n. 2.


Linnaeus, Carolus (Carl von Linné). 1755. Somnus plantarum. Doctoral dissertation of Peter Petersson Bremer under the supervision of Linnaeus. Uppsala: n.p.

Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.

Ohrnberger, D. 1999. The bamboos of the world: annotated nomenclature and literature of the species and the higher and lower taxa. Amsterdam and New York: Elsevier Science.


"Frank and I are working very hard on ""bloom"" and sleep" [movements]. Asks for succulent species for experiment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Darwin: Letters to Thiselton-Dyer, 1873–81: ff. 70–1)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11053,” accessed on 7 June 2023,