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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [26 October 1877]1

6. Queen Anne St.


My dear Hooker

I am very very sorry to trouble you so soon, but you can pass my request on Mr Lynch, who has already sent me seeds.—2 I want badly a few seeds of Mimosa pudica, & if possible of Desmodium gyrans & of any Cassia.— We want to watch the cotyledons of these plants. From what Frank & I have seen, I think we shall be able to show that all the automatic movements of mature plants are developments of the wonderful automatic movements of the stem & cotyledons of all the plants which we have as yet observed.—3

I have just read the nice little sketch of you in Nature & your own paper.—4

We go home on Monday & have come here for 3 days, as I wanted rest,—the cotyledons having worn me out.—5

Yours affecy | C. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to WTThiselton-Dyer, 11 October [1877], and by CD’s reference to staying at 6 Queen Anne Street (see n. 5, below). In 1877, 26 October was a Friday.
The seeds sent by Richard Irwin Lynch had arrived on 10 October (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 11 October [1877] and nn. 2 and 3).
The movements of the cotyledons of Mimosa pudica, Desmodium gyrans, and Cassia observed by CD and Francis Darwin were described in Movement in plants, pp. 37, 357–64, 369–73.
The issue of Nature for 25 October 1877 contained a biographical sketch of Hooker by Asa Gray (A. Gray 1877a), and an article by Hooker on the botany of the Rocky Mountains (J. D. Hooker 1877).
CD stayed at 6 Queen Anne Street, the home of Erasmus Alvey Darwin, from 26 to 29 October 1877; he had been working on cotyledons and the movement of plants since July (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


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


Requests seeds for experiments he and Frank are doing on automatic movements of cotyledons.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St, 6
Source of text
DAR 95: 455–6
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11210,” accessed on 4 March 2024,