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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   14 February 1878


Feby 14/78.

Dear Darwin

I have just seen Barth. Price to whom I suggested the translating & publishing Karl Sprengel along with Herm. Muller as one work. I do not like to see the glorious old fellow left out in the cold & the two works together would make but one moderate sized volume if I remember them both aright. Please give me your opinion. Of course Sprengels plates should appear.1

Dyer agrees with me as to the nut, that the big thing with the sphacelated tip is the plumule, & the two small shoots are buds developed in the axils of the cotyledonary leaves.2

CD annotations

1.1 I have … appear. 1.5] crossed blue crayon
Top of letter: ‘Mull | Oxalis | Lotus | Radicle’3 pencil


Hooker was proposing that Bartholomew Price publish a translation of Christian Konrad Sprengel’s Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur im Bau und in der Befruchtung der Blumen (The mystery of nature in the structure and fertilisation of flowers uncovered; Sprengel 1793) and Hermann Müller’s Die Befruchtung der Blumen (The fertilisation of flowers; H. Müller 1873) in a single volume. Sprengel 1793 contains fifteen plates.
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer. The discussion concerns which part of the seedling can be designated as the plumule and which part as the cotyledons; for CD’s use of terminology, see Movement in plants, p. 5. The ‘nut’ was probably Corylus avellana (common hazel); see Movement in plants, pp. 55–6 and 77. Sphacelated: i.e. decayed.
‘Mull’: Hermann Müller. The annotations are notes for CD’s reply of 15 February 1878, where further information about the missing content of this letter can be found.


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

Müller, Hermann. 1873. Die Befruchtung der Blumen durch Insekten und die gegenseitigen Anpassungen beider. Ein Beitrag zur Erkenntniss des ursächlichen Zusammenhanges in der organischen Natur. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.

Sprengel, Christian Konrad. 1793. Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur im Bau und in der Befruchtung der Blumen. Berlin: Friedrich Vieweg.


Asks opinion of his proposal to Bartholomew Price to translate and publish C. K. Sprengel [Das entdeckte Geheimniss (1793)] and Hermann Müller [Die Befruchtung der Blumen (1873)] in one volume.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 113
Physical description
AL inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11356,” accessed on 6 February 2023,