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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   22 May [1878]1


May 22

My dear Father,

Here is the Extract Athenæum May 11 p. 606 “A short paper was read by Mr R. I. Lynch “on the seed structure and germination of a species of Pachira”— The seeds were received at Kew July 1877, & labelled the “Provision Tree”. Varying in size, they consist chiefly of one fleshy lobed Cotyledon, the second being exceedingly diminutive and functionless. Germination occurs in a fortnight after sowing, and, in one instance the larger persistent Cotyledon did not appear to be exhausted for nearly 6 months2

Your affect son | W.E.D


The year is established by the date of the extract from the Athenæum, 11 May 1878.
CD had written a note on 19 May 1878 (DAR 209.6: 200) mentioning Richard Irwin Lynch’s paper on Pachira aquatica (Lynch 1878) and probably asked William for the account in the Athenæum, which he saw before leaving Southampton on 13 May 1878 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II); letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 14 May 1878). Lynch’s paper was read at the Linnean Society on 2 May 1878; he had described the germination of Pachira aquatica (Guiana-chestnut or provision tree; see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 14 May 1878 and n. 5).


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

Lynch, Richard Irwin. 1878. On the seed-structure and germination of Pachira aquatica. [Read 2 May 1878.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 17 (1878–80): 147–8.


Extract from Athenæum 11 May [1878], p. 606, of R. I. Lynch on germination of the provision tree.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 209.6: 199–200
Physical description
2pp, CD note

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11523,” accessed on 7 May 2021,