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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Müller   25 September 1878


Sept 25, 1878

My dear Sir,

I must write a few lines to thank you for your kind letter which has very much rejoiced myself, and for your efforts to effect the translation of my book: “Die Befruchtung etc.”1

The last five years I have been occupied collecting observations on Alpine flowers and their fertilisation by insects. But now unfortunately our vacancies have been altered in such a manner (beginning not before the midst of August) that I must renounce on further successful excursions into the Alps.2 My this year excursion, from August 14 to Sept. 12 has had but very poor results.

I have therefore resolved now to work up the observations hitherto collected and then to publish my work on Alpine flowers and their fertilisation by insects.3

Having finished this work I will return to biological observations of Insects and then I will take all possible pains in order to repeat and complete your admirable observations on the regular travels of humble bees which you have communicated with me some years ago.4

With the most sincere respect | Yours | very faithfully | Hermann Müller.


Müller refers to missing parts of CD’s letter to him of 20 September 1878. Müller’s Die Befruchtung der Blumen (H. Müller 1873) was translated by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson with a preface by CD under the title Fertilisation of flowers (H. Müller 1883).
Müller taught natural sciences at a school in Lippstadt, Germany. For Müller's previous alpine trips, see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from Hermann Müller, 7 August 1875, and Correspondence vol. 24, letter from Hermann Müller, 4 September 1876.
Alpenblumen, ihre Befruchtung durch Insekten: und ihre Anpassungen an dieselben (Alpine flowers, their fertilisation by means of insects: and their adaptations to the same; H. Müller 1881)
See Correspondence vol. 20, letter to Hermann Müller, [before 5 May 1872]; see also Correspondence vol. 24, letter from Hermann Müller, 4 October 1876. Müller did not publish further on this subject.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

Müller, Hermann. 1881a. Alpenblumen, ihre Befruchtung durch Insekten: und ihre Anpassungen an dieselben. Leipzig: W. Engelmann.

Müller, Hermann. 1883a. The fertilisation of flowers. Translated and edited by D’Arcy W. Thompson. London: Macmillan and Co.


Thanks CD for his efforts to get HM’s book, Die Befruchtung der Blumen [1873], translated into English. [See Fertilisation of flowers, translated by D’Arcy W. Thompson, preface by C. Darwin (1883).]

Will soon return to his observations on insects in general and bees in particular.

Letter details

Letter no.
Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 311
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11710,” accessed on 30 March 2023,