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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   12 January 1880

Herbarium of Harvard University, | Botanic Garden, Cambridge, Mass.

Jany 12 1880.

My Dear Darwin

So you want some cotton-seeds!1 I sent south for them, & here will be all you need, but you can have more. Two-kinds; those in the copious white wool probably best. That is ‘Green-seed’ from Alabama. The other is sea-island.2

The Man who sent the seed has heard of “Vine Cotton”, of which he once had a few seeds “sent from England” and he wants more—to grow.3 Now you ask Hooker4 if he knows of such a thing, and can get hold of some for this southern planter,—& will send by post hither.

Ever Yours | Asa Gray


CD had requested seeds of ‘common cotton’ in his letter to Asa Gray, 16 December 1879 (Correspondence vol. 27).
Alabama cotton is Gossypium hirsutum (upland or short-staple cotton); sea-island cotton is G. barbadense (pima or extra-long-staple cotton).
The man who sent the seed has not been identified. A variety known as vine cotton was grown in British Guiana and Jamaica; it was believed to have originated from sea-island cotton (Gossypium barbadense; see Duff 1866, p. 182).


Duff, Robert. 1866. British Guiana: being notes on a few of its natural productions, industrial occupations, and social institutions. Glasgow: Thomas Murray and Son.


Sends some cotton seeds for CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Herbarium of Harvard
Source of text
DAR 165: 201
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12416,” accessed on 24 May 2024,