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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   3 February 1880

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

Feb. 3 1880.

My Dear Darwin

Your letter of the 19th ult, made me open my eyes.1 I am just off on a little journey, and have only a moment to say that Mr. Watson, Prof. Goodale, my artist who drew the figures & others can make affidavit to the facts.2 Two or three plants—on one, I think fully 2 inches of the seeming radicle was out of ground3

There are 3 or 4 species. The second lot I sent you was probably different from the first, or of 2 species.4

If your plants were weak, even of the same species, it might account for their not lifting the weight of the seed.

About nomenclature, following the current nomenclature I called the hypocotyledonous internode radicle—properly caulicle.5

Please call all below it root, so as to avoid confusion, “Perennial” I should think so! The root is said to be sometimes of the size of a barrel. Those I have seen in California were from the size of a carrot to that of the biggest ruta-baga.: the tip near the surface of the ground,—but under it, where there was no wash.6

In haste | Ever Yours | Asa Gray

CD annotations

2.1 If your … the seed. 2.2] scored red crayon
Top of letter: ‘In my case petioles geotropic— In Asa Gray apogeotropic!!’7 ink


Germination of Megarrhiza. AG’s observations at variance with CD’s.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Herbarium of Harvard
Source of text
DAR 209.6: 201
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12455,” accessed on 11 April 2021,