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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Pickering1   9 January 1850

Metia, or Aurora Island. being elevated, its Flora is not restricted to those few plants, which everywhere in the Pacific occupy the low coral islands.— Metia, has the same plants as the neighbouring island of Taheiti.

I have not at hand the specimens collected at Metia— And the following list is transcribed from my Journal, written up a few weeks after our visit, in September, 1839.

The plants marked “(bis)” had been observed on the low coral islands, prior to our arrival at Metia

C. P. 2

I observe now on reviewing the above List, that the Coral-island and other maritime and submaritime plants being excepted, the remainder are nearly all introduced plants—brought by the natives either accidentally, or for the purposes of cultivation.3

C. P. Boston, Jan. 9th. 1850.


Pickering was chief zoologist of the United States Exploring Expedition (1838–42) under the command of Charles Wilkes. The list was evidently sent to CD at James Dwight Dana’s request, see letter to J. D. Dana, 5 December [1849].
The signature is followed by a list of seventy-three species of plants. Ten species are marked ‘(bis)’.
The final paragraph follows the list. CD referred to this letter in letter to J. D. Dana, 24 February [1850].


Lists plants of Metia or Aurora Island collected during visit in Sept 1839. Flora same as that of neighbouring Tahiti.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Pickering
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Boston Mass.
Source of text
DAR 205.4: 99
Physical description
AmemS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1289,” accessed on 7 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4