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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the Darwin children   20 December 1881

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

December 20th 1881

To my Executors & other children.

I have promised to Sir J. Hooker to pay about £250 annually for 4 or 5 years, for the formation of a perfect M. S. catalogue of all known plants; & in the case of my death before the completion of the work, I desire that my children may combine & arrange for the annual payment of the above sum, & I have full confidence that this my desire will be faithfully carried out.1

Charles Darwin


See letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 December 1881 and n. 1. The first four parts (comprising two volumes) of the work, Index Kewensis, were compiled at CD’s expense; they took far longer than expected and were published between 1893 and 1895 (Meikle 1971, pp. 295–6). Numerous supplements have subsequently been added.


Index Kewensis: Index Kewensis: plantarum phanerogamarum, nomina et synonyma omnium generum et specierum … nomine recepto auctore patria unicuique plantae subjectis. 4 vols., and 20 supplements. Compiled by Benjamin Daydon Jackson, et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 1893–1996.

Meikle, R. D. 1971. The history of the Index Kewensis. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 3: 295–99.


Has promised to pay Hooker about £250 annually "for the formation of a perfect MS catalogue of all known plants [Index Kewensis]".

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13570,” accessed on 22 July 2024,