skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Francis Darwin   [after 23 July 1874]1

My dear F.

If you shd. come across a healthy specimen of Pinguicula with fairly large leaves, please send it in little tin-box, with damp moss round roots.— I think that I tried the specimens before with too strong a solution.—2

C. D


The date range is established by the reference to CD’s unsuccessful experiment on Pinguicula vulgaris (the common butterwort), and by the date of Francis Darwin’s visit to Switzerland (see n. 2, below).
In June and July 1874, CD carried out a series of experiments on several species of Pinguicula (DAR 59.1: 33–119; Insectivorous plants, pp. 368–94). On 1 July 1874, he placed some solution of phosphate of ammonia on the edge of a leaf of P. vulgaris but it failed to induce any movement; CD speculated that the solution had been too strong (DAR 59.1: 102; Insectivorous plants, pp. 375–6). Francis Darwin found specimens of Pinguicula while on honeymoon in Switzerland, where he travelled immediately following his marriage to Amy Ruck on 23 July 1874 (letter from H. E. Litchfield to Leonard Darwin, 24 July 1874 (DAR 251: 1604); see also letter from Francis and Amy Darwin, 8 August [1874]).


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


Asks for a specimen of Pinguicula.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 211: 9
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13796,” accessed on 25 June 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22