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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   11 April [1855]

I have begun making some few experiments on the effects of immersion in sea-water on the germinating powers of seeds, in the hope of being able to throw a very little light on the distribution of plants, more especially in regard to the same species being found in many cases in far outlying islands and on the mainland. Will any of your readers be so kind as to inform me whether such experiments have already been tried? And, secondly, what class of seeds, or particular species, they have any reason to suppose would be eminently liable to be killed by sea-water? The results at which I have already arrived are too few and unimportant to be worth mentioning. Charles Darwin, Down, Farnborough, Kent, April 11.


CD describes his experiments on the effects on germination of the immersion of seeds in sea-water. Hopes to throw light on the distribution of plants. Asks readers of Gardeners’ Chronicle to inform him whether such experiments have already been tried and what class or species of seeds they suppose would be particularly liable to be killed by sea-water.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 15, 14 April 1855, p. 242

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1666,” accessed on 28 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5