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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   28 July [1855]

Down Farnborough Kent

July 28th

N.B. Both your last letters have gone wrong from Kent having been omitted.—

My dear Henslow.

I am delighted that you will come to dinner (7 oclock) to 57 Queen Anne St. on the 7th.— My Brother, who is staying here at present, tells me to suggest to you to sleep there, as there is a bed perfectly at your service: do if you can, for it will save you moving about & I shall see you at Breakfast.—

I have asked Hooker to dine with us.—

Very many thanks about Lychnis seed &c &c &c.—

Will you add one more thing to your list (& then I promise that I have done for a good long time) viz the entire umbel with ripish seed of the *wild Celery: I want to ascertain whether wild (or half wild) or tame plants of same species produce most seed.—

What wonderful, really wonderful little girls yours are in the Botanical line.—1 You ought to try (or I would) whether your curious Rose2 would yield any plants true by seed, if seed it produces.—

Ever most truly yours | C. Darwin


CD refers to the little girls at Hitcham whom Henslow had enlisted to supply seeds for CD. Henslow’s village botanical class was described by the editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 33, 18 August 1855, p. 550: ‘How many of our university students would look with astonishment to see wee village maidens (the botanists are all girls) writing down on paper the minute description of each plant presented to them!’
This may refer to the Austrian bramble rose (Rosa lutea) cited in Variation 1: 381, where it is stated that ‘Prof. Henslow has seen exactly half the flower of a pure yellow’.


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Delighted JSH can dine. Has invited Hooker.

Thanks him for Lychnis seed.

Asks for umbel of wild celery. Wants to ascertain whether wild or tame plants produce most seed.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: A43–A44
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1732,” accessed on 26 March 2023,

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