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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Dickie   1 December 1856


Decr. 1st | 1856

Dear Sir,

I have much pleasure in stating my own observations on Subularia.1 A few miles W from Aberdeen—my native place—it is abundant, & I have repeatedly, year after year, visited the locality with my students.

I always found it submerged, but never in deep water; generally round the edges of the Loch.

We generally found flower buds, but never saw them expanded. On being opened I have often found fully developed Anthers &c, and have never failed to get ripe seeds in August & September.2

Koch may have seen the plant growing and flowering in the air, I can only state my own experience as to it’s habits. The question can be settled by cultivation & careful regulation of the supply of water. I generally visit Aberdeen every summer & should feel glad to send you a supply of living plants by post. I believe we have similar habits in the Elatines, one of which I have often gathered, growing as it does at Aberdeen in company with Subularia.

faithfully yours | G Dickie

P.S. I shall always be glad to reply to any similar communications | GD.


See the letters to J. D. Hooker, [early December 1856] and from J. D. Hooker, [early December 1856], and the letters from C. C. Babington, 22 November 1856, and from H. C. Watson, 26 November 1856.
Dickie’s information was cited by CD in Natural selection, p. 62.


Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.


His observations on Subularia: has never seen it in flower in the air.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Dickie
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 207: 16
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2009,” accessed on 26 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6