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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Bentham   3 December [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 3d

My dear Sir

I write merely to thank you for your information on the apetalous flowers.—2 The case seems too exceptional to help me; & the whole order will remain my detestable enemies. I will get some Russian violets & will watch them next summer.— I have attended a little to Heartease, & have observed after the rare visits of Bees, that numbers of flowers suddenly became in a few days fertilised.3

Your’s truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the letter to George Bentham, 30 November [1856].
Bentham’s letter has not been found. It was probably a reply to the letter to George Bentham, 30 November [1856].
CD’s observations from 1841 and 1846 are in DAR 46.2 (ser. 3): 15. He described this case in Natural selection, p. 57.


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.


Thanks GB for information on apetalous flowers. "The whole order [Leguminosae] will remain my detestable enemies."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Bentham
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Bentham letters: 687)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2010,” accessed on 25 January 2020,

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