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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 6 December 1856]1

I have been lately collecting all the evidence which I can get from the observation of others and my own, on the natural crossing of varieties of plants. The evidence in regard to Leguminous plants is curiously conflicting, but preponderates against their ever crossing without artificial aid.2 I should esteem it a singular favour if any of your correspondents would give in your paper or send me any evidence showing either that Leguminous crops, when grown close together, do sometimes cross; or, on the other hand, that they may invariably be grown close together without any chance of deterioration.3 Charles Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.


Dated from the issue of the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette in which the letter appeared.
CD summarised contemporary views of this point in Natural selection, pp. 69–71. He was principally concerned with the conflicting opinions of Arend Friedrich August Wiegmann in Wiegmann 1828 and Karl Friedrich von Gärtner in Gärtner 1849.
No response has been located in Gardeners’ Chronicle.


Gärtner, Karl Friedrich von. 1849. Versuche und Beobachtungen über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreich. Mit Hinweisung auf die ähnlichen Erscheinungen im Thierreiche, ganz umgearbeitete und sehr vermehrte Ausgabe der von der Königlich holländischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart.

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.

Wiegmann, Arend Friedrich. 1828. Über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreiche. Eine von der königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin gekrönte Preisschrift. Brunswick: Friedrich Vieweg.


CD is collecting all the evidence he can on natural crossing of varieties of plants. Asks readers of Gardeners’ Chronicle to give evidence "showing either that Leguminous crops, when grown close together do sometimes cross or on the other hand that they may invariably be grown close together without any chance of deterioration".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 6 December 1856, p. 806

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2012,” accessed on 25 January 2020,

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