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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   25 June [1857]1

Moor Park, Farnham | Surrey

June 25th

My dear Hooker.

This requires no answer, but I will ask you whenever we meet.— Look at enclosed seedling gorzes, especially at one with top knocked off.— The leaves succeeding cotyledons being almost Clover-like in shape, seem to me feebly analogous to embryonic resemblances in young animals,—as, for instance the young Lion being striped.— I shall ask you whether this is so.—

Etty is gaining strength steadily but slowly: her pulse has certainly improved, & she is very happy here.2 The owners, Dr. Lane & wife & mother-in-law Lady Drysdale are some of the nicest people, I have ever met.

I return home on 30th.—

GoodBye— My dear Hooker | Ever yours | C. Darwin


The year is given by CD’s stay at Moor Park hydropathic establishment at the same time as Henrietta Emma Darwin (see n. 2, below).
Henrietta Darwin had been at Moor Park since 29 May 1857 undergoing hydropathic treatment under the care of Edward Wickstead Lane (Emma Darwin’s diary). See also letter from H. E. Darwin, [2 August 1857].


Seedling leaves of gorse look like clover leaves. This is like young lions being striped. Thus, laws of animal embryology apply to plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Moor Park
Source of text
DAR 114: 205
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2112,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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