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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   14 [November 1857]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

On Tuesday I will send off from London, whither I go on that day,2 Ledebour 3 remaining vols. Grisebach & Cybele, ie all that I have, & most truly am I obliged to you for them.3 I find the rule as yet of the species varying most in the large genera universal except in Miquels very brief & therefore imperfect list of Holland Flora,4 which makes me very anxious to tabulate a fuller Flora of Holland.—

I shall remain in London till Friday morning, & if quite convenient to send me two vols of D. C. Prodromus, I cd take them home & tabulate them:5 I shd. think a vol. with large best-known natural Family & vol. with several small broken Families wd. be best, always supposing that the varieties are conspicuously marked in both.— Have you the vol. published by Lowe on Madeira;6 if so & if any varieties are marked I shd. much like to see it, to see if I can make out anything about Habitats of vars. in so small an area,—a point on which I have become very curious. I fear there is no chance of your possessing Forbes & Hancock British shells, a grand work. which I much wish to tabulate.—7

very many thanks for seed of Adlumia cirrhosa, which I will carefully observe.8 My notice in G. Ch. on kidney Beans has brought me a curious letter from intelligent Gardener,9 with a most remarkable lot of Beans, crossed in marvellous manner in 1st generation like the Peas sent to you by Berkeley10 & like those experimentised on by Gærtner & by Wiegmann.11 It is a very odd case: I shall sow these seeds & see what comes up. How very odd that pollen of one form shd. affect the outer coats & size of the Bean produced by pure species!

Many thanks for your letter about medals, which I burnt; I am glad about Lindley & very sorry about Lyell.12 I hope he will never hear of the attempt: it is an old story that the very highest merit is undervalued.—

My week at Moor Park has done me wonderful good;13 & has almost quite driven away the wretched feelings in my head: I only wanted rest, & that I got there in perfection; & took quite long walks & enjoyed the scenery like a gentleman at large.

Ever my dear Hooker | Yours most truly | C. Darwin


Dated by CD’s intention to go to London and his stay at Moor Park (see nn. 2 and 13, below).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, CD went to London on Tuesday, 17 November 1857 and returned to Down House on Friday, 20 November.
CD had borrowed Ledebour 1842–53, Grisebach 1843–4, and Watson 1847–59 from Hooker (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 30 September [1857], 20 October [1857], and [23 October 1857]).
Candolle and Candolle 1824–73.
Richard Thomas Lowe had recently published the first part of Lowe 1857[–72].
E. Forbes and Hanley [1848–]1853.
See letter to M. J. Berkeley, 29 February [1856], and letter from M. J. Berkeley, 7 March 1856.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 June [1857]. John Lindley, whom Hooker had proposed for a Royal Medal of the Royal Society, was to receive the award at the anniversary meeting of the society on 30 November 1857. Charles Lyell, who had been nominated for the Copley Medal, did not receive it in 1857 but was awarded the medal in 1858.
CD spent the week of 5–12 November 1857 at Edward Wickstead Lane’s hydropathic establishment (‘Journal’; see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix II).


Candolle, Augustin Pyramus de and Candolle, Alphonse de. 1824–73. Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, sive enumeratio contracta ordinum generum specierumque plantarum huc usque cognitarum, juxta methodi naturalis normas digesta. 19 vols. Paris: Treuttel & Würtz [and others].

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

Grisebach, August Heinrich Rudolph. 1843–4. Spicilegium florae Rumelicae et Bithynicae exhibens synopsin plantarum quas aest. 1839 legit. 2 vols. Brunswick: F. Vieweg.

Ledebour, Karl Friedrich von. 1842–53. Flora Rossica sive enumeratio plantarum in totius imperii Rossici provinciis Europaeis, Asiaticis et Americanis hucusque observatarum. 4 vols. Stuttgart. [Vols. 6,7]

Watson, Hewett Cottrell. 1847–59. Cybele Britannica; or British plants and their geographical relations. 4 vols. London: Longman.

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


Rule that species vary most in larger genera seems universal.

Response to Gardeners’ Chronicle note on "Bees and kidney beans" [Collected papers 1: 275–7].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 215
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2170,” accessed on 18 January 2022,

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