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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Bentham   [16 or 17 December 1857]1

My dear Sir

I return the lists.2 But in questions where Gærtner may have obtained unexpected results in hybridising one would require to know whether he has got the right species under h〈is〉 names for the confusion in 〈  〉 genera as Silene is very great in Continental botanic gardens

One often sees Silene nutans italica inflata and a few others doing duty for dozens of tender ones which have died. Silene vespertina is one which we used to grow in our flower gardens 〈as〉 S. bipartita. It is a very common Mediterranean seacoast plant. S. noctiflora is a cornfield annual which we have sometimes in England S. viscosa (Cucubalus viscosus Linn) is in the way of Italica but I believe 〈    〉 species from the 〈    〉 central Asia

Yours very sincerely | George Bentham


The date is based on the assumption that the letter was written after the letter to George Bentham, 15 December [1857], and before the letter to George Bentham, 18 December [1857].
CD had sent a list of Silene species enclosed in the letter to George Bentham, 1 December [1857]. Another list of Cucubalus species taken from Gärtner 1849 was sent in the letter to George Bentham, 15 December [1857]. Bentham added comments to both lists, which are preserved together with this letter.


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.


Returns CD’s lists [sent with 2184]. Confusion in genera of Silene is great in continental botanic gardens. One would have to know whether C. F. v. Gärtner had the right names for species in his experiments.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Bentham
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 151
Physical description
2pp damaged †, CD lists 2pp damaged †(by GB), CD note damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2186,” accessed on 15 January 2021,

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