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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   15 January 1858

Friday Jany 15/581

My dear Darwin

The Leguminous affair is extremely curious,2 I am quite gone over to your side in the matter of eternal hybrids & hermaph. Carmichælia & Clianthus have closed flowers, & hence probably require artificial hybridization but Edwardsia has exserted genitalia, & should not be parallel case With regard to the Wellington Clover case, it really looks too good— my impression is that Wellington was hardly a colony before 1842, & that there could not be sufficient clover cultivation there before that to warrant any conclusions, but I may be wrong—3 At any rate I should like some definite details of the state & extent of Clover-crops before 1842, say in 1839–40— I will show your letter to Sinclair, who will be here tomorrow.4

None of the New Zealand Legumes have flowers quite as small as Clover, though those of Carmichælia & of Notospartium are very small. Is it not dangerous to assume that Humble bees would not visit small flowers in New Zealand, because they do not in England— In England I fancy the more numerous & active hive-bee forestalls the Humble bee in the matter of small flowers—if indeed the Humble bees do not visit the latter— They surely visit Heather-flowers in Scotland?

It would indeed be curious if a relation could be traced between no bees & no small fld. Leguminosæ—but you must remember the strange absence of small Leguminosæ in Fuegia, Falklands, & the Pacific Islands generally. The question hence becomes a very involved one, & forms part of a larger one, viz is there any relation between the Geog. distrib. of bees & of Leguminosæ.

section missing5 forms & should never have dreamed of establishing two varieties on the 20 specimens, but simply regarded the plant as variable.

Are you coming up next week— we hope the Sulivans6 are coming & take a quiet pot-luck with us on Tuesday at 6 when Sinclair will be here & Lindley—7 Can you not come if to be in Town?

Henslow will be here on the following week.8

〈Jos D Hooker〉

CD annotations

1.1 The Leguminous … artificial hybridization, 1.3] crossed pencil
1.3 but Edwardsia ] ‘Edwardsiasquare bracket added before, pencil
2.1 None of the … very small. 2.2] double scored pencil
4.1 forms & 〈Jos D Hooker〉 7.1] crossed pencil
Top of first page: ‘1843’pencil, del brown crayon ; ‘Dichogam—’ brown crayon


Hooker first wrote the date as ‘57’ then altered it to ‘58’.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 12 January [1858].
Hooker had spent three months in New Zealand in 1841, during the time he served as assistant surgeon on James Clark Ross’s Antarctic voyage (1839–43).
Andrew Sinclair, colonial secretary in New Zealand, 1844–56, had spent some weeks collecting plants with Hooker during Hooker’s stay in New Zealand (see n. 3, above). Sinclair returned to England in 1856.
The missing section has been cut out, presumably by CD, and has not been located. The rest of the letter was written on the verso of the remaining page. Part of Hooker’s signature remains at the end of the letter.
Bartholomew James Sulivan, who had served as lieutenant in the Beagle, remained a good friend of CD’s. After the Crimean War, he was appointed to the marine department of the Board of Trade.
John Lindley was a close friend of the Hooker family.
John Stevens Henslow, Hooker’s father-in-law, had been CD’s mentor while CD was an undergraduate at Cambridge and continued to be a warm friend and correspondent from that time.


Has gone over to CD’s side on the fertilisation of clover in New Zealand by bees.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 100: 120–1
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2204,” accessed on 10 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7