skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Willem Hendrik de Vriese to J. D. Hooker1    21 September 1858

Mon cher ami, Dr. Hooker!

Le jardin de Buitenzorg est situé à 800’ de hauteur. Le jardin de Tjipannas, dans les Preanger Regencies est à 2400’. C’est là que l’on cultive beaucoup de plantes, des climats plus temperés, surtout du Japon, de l’Australie, du Cap, de Californie, p.e. les Chènes du Japon, les Araucarias, les Eucalyptus, le Wellingtonia gigantea, et une foule d’autres plantes les plus remarquables.2

Un autre jardin se trouve non loin de Tjipannas, mais à une élévation plus grande, de 4000’. C’est le jardin de Tjibodas. On y cultive les légumes Euro-peennes, les fruits des Drupacées, les fraises, les framboises et le Quinquina. Plus haut encore il y a, dans le même voisinage des cultures d’autres plantes, qui exigent une température encore plus élévée. J’ai visité tout recemment tous ces jardins.

Pour repondre à la question de M. Darwin, sur quelle hauteur végétent les plantes perennantes d’environ la latitude de la Grande Bretagne, je dirai ce que j’en ai vu.

Au montagne du Gédé j’ai pu observer, ce qui suit. Les formes Européennes commencent deja à 8500’. La Cankrienia chrysantha, Valeriana officinalis (?), comme un nombre immense de formes alpines, se trouvent sur le sommet du Gédé à 9300’. Mais la Cankrienia 〈se〉 trouve deja à 8700’. Elles portent 〈des〉 fruits et des graines. Je crois que beau〈coup〉 de formes de nos climats y pou〈r〉raient parfaitement réussir, sans aucune protection. Il va sans dire que le degré d’humidité doit différer pour les formes différentes et dans d’autres stations. Je crois que M. Darwin juge très bien que plusieurs plantes de l’Europe centrale reussiront à 5000’–6000’.

Voila mon cher Hooker la reponse aux questions de M. Darwin. Je suis disposé à lui donner après mon retour en Europe mes notes spéciales sur cet objet.3

Je suis obligé malgré moi d’être court. Ne veuillez pas m’en vouloir. Je suis inspecteur des cultures, adviseur du gouvernement ici et en Europe, je dois soigner mes rapports, mes notes, mes collections. etc etc.

Remerciez mad. votre épouse pour les bons souvenirs qu’elle veut bien me porter, et lui souhaite comme à vous toute la prosperité possible avec vos chers enfants. Je regrette beaucoup la perte de M. Brown.4 Je le respectais et je l’aimais beaucoup.

Vous avez sans doute toujours beaucoup d’affaires avec vos publications et avec le jardin. Ne travaillez pas trop!

Votre tout devoué | W. H. de Vriese Sheribon (Java)

21 Sept. 18585

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol.7, Appendix I. The letter indicates that Hooker had written to Vriese on CD’s behalf. Vriese’s reply was passed on to CD (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [20 November 1858]).
Vriese was professor of botany and director of the botanic garden in Leiden. In 1857, he travelled to Java and the Malay Archipelago on a government-sponsored mission to promote the culture of useful and economic plants (Hooker’s Journal of Botany and Kew Garden Miscellany 9 (1857): 346).
CD did not cite any of the specific data given in this letter. In Origin, p. 375, however, he reported that: ‘A list of the genera collected on the loftier peaks of Java raises a picture of a collection made on a hill in Europe!’
Robert Brown, who had visited Vriese in Leiden, had died on 10 June 1858. In the early 1850s, Vriese had worked at Kew during the preparation of his monograph on the Marattiaceae. (Vriese 1853).
The manuscript is deteriorating and this portion is now missing. The date has been taken from a transcription made by the editors at an earlier date.

Bibliography

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

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Vriese, Willem Hendrik de, and Harting, Pieter. 1853. Monographie des Marattiacées . . . suivie de recherches sur l’anatomie, l’organogénie et l’histiogénie du genre Angiopteris, et de considérations sur la structure des fougères en général. Leiden and Düsseldorf.

Translation

From Willem Hendrik de Vriese to J. D. Hooker1    21 September 1858

My dear friend, Dr. Hooker!

The garden of Buitenzorg is located at a height of 800. The garden of Tji-pannas, in the Preanger Regencies is at 2400. Many plants of more temperate climates are cultivated there, especially those of Japan, Australia, the Cape, and California; for example, oaks from Japan, Araucarias, Eucalyptus, Wellingtonia gigantea, and a host of other most unusual plants.2

Another garden not far from Tjipannas but at a higher elevation, 4000, is the garden of Tjibodas. European legumes, fruits belonging to the Drupaceae, strawberries, raspberries and quinquina are grown there. Still higher in the same vicinity other plants requiring an even higher temperature are grown. I have visited all these gardens quite recently.

In answer to Mr. Darwin’s question about the elevation at which perennial plants of the latitude of Great Britain grow, I shall tell you what I have seen of them.

On Gedeh mountain I was able to observe the following. European forms begin to occur at 8500. Cankrienia chrysantha, Valeriana officinalis (?), along with a large number of alpine forms, are found on the summit of Gedeh at 9300. Cankrienia is already found at 8700. They bear fruit and seeds. I believe that many forms from your climate would be able to succeed perfectly without any protection. It goes without saying that the degree of humidity required ought to differ for forms that are different or inhabit other sites. I think that Mr. Darwin is quite correct in his judgment that several plants of central Europe would survive at 5000–6000.

There is my answer to Mr. Darwin’s questions, my dear Hooker. I am willing to give him my notes especially related to this subject when I return to Europe.3

I regret that I am obliged to be brief. Please don‘t hold it against me. I am inspector of cultivation, advisor to the government here and in Europe, I must take care of my reports, my notes, my collections, etc etc.

Thank your wife for the good remembrances that she wishes to send me, and wish that she, yourself, and your dear children may all prosper. I greatly regret the loss of Mr. Brown,4 I respected and liked him very much.

No doubt you are always busy with your publications and the garden. Don’t work too hard!

Yours very sincerely | W. H. de Vriese

Sheribon (Java) | 21 Sept. 18585

Footnotes

For the transcription of this letter in its original French, see Correspondence vol.7, pp. 156–8. The letter indicates that Hooker had written to Vriese on CD’s behalf. Vriese’s reply was passed on to CD (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [20 November 1858]).
Vriese was professor of botany and director of the botanic garden in Leiden. In 1857, he travelled to Java and the Malay Archipelago on a government-sponsored mission to promote the culture of useful and economic plants (Hooker’s Journal of Botany and Kew Garden Miscellany 9 (1857): 346).
CD did not cite any of the specific data given in this letter. In Origin, p. 375, however, he reported that: ‘A list of the genera collected on the loftier peaks of Java raises a picture of a collection made on a hill in Europe!’
Robert Brown, who had visited Vriese in Leiden, had died on 10 June 1858. In the early 1850s, Vriese had worked at Kew during the preparation of his monograph on the Marattiaceae. (Vriese 1853).
The manuscript is deteriorating and this portion is now missing. The date has been taken from a transcription made by the editors at an earlier date.

Bibliography

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

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Vriese, Willem Hendrik de, and Harting, Pieter. 1853. Monographie des Marattiacées . . . suivie de recherches sur l’anatomie, l’organogénie et l’histiogénie du genre Angiopteris, et de considérations sur la structure des fougères en général. Leiden and Düsseldorf.

Summary

Answers CD’s query about distribution of European perennials in the highlands of Java.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-2327
From
Willem Hendrik de Vriese
To
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Cheribon, Java
Source of text
DAR 180: 27
Physical description
2pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2327,” accessed on 9 April 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2327.xml

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

letter