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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [20 November 1858]1



My dear Darwin

I am groaning over the parturition of my Introd. Essay, which advances much slower than yours.2 Will you kindly cast your eye over the enclosed & give me your opinion of it candidly as a programme.

I had no idea my Australian work would have interested you so much—I have added about 26 more genera to the list & a few to the species list, of plants; both cases that are very sparingly developed in Europe & only in the hot Southern regions.3

I have no copies of the lists but do not hurry about copying or returning them

I send a list of Europæan plants in S. Chili &c.—

Also a no answer at all of de Vrieses to your question about Europæan plants seeding in Java.4

I will see to Acacias—there is a curious Physolog. fact about them that each anther contains only 3–4 grains of pollen

I should think that the percentage of N. temperate American plants in Fuegia &c is greater than the percentage of Europæan plants in Australia— I think you must connect the comparative paucity of Northern Plants in Fuegia &c with the impoverishment of the whole Fuegian &c Flora. An Equable cool humid climate according to my view favors the exuberance of a few variable individuals & thus tends to paucity of species, except you call all the varieties species.

Thanks for your hint I shall be very cautious how I mention any connection between the varied Flora & poor soil of S West Australia—I thought I would work in some notions derived from the fact that the individuals in such cases attain great age, & there is less vegetable strife. It is not by the way only that the species are so numerous, but that these & the genera are so confoundedly well marked. You have in short an incredible number of very local, well-marked genera & Species crowded into that corner of Australia. 5

I have not written one word of Lyell—God help me— I shall send you a draft in a day or two—but for shame I would ask you to do it altogether.6

Yours | Jos D Hooker

Do not fear that you have forestalled me in any thing! I have no notion of such a thing7

CD annotations

2.2 added … of plants] scored brown crayon
2.2 &] ‘&’ added pencil
crossed pencil
crossed pencil
8.4 It is] square bracket added before, pencil
scored brown crayon
crossed pencil


The date is the Sunday before CD’s reply (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [23 November 1858]).
Hooker 1859.
Letter from W. H. de Vriese to J. D. Hooker, 21 September 1858. In his letter, Vriese had failed to answer CD’s question.
Hooker considered this question in Hooker 1859, pp. liii–lv. In CD’s copy of the work (Darwin Library–CUL), these pages are heavily annotated.
Hooker was preparing the speech for the award of the Copley Medal to Charles Lyell (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 9[–10] November [1858], and letter from J. D. Hooker, 12 November 1858).


At work on the introductory essay to Flora Tasmaniae.

Discusses the effects of climate and geography on "vegetable strife".

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 50: E1–2
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2367,” accessed on 12 November 2019,

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