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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [26 February or 4 March 1860]1


Sunday night.

My dear Hooker

I forgot in this morning’s note to say that I have tried in vain to get any Goodenia from large nursery here.—   If you have any plant which you can perfectly spare & would send it as by enclosed address.— But it does not of course really at all signify; as it half mere amusement— —2

Do get some of your men (is Mr Oliver to whom you alluded one of them?)3 to cross with distinct individual 2 or 3 times in morning a bunch of flowers of some healthy Australian mimosa. perhaps also Eucalyptus    I see in Lecoq’s work he speaks of sterility of the group under culture; it may possibly be from want of crossing; but not probably.4

Remind your man that the stigma may be ready after or before pollen of own flower is shed.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the preceding letter, also written on a Sunday. However, the reference to ‘Mr Oliver’ links the letter with that written to Hooker on Saturday, 3 March [1860]. The Goodenia plants referred to in the letter arrived at Down House on 9 March (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 12 March [1860]).
See letter to J. D. Hooker, [22 January 1860]. Plants of the genus Goodenia have flowers with a cup immediately under the stigma into which the pollen drops before the flower opens. CD wished to investigate the mechanism by which insects might bring about pollination and any adaptations exhibited by the flowers that might facilitate this process. However, Hooker could only supply plants of the closely related genus Leschenaultia. See letters to J. D. Hooker, 12 March [1860] and 18 April [1860].
Daniel Oliver was an assistant in the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
CD refers to Lecoq 1845, pp. 103–4. CD’s annotated copy of this work is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


Lecoq, Henri. 1845. De la fécondation naturelle et artificielle des végétaux et de l’hybridation, considérée dans ses rapports avec l’horticulture, l’agriculture et la sylviculture … Contenant les moyens pratiques d’opérer l’hybridation et de créer facilement des variétés nouvelles. Paris: Audot.


Asks JDH for some Goodenia.

Suggests Daniel Oliver try to cross Mimosa, noted for sterility.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 44
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2716,” accessed on 19 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8