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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Daniel Oliver   [4–8 February 1862]1

Mr. Darwin to consult Naudin. Ann. Sc. Nat. Ser. 3 Vol. xii to–xviii   He says Dissochæta sometimes has but 4 stamens, then ‘cum petalis alterna’.— Stylus ‘magis minusve sigmoideus’. (xv. 69).— In Aplectrum with 8 stamens, the 4 opposite the petals aresaepius steriles’. (p. 303) Sonerila has “Stamina 3 cum pet. alternantia, rarissime 6 et tunc alternatim inæqualia.— He figures Omphalopus XV. t. 4. with 4 stamens & nearly straight style—2

CD annotations

1.1 Mr.... xviii] ‘(both inclusive)’ added ink
1.2 4 stamens,] ‘& these are sepal-facers’ interl ink
1.2 ‘cum petalis alterna’] ‘ie petal-facers aborted’ added ink
1.4 Sonerila … inæqualia.— 1.5] ‘ie. one sepal facer, & all petal facers aborted’ added ink


Dated by the relationship to the letter to George Bentham, 3 February [1862] (see n. 2, below), and to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 February [1862], in which CD asked Hooker to thank Oliver for his ‘short extract & references’. See also letter to Asa Gray, 16 February [1862].
In his letter to George Bentham, 3 February [1862], CD had requested information concerning the relative fertility of the two sets of stamens found in octandrous species of the Melastomataceae and concerning the floral anatomy of tetrandrous species. Bentham declined to help (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 February [1862], and letter to Asa Gray, 16 February [1862]), but apparently communicated the enquiries to Oliver and Joseph Dalton Hooker, his associates at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [8 February 1862] and n. 2). Oliver cites Naudin 1849–52. CD’s notes and comments on this work are in DAR 205.8: 62–3; he also appended notes based on Charles Naudin’s work to an earlier summary of his experimental findings dated 3 February 1862 (DAR 205.8: 46 v.).


Cites descriptions of melastomads in C. V. Naudin, Annales des Sciences Naturelles 3d ser., vols. 12–18.

Letter details

Letter no.
Daniel Oliver
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 205.8: 69
Physical description
Amem 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2916,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10