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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Daniel Oliver   12 [October 1860]1

15 Marine Parade | Eastbourne


My dear Sir

The Drosera & leaves of Dionæa. arrived quite safe. I am very much interested by them.—   Pray give my best thanks to Sir William, & accept them yourself.—2

I am very busy & get my constant enemy headach; so will not write any more, but I have got a good deal to say first day I can.

Will you try one easy experiment.—   Drop on sensitive hair of Dionæa one drop gently of pure water; & get solution of Carbonate of Ammonia 6 six gr. to 2 two oz of distilled water, & drop this & see if it immediately or within hour or two causes movement. This will not injure leaf.—   Perhaps safer to get 4 gr to 2 oz water3    Also one drop of the C. of Ammonia on disc of leaf.—   I want so much to know whether movement analogous of Dionæa & Drosera.—4

Yours very truly | C. Darwin


This and the following letter are dated by the relationship to the letter to Daniel Oliver, 14 October [1860].
William Jackson Hooker had agreed to sending CD a living specimen of Drosera spathulata and some detached leaves of Dionaea. See letter to Daniel Oliver, [10 October 1860]. There is a note dated 12 October 1860 (headed ‘Dionæa from Kew’) in DAR 54: 2–3.
Oliver wrote on the letter: ‘(ordered 2 grs. to 1oz pure in disd. water)’.
CD had hoped to obtain a living specimen of Dionaea so that he could conduct his own comparative experiments (see letter to Daniel Oliver, [29 September 1860]).


Requests DO apply carbonate of ammonia to sensitive hair of Dionaea and measure reaction time. Wants to compare Drosera and Dionaea.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Daniel Oliver
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.10: 16 (EH 88206000)
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2946,” accessed on 23 May 2024,

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