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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   26 December [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 26th

My dear Hooker

Will you have kindness to read enclosed.2 Is the little fact new? Is it too trifling (on principle that “Lex de minimis non curat”)3 to be worth printing? Do not let me publish rubbish.—   If worth publishing, shall I send it to Linn. Soc. or to Gardeners Chronicle?4 I looked at the seeds for simple amusement, & then the case seemed a little curious, & I thought Mr. Drummond would perhaps like to see his fact published.—5 To save you trouble I send envelope directed & stamped.—

Please do not let me publish absurdly small fact,— perhaps already well known.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

I call plant Siloxerus because Steudel6 gives it as prior to Styloncerus.—7 I enclose seeds of no use to me or to anyone, I suppose.—

P.S. | I wrote to Oliver8 to ask him for date of publication in Pritzel9 or elsewhere, of “Rafinesques New Flora of N. America Part I.”10 Can you tell me? I hear that Oliver will not return till Jan 5th. — If you can answer me, please tell him.—


The year is provided by the reference to the letter from James Drummond, 8 October 1860.
CD refers to a manuscript on the adaptations of some Australian seeds for dispersal. At the time, he believed that the parent plant was called Styloncerus humifusus (see letter to Daniel Oliver, 20 December [1860]). The plant was later identified as Pumilo argyrolepis.
he law does not concern itself with trifles‘.
The paper was published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 5 January 1861, pp. 4–5 (see Collected papers 2: 36–8).
James Drummond, who lived in Swan River, Western Australia, had sent the seeds to CD. See letter from James Drummond, 8 October 1860, and letter to James Drummond, 20 December [1860].
Steudel 1841 was the most authoritative source of the period for botanical names. CD’s copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Neither of these names was used in CD’s published paper (see n. 2, above).
Pritzel 1851 was a frequently consulted bibliography of botanical books.


Pritzel, Georg August. 1851. Thesaurus literaturæ botanicæ omnium gentium. Leipzig.

Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1836. New flora and botany of North America. 4 pts. Philadelphia.

Steudel, Ernst Gottlieb. 1841. Nomenclator botanicus: seu: synonymia plantarum universalis, enumerans ordine alphabetico nomina atque synonyma, tum generica tum specifica, et a Linnaeo et a recentioribus de re botanica scriptoribus plantis phanerogamis imposita. 2d edition. 2 parts. Stuttgart and Tübingen: J. G. Cotta.


Sends JDH note on adaptation of an Australian Compositae for dispersal in dry climate. Is it too trivial to publish? [Collected papers 2: 36–8].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 82
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3031,” accessed on 23 September 2020,

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