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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Dickie   [5 July 1861]1

2. Hesketh Crescent | Torquay


Dear Sir

I thank you most sincerely for the Listera, which I have been very glad to examine.2 But most unfortunately from being packed in wood Box, instead of tin, the moss was almost dry, & even the buds partly withered, so that the rostellum would not show any signs of the curious vital action peculiar to this genus.— This is the more unfortunate


The dating is based upon the reference in the letter to George Gordon, 6 July [1861] to CD’s having received Dickie’s Listera specimens ‘yesterday’. Although 6 July 1861 was a Saturday, CD clearly states in the letter to George Gordon, 6 July [1861] that he also wrote to Dickie ‘yesterday’.
Dickie, professor of botany at Aberdeen University, sent CD specimens of Listera cordata (see Orchids, p. 152). He had previously supplied CD with information about another plant that grew near Aberdeen (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter from George Dickie, 1 December 1856).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Thanks for Listera specimen, which arrived withered from being sent in a wooden box.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Dickie
Sent from
Source of text
Liverpool Central Library
Physical description
AL inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3198,” accessed on 26 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9