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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Journal of Horticulture   [before 10 September 1861]1


Really obliged should I be if you could tell me the names of the parents of Gladiolus gandavensis. Also, whether the six following varieties—Eldorado, Canasi, Ophir, Linné, Brenchleyensis, and Vulcain, are the progeny of G. gandavensis by itself, or of G. gandavensis crossed by some other species? If the history of these six varieties be not known, their appearance may, perhaps, to instructed eyes tell their probable origin.—2

Charles Darwin.


Dated by the publication of the letter in the 10 September 1861 issue of the Journal of Horticulture.
The answer to CD’s query, an account of the parentage of Gladiolus gandavensis, was printed immediately following the letter; both query and answer appeared under the heading ‘Parents of some gladioli’. The response was signed ‘D.B.’, possibly Donald Beaton, who wrote a regular column for the journal. However, the author did make the following statement: ‘Mr. Beaton once or twice mis-stated the nativity of Gladiolus gandavensis, saying it was an Australian seedling, while it merely flowered there, with Mr. Bidwell, for the first time.’


Requests the names of the parents of Gladiolus gandavensis and six varieties for the purpose of determining their probable origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Journal of Horticulture
Sent from
Source of text
Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Country Gentleman n.s. 1 (1861): 453

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3248A,” accessed on 26 September 2020,

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