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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. G. More   23 September 1861

Down, Bromley, Kent. S.E.

Sept. 23, 1861.

My dear Sir

As I have drawn up my paper on the fertilisation of Orchids, I should be very glad to hear about the capsules of Ep. palustris. Will you, therefore, apply to your friend?1 If ripe, I should like to see any capsules produced by the mutilated flowers and others for comparison. In some other experiments on Orchids I have found that the external size of capsule is a very poor criterion of production of good seeds. Will you ask your friend to observe how far the untouched flowers have produced capsules. And please inform me how many flowers you mutilated.2

Pray excuse my asking you to take all this trouble about my hobby-horse. I am very curious on the point, though I shall not be surprised to hear that I have much exaggerated the importance of the Labellum.3

I hope that you have quite recovered your health. And pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely and obliged | Charles Darwin.


In the description of Epipactis palustris in Orchids, CD noted that the ‘curiously shaped’ labellum was divided into two parts joined together by a hinge and suggested that the distal half formed ‘an excellent landing-place for insects’ (Orchids, p. 98).


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.


Would like capsule of Epipactis palustris. Asks for information.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alexander Goodman More
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 146
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3262,” accessed on 22 October 2020,

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