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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. G. More   1 October 1861

Down, Bromley, Kent. S.E.

Oct. 1, 1861.

My dear Sir

I am sure that your kindness to me has been very great. I am sincerely sorry to hear that you still suffer in your health. I fear to trust in any way to two flowers alone. The capsules were certainly small, but then they were near the summit of the spike. I ought to have asked to have had the capsules gathered separately and put in paper; for they all opened on the journey and shed their seeds. The few seeds remaining in the two capsules had a larger proportion of bad seeds than those that were shed; but here again I dare not trust, for this may be due to the bad seeds not being in any case so readily shed.1

With my respected thanks2 for all your kindness, I remain | My dear Sir, | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. I mean to print a very little book on the fertilisation of Orchids by insects; and I will do myself the pleasure of sending you a copy whenever it is printed.3


CD had asked for More’s assistance in his study of the orchid Epipactis palustris (see letters to A. G. More, 4 June 1861, 17 June 1861, and 23 September 1861). Believing that the unusual hinged structure of the labellum in this species served to guide visiting insects to brush against the rostellum, thereby promoting cross-pollination, CD asked More to remove part of the labellum from several flowers to see whether these would still set seed that was fertile. For CD’s description of More’s results, see Orchids, p. 101.
The copyist seems to have made an error in transcribing CD’s handwriting.
More’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for copies of Orchids (DAR 210.18). See also Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix III.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 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.


Discusses seed capsules [of Epipactis palustris?].

Sorry AGM is in bad health.

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. 3273,” accessed on 31 October 2020,

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