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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lindley   18 October [1861]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Oct. 18th

My dear Dr. Lindley

I thank you sincerely for your information.2 Your tracing shows that the species is saccatum beyond a doubt.—3 I wrote to Gardener’s Chron. as I thought it would trouble you less to answer in that way.4 I am very much obliged.— I have been extremely much interested with Catasetum, and indeed with many exotic Orchids, which I have been looking at in aid of an opusculus, on the fertilisation of British Orchids. I very much fear that in publishing I am doing a rash act; but Orchids have interested me more than almost anything in my life. Your work shows that you carefully understand this feeling.5

Yours very sincerely & obliged | Charles Darwin


The year is provided by the reference to the publication of Orchids.
Lindley’s letter has not been found.
Catasetum saccatum, the lizard orchid, is discussed in Orchids, pp. 214–31.
Lindley was the editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle.
Lindley had a special interest in orchids and was the author or editor of a number of works in which the morphology and taxonomy of orchids was described. CD often cited Lindley’s works in Orchids.


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 JL for identifying Catasetum saccatum.

Writes of his interest ("more than almost anything in my life") in orchids, but fears he is rash to publish.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lindley
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Lindley letters, A–K: 193)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3289,” accessed on 13 April 2021,

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