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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   14 November [1861]

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

Nov. 14th.

My dear Hooker

I was very bad in bed yesterday,1 but not too bad to be much pleased by your note & magnificent lot of Bonateas;2 They have been soaked in water & are now in spirits & with a little dose of Nitric A. I have great hopes they will be clarified enough for dissection.—3

I was in foolish despair when I wrote, & thought all my work done for; & I cannot yet see how it is not “a great blow & discouragement”,—unless indeed I do find that the lower sepal & upper petals are sometimes in allied forms deeply bifid; if they are bifid, then cohesion is so common with the orchids, that the view which I imagined & showed by red lines may be true.4 Will it not be a very odd case that in Habenaria that the outlines of upper sepal, upper petal, & lower sepal (& indeed of Labellum) do not one of them give the real shape of these same sepals & petals?—

You are a true friend in need.— I can hardly bear to let Bonatea soak long enough.—

Adios | C. Darwin


Emma Darwin recorded in her diary on 13 November 1861: ‘Charles in bed   cold &c’.
Hooker’s letter has not been found.
CD had written to Hooker to request specimens of the orchid Bonatea (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 10 November [1861]).


Homologies of orchid flower vascularisation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 130
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3318,” accessed on 18 July 2024,

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