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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [9 December 1861]


My dear Hooker

Lecoq is a miserable book—, dreadfully spun out, with maudlin speculations & a great dearth of precise facts: I do not believe it would be worth your having, & as here & there, miles apart, I find a reference or fact worth keeping, I will keep the monstrous work.—1

Bates writes he spent with you 3 or 4 of the most agreeable hours he ever spent in his life.—2

C. Darwin

You were, of course, quite right. Bonatea does not at all favour the splitting & subsequent fusion of sepals & petals— The vessels run in Bonatea as in Habenearia.

I cannot get out of my head that these cases throw great doubt on value of vessels in regard to homologies.3


Upper petal Upper Sepal Lower Sepal Labellum ovarium

This seems structure of Bonatea speciosa & you will see what a little change in adhesion would almost convert it into Habenaria.—


CD refers to Lecoq 1854–8, which he had recently purchased. See letters to J. D. Hooker, 25 November [1861] and 1 December [1861].
Bates apparently told CD about his visit with Hooker in the part of his letter of [1 December] 1861 that is now missing (see letter to H. W. Bates, 3 December [1861]).
See letters to J. D. Hooker, 10 November [1861] and 14 November [1861].
The diagram has been reproduced at 60% of its original size.


Lecoq, Henri. 1854–8. Études sur la géographie botanique de l’Europe et en particulier sur la végétation du plateau central de la France. 9 vols. Paris: J. B. Baillière.


Henri Lecoq’s miserable book on plant geography [Étude sur la géographie botanique de l’Europe (1854–8)].

H. W. Bates’s pleasure at meeting JDH.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 136, 129c
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3341,” accessed on 27 January 2022,

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