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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



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
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3341,” accessed on 20 March 2023,

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