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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. W. Crocker   13 March 1862

South St.   Chichester

Mar. 13th 62

Dear Sir

I thank you much for your good opinion of me, I shall try to deserve it.1

Epipactis palustris has been found near us, but is rare—2 If you want a supply of it write to Kew   it grows plentifully in the Willow beds between Kew and Mortlake by the river-side. It is very common there but from the colour is often overlooked. Unfortunately Menyanthes does not grow here-abouts. But I shall keep my eyes open.3

Don’t forget that there is a Cypripedium at Kew which belongs to you— I should think it would flower this spring. It was under my charge and before leaving I pointed it out to Gower—4but in case it is forgotten—it is (or was) in the second light of the pit nearest the Propagating house.

Beaton talks too confidently for me— I never could put much faith in him.5 The more I see the more careful I become in my statements. and I think this is the natural effect upon any properly

CD annotations

2.2 it grows … Mortlake] scored brown crayon


CD’s letter has not been found.
Epipactis palustris, or the marsh epipactis, is discussed in Orchids, pp. 95–102; CD had asked about this orchid in a missing letter to Crocker (see letter from C. W. Crocker, [before 13 March 1862], CD annotations). He thanked Alexander Goodman More for providing him with fresh specimens of the plant in Orchids, p. 95 n., but referred to remaining difficulties in understanding the ‘peculiar structure of the labellum’ in Orchids, pp. 101–2 n.
CD had recently learned that Menyanthes was dimorphic, and was keen to see a specimen of the genus (see letter to C. C. Babington, 20 January [1862]).
Crocker had recently retired from his post as foreman of the propagating department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. William Hugh Gower was also a foreman at the gardens.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.


Informs CD where, at Kew, to find Epipactis palustris.

Has never trusted Donald Beaton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles William Crocker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161.2: 256
Physical description
inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3471,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10