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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Daniel Oliver   20 [April 1862]1



Dear Oliver

Hooker says you pass daily some Oxalis acetosella.2 Will you oblige me by gathering a dozen or score of flowers from different plants, & if possible plants growing a little apart.— I find some evidence of dimorphism in the plants here, as in Primula, & much want to see plants from some other station.3 The plant does not grow here within my walking distance.— Would you send me the flowers by Post in a little tin box, with a bit of damp blotting paper.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship to the letter from Daniel Oliver, 23 April 1862.
Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records that Joseph Dalton Hooker spent the Easter weekend, 17 to 21 April 1862, at Down House. In his review of CD’s paper, ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula, Oliver cited Louis Eugène Michalet’s observation that flowers of Oxalis acetosella produced early in the season differed from those produced in the summer ([Oliver] 1862c, p. 239). Oliver had sent CD the manuscript of his review (see letter from Daniel Oliver, 14 April 1862).
There are notes on Oxalis acetosella, dated 17–27 April 1862, in DAR 109 (ser. 2): 4–5. See also Forms of flowers, pp. 181–3.


‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’: On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. By Charles Darwin. [Read 21 November 1861.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 77–96. [Collected papers 2: 45–63.]

Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.


Requests Oxalis acetosella, which he suspects is dimorphic.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Daniel Oliver
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.10: 56 (EH 88206039)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3512,” accessed on 28 November 2021,

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