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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [29 May 1862]1



Dear Darwin

I send 2 flowers of Vanilla from Sion House.2 I can get more if wanted. I ordered 3 biggish plants of Melastomaceæ to go to Down Carrier, Nag’s head—today—3 We have no smaller ones in the flowering way at present.

I have done nothing of interest since writing last, but prepare the Cameroons list,—4 do “Genera Plantarum”,5 Jury work6 & see an everlasting round of visitors, who I (for the most part) wish at Jericho. I broke 3 solemn engagements yesterday

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker

CD annotations

Top of first page: ‘Henslow | Violets’7 pencil


Dated by the relationship to the letter from J. D. Hooker, 23 May 1862, and to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 May [1862]; the intervening Thursday fell on 29 May.
Although Orchids had been published, CD continued to study orchids. He had been anxious for some time to see a living specimen of a member of the tribe Arethuseae to which the genus Vanilla belongs (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [7 April 1862] and n. 2); CD’s notes on the specimens sent by Hooker are in DAR 70: 94–5. Syon House, near Isleworth, Middlesex, was the property of Algernon Percy, fourth duke of Northumberland, who further developed its notable gardens (Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 18 February 1865, p. 148); its grounds are located in view of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the opposite side of the River Thames (Turrill 1959, p. 223).
The carrier service between Down and London, operated every Thursday by George Snow, returned from the ‘Nag’s Head’ public house in Borough High Street, south-east London (Freeman 1978, p. 261, and Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862). Earlier in May, CD had asked Hooker for specimens of Melastomataceae that were about to flower (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 15 [May 1862] and [18 May 1862]). There are observational notes on specimens from Kew of the melastomaceous species Rhexia glandulosa (a synonym of Monochaetum floribundum) (dated 1 June 1862) and Centradenia floribunda (dated 31 May 1862) in DAR 205.8: 14 r. and 19 r.
Hooker was compiling a list of the plants recently collected by Gustav Mann in the Cameroon mountains and on islands off the West African coast; the list was published in J. D. Hooker 1863c and summarised in J. D. Hooker 1863b. See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [5 May 1862] and nn. 3 and 5.
Bentham and Hooker 1862–83.
The International Exhibition opened in South Kensington, London, on 1 May 1862. Hooker was a member of the jury for class 4, section C, ‘Vegetable substances used in manufactures, &c.’, and an associate juror for class 3, section B, ‘Drysaltery, grocery, and preparations of food as sold for consumption’ (Reports by the juries).


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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.

Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.

Reports by the juries: International Exhibition, 1862. Reports by the juries on the subjects in the thirty-six classes into which the exhibition was divided. London. 1863.

Turrill, William Bertram. 1959. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, past and present. London: Herbert Jenkins.


Sends two flowers of Vanilla and two Melastomataceae.

Has worked on Cameroon list ["Mountain flowering plants and ferns of the Cameroons", in Burton, Abeokuta and the Cameroons Mountains (1863) 2: 270–7]

and Genera plantarum.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 37
Physical description
ALS 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3574,” accessed on 5 March 2024,

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