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Darwin Correspondence Project

From M. S. Wedgwood   [6 August 1862]1



Dear Uncle Charles

We made a mad rush this morning after the Hottonia before we started, but I am sorry we could only find 1 specimen of long pistil and we had no time to hunt for more and they were rather withered as we could not pack them at once—2

We are very much obliged to you for sending us such a full account of the Lythrums but I am afraid it must have been a great deal of trouble—3 We went out Lythrum-hunting again but could only find 8 plants of which 1 was long style 2 mid-style & 5 short style4

We go home tomorrow after sleeping this one night here, Aunt Susan comes home today or tomorrow,5 it is very provoking missing her—

I am very glad Lenny will soon be strong enough to move to the sea6

Yr affec | Margaret S. Wedgwood

CD annotations

1.3 they were … trouble— 2.2] crossed pencil
3.1 We go … sea 4.1] crossed pencil


Dated by the relationship to the letter to K. E. S., L. C., and M. S. Wedgwood, 4 [August 1862], and to CD’s notes on Hottonia of 8 August 1862 (see n. 2, below); the intervening Wednesday fell on 6 August 1862.
Having learned from Charles Cardale Babington that Hottonia was dimorphic (see letter from C. C. Babington, 17 January 1862), CD had been anxious to see flowers of this genus; he requested specimens in his letter to K. E. S., L. C. and M. S. Wedgwood, 4 [August 1862]. CD’s notes on the flowers sent with this letter, dated 8 August 1862, are in DAR 110: 16 (see also letter to Asa Gray, 9 August [1862]). CD later gave a copy of his observations to John Scott, for publication in Scott’s paper on the structure and functions of the reproductive organs in the Primulaceae (Scott 1864c, pp. 78–9; see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to John Scott, 20 [April 1863]).
In the letter to K. E. S., L. C., and M. S. Wedgwood, 4 [August 1862], CD stated his intention to write a further letter, that evening, explaining what he believed to be the relationship between the three sexual forms of Lythrum salicaria. This letter has not been found.
CD reported these findings, along with the information given in the letter from M. S. Wedgwood, [before 4 August 1862], in ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria, p. 174 (Collected papers 2: 110).
Susan Elizabeth Darwin had been visiting Southampton (see letter from W. E. Darwin, 5 August 1862). Following their holiday in North Wales (see letter from M. S. Wedgwood, [before 4 August 1862]), Margaret and her sisters (Katherine Elizabeth Sophy and Lucy Caroline Wedgwood) had apparently broken their journey home to Surrey at the Mount, Shrewsbury, the home of their aunt.
Leonard Darwin was recovering from scarlet fever (see letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 August 1862] and n. 10). The Darwins intended taking a holiday on the south coast, near Southampton (see letter to W. E. Darwin, [24 July 1862], and letter to H. C. Watson, 8 [August 1862]).


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]


Looked for Hottonia but with little success.

Letter details

Letter no.
Margaret Susan Wedgwood/Margaret Susan Vaughan Williams
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3674,” accessed on 5 March 2024,

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