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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. C. Babington   2 September [1862]1

Cliff Cottage | Bournemouth | Hants

Sept 2d.

Dear Babington

As you seemed a little interested in the Primula case,2 I venture to trouble you, to ask whether you think you could get me by any of your correspondents some seed of the rare Lythrum hyssopifolia.— It would be of great importance for my work; as I have lately been working hard at Lythrum salicaria.—3

I have seen Hottonia, of which you told me:4 it is splendidly dimorphic with widely different pollen in the two forms.

We shall be here about a month.—

I believe that your kindness will forgive me troubling you.—

In Haste | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by reference to CD’s interest in Lythrum, and by reference to the Darwin family’s holiday in Bournemouth (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II)).
At the end of July 1862, CD had begun crossing experiments on the trimorphic plant, Lythrum salicaria (see letter to Daniel Oliver, 29 [July 1862] and n. 6). Having learned from his reading of Vaucher 1841 that L. hyssopifolia was dimorphic (see Vaucher 1841, 2: 371), CD was anxious to confirm the observation, and had sought specimens from several correspondents (see letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 September 1862], letter to H. C. Watson, 8 [August 1862], and letter to Asa Gray, 9 August [1862]).
In his letter to CD of 17 January 1862, Babington had noted that Hottonia was dimorphic; CD obtained specimens of the plant early in August (see letters from M. S. Wedgwood, [before 4 August 1862] and [6 August 1862], letter to K. E. S., L. C., and M. S. Wedgwood, 4 [August 1862], and letter to Asa Gray, 9 August [1862]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Vaucher, Jean Pierre Etienne. 1841. Histoire physiologique des plantes d’Europe ou exposition des phénomènes qu’elles présentent dans les diverses périodes de leur développement. 4 vols. Paris: Marc Aurel Frères.


Can CCB get Lythrum hyssopifolium seeds?

Hottonia splendidly dimorphic.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Cardale Babington
Sent from
Source of text
Cambridge University Library (MS Add.8182: 24)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3707,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

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