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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Journal of Horticulture   [before 25 November 1862]1

Will any of your correspondents who have attended to the history of the Strawberry, kindly inform me whether any of the kinds now, or formerly, cultivated have been raised from a cross between any of the Woods or Alpines with the Scarlets, Pines, and Chilis?2 Also, whether any one has succeeded in getting any good from a cross between the Hautbois and any other kind? I am aware that Mr. Williams, of Pitmaston, succeeded in getting some sterile hybrids from the Hautbois and Woods;3 but whether these were ever at all largely propagated, I cannot find out. I am, also, aware that Mr. Knight and Mr. Williams raised many seedlings by crossing Scarlets, Pines, and Chilis;4 but what I want to know is, whether any one has crossed these three latter kinds with the Wood or Alpine. I should feel greatly indebted to any one who would take the trouble to inform me on this head.—5

C. Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.


The letter was published in the issue of 25 November 1862. There is a draft of this letter in DAR 96: 9.
CD was preparing a draft of the part of Variation dealing with ‘Facts of variation of Plants’ (Variation 1: 305–72; see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II)); varieties of cultivated strawberries are discussed on pp. 351–4.
John Williams’s observations are recorded in Knight 1824, p. 294; CD cited them in Variation 1: 352 n.
CD cited Knight 1820 on this point in Variation 1: 351 n.
See letter from R. T. Clarke, [after 25 November 1862]. CD’s letter also elicited a number of replies in the Journal of Horticulture: a letter signed ‘D., Deal’ was published in the issue of 9 December 1862, p. 721; a letter from William Smith of York was published in the issue of 30 December 1862, p. 779; and one from Isaac Anderson-Henry was published in the issue of 20 January 1863, pp. 45–6. CD cited the first two of these letters in Variation 1: 352 n. Smith sent with his letter ‘three small runners’ of a cross between a wild Hautbois and ‘a fine seedling … obtained between British Queen and Black Prince’, stating: ‘If you thought it might in any way interest Mr. Darwin, it is at your option to send him one or all.’ The editors sent CD the specimens (see letter to G. W. Johnson or Robert Hogg, 20 December [1862]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Knight, Thomas Andrew. 1820. Upon the variations of the scarlet strawberry (Fragaria Virginiana) when propagated by seeds. [Read 4 August 1818.] Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London 3 (1820): 207–10.

Knight, Thomas Andrew. 1824. An account of some mule plants. [Read 6 May 1823.] Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London 5 (1824): 292–6.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Asks correspondents whether any kinds of strawberries now cultivated have been raised from a cross between the wood or alpine strawberry and the scarlet, pine, or Chili strawberry.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Journal of Horticulture
Sent from
Source of text
Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Country Gentleman, n.s. 3 (1862): 672
Physical description
Printed & AdraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3826,” accessed on 29 November 2020,

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