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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Isaac Anderson-Henry   17 January 1863

Hay Lodge, Trinity, Edinburgh.

Jany 17/63

Dear Sir

I have much pleasure in acknowledging receipt of your very polite note to me of the 14th Inst.1 If the Strawberries are of no use, and if I have anything else that is;—or if there is any information I can give you,—I will feel honoured and gratified in communicating it2

Your treatise on the Primulaceæ of which you so kindly sent me a copy was to me a communication of no ordinary interest.3 I had always intended writing my views to you on the subject. Many years ago I tried my hand on that family, but made nothing of them. The Linum tribe to which you alluded near the close4 had, the Summer before last occupied me a good deal. I was most anxious to incorporate a dash of the fine colour of L. rubrum on to L. album a perennial—L Corymbiflorum a yellow sps—or L. trygynum a brighter yellow still— But a more difficult intractable race I seldom before grappled with. Your treatise threw in upon me a gleam of light—and I suspect I had not used the sympathetic anthers—the mystery of the long and short ones being unknown to and unsuspected by me.5 Last Summer I had determined to test the matter as regards the Linum tribe. But having gone on a pretty extensive tour on the Continent my operations in that way were prevented from being carried out. I may try my hand anew this Summer. I may observe, however, that of one Cross I did save seeds vizt between the L. Album (seed bearer) and L. Rubrum. But as the former was prone to to self fertilisation, I am not very confident of the Cross being effected. The plants of this cross are up—four in number & the foliage offers a difference from the female parent. So I hope it is true. I may have hit the right anthers. But if I remember rightly—the Anthers are far from being uniformly short & long as in the Primulæ. It calls for and deserves a close investigation which I mean to give it this season

I have got your admirable Book on the hybridisation of Orchids.6 I never felt myself so small, as I did on reading it, in all my life. You have achieved immortality by such a work. A tithe of its discoveries would be an enduring monument to any other man. I rejoice to see you still at work—and what next it is you are to astound & astonish us with I, & all the world stand on tiptoe of expectation to learn.

If you have occasion ever to come this way do honour me with a visit— Save Dr Hooker & Dr Lindley none in all England will be more welcome to me.7

Believe me | most faithfully yours | I Anderson Henry.

I have for many years tried to incorporate the Raspberry with the Strawberry. I have one brood of plants with wiry foliage some having 4 divisions in the leaf. Myatts Pine was here also the seed bearer—a soft foliaged of variety. This coming Season I am to have an alliance if possible between the Bramble & raspberry. When I was at Woodend (my place in Perthshire) I found an upright growing variety of the Bramble which I had removed into the Garden for my intended manipulations. I will be glad to let you know the result.

If you would wish me to try anything to serve you in any way I will very gladly undertake it

Charles Darwin Esqre F.R.S. | &c &c &c


CD’s letter has not been found.
CD was working on Variation and completed a draft of his ‘long Chapter’ on plant variation, eventually published as chapters 9 and 10, in December 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II); strawberries were discussed in Variation 1: 351–4. CD may have written to Anderson-Henry seeking the same information that he sought from readers of the Journal of Horticulture (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to the Journal of Horticulture, [before 25 November 1862]). Anderson-Henry evidently offered to send CD a strawberry hybrid in response (see letter to Isaac Anderson-Henry, 20 January [1863]). See also letter to Asa Gray, 2 January [1863] and n. 17.
‘Dimorphic condition in Primula; Anderson-Henry’s name is included on CD’s presentation list for this paper (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix III).
In ‘Two forms in species of Linum, CD examined the fertility of dimorphic forms, the ‘short-styled’ and ‘long-styled’, and discussed the length of the stamens and styles. CD was due to read his paper, ‘Two forms in species of Linum, before the Linnean Society in February 1863 (see letter from George Bentham, 16 January 1863).
Joseph Dalton Hooker and John Lindley.


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. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

‘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.]

‘Two forms in species of Linum’: On the existence of two forms, and on their reciprocal sexual relation, in several species of the genus Linum. By Charles Darwin. [Read 5 February 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): 69–83. [Collected papers 2: 93–105.]

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


Thanks for "Two forms of Primula" [Collected papers 2: 45–63].

Praise for Orchids.

Letter details

Letter no.
Isaac Anderson/Isaac Anderson Henry
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 159: 60
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3924,” accessed on 5 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11