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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ludolph Christian Treviranus1   12 February 1863

Bonn (Rheinish Prussia)

Febr. 12. 1863.

Most honoured Sir

In due time I received Your kind letters, dated 18. and 24. Jun. p. Year.2 In the latter of them You expressed a wish, to have any knowledge from what I should publish about the matter, treated in so excellent a manner by You in several publications.3 In consequence I have availed myself to send You by care of Mrs. Williams & Norgate4 two copies of N. 1. and 2. of Botanische Zeitung 1863.5 one for You and the other for Dr. Jos. Hooker, to whom You will be so kind, to present it with my kindest regards.6 In this paper You will find, that, besides making known to my countrymen Your most valuable labours about the aid of insects in fertilising flowers, I have ventured to detail, in what points I coincide with Your opinions and in which I differ. Yet in doing so, I have never uttered any differing view, without such reasons, as seemed sufficiently founded to my mind and without expressing me deep and unrefreined esteem for Your merits upon this widely extending field for observation7

Believe me, dear and honoured Sir, Your | very faithful servant | L. C. Treviranus | Prof: Bot. Bonn.


Treviranus wrote ‘ÿ’ for ‘y’ throughout; these letters have been transcribed as ‘y’ in accordance with English practice.
CD’s letters to Treviranus have not been found; CD probably discussed the proposal that Treviranus prepare a translation of Orchids for the Stuttgart publishing firm, E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. However, Heinrich Georg Bronn, the translator of Origin, had already completed most of the translation when the proposal was made (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from H. G. Bronn, 21 June 1862, and letter from E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 11 July 1862).
Treviranus was particularly interested in CD’s work on the pollination of flowers. His review of Origin was the first review of the book to appear in a German botanical journal (Treviranus 1861). In Treviranus 1863a (see n. 5, below), he provided commentaries on several of CD’s botanical publications, including letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, [before 13 November 1858] (Correspondence vol. 7), Origin, ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula, and Orchids.
Williams & Norgate was a firm of London booksellers and publishers, specialising in foreign scientific literature (Modern English biography).
The reference is to Treviranus 1863a, which appeared in the Botanische Zeitung. There is a lightly annotated copy of the work in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
In his article, Treviranus discussed CD’s doctrine that ‘nature … abhors perpetual self-fertilisation’ (Orchids, p. 359; see also Origin, p. 97). His main objection was that CD had not explained why the hermaphrodite character should be so common in plants if self-fertilisation was significantly injurious (see Treviranus 1863a, p. 2).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.]

Modern English biography: Modern English biography, containing many thousand concise memoirs of persons who have died since the year 1850. By Frederick Boase. 3 vols. and supplement (3 vols.). Truro, Cornwall: the author. 1892–1921.

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.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Treviranus, Ludolph Christian. 1861. [Review of J. D. Hooker’s Flora Tasmaniæ.] Botanische Zeitung 19: 133–5, 142–4.


Sends his paper ["Über Dichogamie nach C. C. Sprengel und Ch. Darwin", Bot. Ztg. (1863): 1–7, 9–16].

Letter details

Letter no.
Ludolph Christian Treviranus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 182
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3980,” accessed on 19 April 2024,

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