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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Daniel Oliver   27 February 1863

Royal Gardens Kew


My Dear Sir.

You ask about Primula longiflora.1 It is not near P. scotica. It is an Alpine plant with Corollas 14 in. long or more   The style considerly. exserted in most or all(?) our specms.— P. scotica I have gathered in Sutherlandsh.2 but never noticed dimorphism. From a few plants bro’t home & cultivated it wd. hardly be safe to settle it. I put in a few flowers wh. indicate varying length of style (I may be mistaken);—these are from Mr. Brown’s Herbarium.3

I shd. much like a 2 page Abstract of your Linum paper for next No. of N.H.R. but doubt if I have chance of seeing it in type in time.4

Very Sincerely yours | Dl. Oliver


CD had asked Oliver whether Primula longiflora was ‘closely allied’ to P. scotica after being informed that both species were non-dimorphic (see letter to Daniel Oliver, 20 [February 1863] and n. 4).
The reference is to Sutherlandshire, Scotland.
Oliver refers to the herbarium of Robert Brown, keeper of the botanical department at the British Museum until his death in 1858. Brown left his herbarium to his assistant and successor John Joseph Bennett. The collection was kept in a room in the basement of the British Museum, and ‘working botanists’ were allowed access (Journal of Botany, British and Foreign n.s. 5 (1876): 192; Mabberley 1985, p. 387).
Oliver was one of the editors of the quarterly journal Natural History Review, and was preparing the April issue. ‘Two forms in species of Linum’, read before the Linnean Society on 5 February 1863, was not available in print until 13 May 1863 (General index to the Journal of the Linnean Society p. vi). CD, however, arranged for a number of offprints of the paper to be distributed in mid-April; Oliver’s name appears on the presentation list (see Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix IV). The paper was reviewed in the July issue of the Natural History Review (Natural History Review 3: 476–8).


Answers CD’s query on Primula longiflora and P. scotica.

Would like abstract of CD’s paper ["Two forms of Linum", Collected papers 2: 93–105] for Natural History Review.

Letter details

Letter no.
Daniel Oliver
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 108: 178
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4015,” accessed on 20 July 2019,

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