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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [31 July 1863]1



Dear Darwin

A small parcel of 3 or 4 tendrilliferous plants go to you today.2 I wish there were more— with them is a flowering plant of the Lagerstrœmia with its 2 forms of stamen—3

All are tropical except the Cissus antarctica4 They go by Rail today & will no doubt arrive at Bromley tomorrow (Saturday).

I hoped to have gone to Down on tomorrow night for Sunday, but Boott is very ill, & must go & see him— he is I hope better but in a very hazardous state—the lungs again.5

When I go to you may I bring Willy with me? he will be no plague to any one & can amuse himself now.6

You will find a paper on Tendrils of Cucurbit. in Ann. Sc. Nat. by Naudin who I think proves them to be foliar in the opinion of most readers, but I have no opinion of my own7

Have you seen Decaisne on Pear vars.?—no great novelty but authoritative, & hence useful.—8 He says that Larkspurs’ fertilize before Expansion9

Wollaston was here the other day & spent 2 days very pleasant, looking dreadfully ill.10 he snubs Bates & all that kind of work (yours of course included) consumedly—like a good thoroughly consistent out & out uncompromising species-monger & typic of an Entomologist.11

Oliver goes to country tomorrow12   my Father is away & I am “Head-clerk, Cook & bottle-washer” to the Establishment.13

I cannot get to Down for at least 3 weeks I fear.

Examinations come thick & fast for first 3 weeks of August14

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Catasetum tridentatum | Book’ ink


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to J. D. Hooker, 26 [July 1863] and 3 August [1863]; the intervening Friday was 31 July.
There are experimental notes on Cissus antarctica, dated 14 August 1863, in DAR 157.2: 57.
The botanist Francis Boott, who had long suffered from poor health, died on 25 December 1863; his cause of death was reportedly ‘disease of the right lung, induced by pneumonia’ (DNB).
Decaisne 1863. Francis Darwin’s manuscript index of CD’s collection of offprints refers to an article by Decaisne on ‘variation of fruit trees’ (DAR 252); however, there is no offprint corresponding to this description in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. See also n. 9, below. CD referred to Decaisne 1863 in Variation 1: 350.
Decaisne 1863, pp. 10–11. CD disputed Joseph Decaisne’s statements on this point in Cross and self fertilisation, p. 129 n., apparently giving the pagination of an offprint of the paper. See also n. 8, above.
Like many entomologists, Wollaston was an outspoken critic of CD’s theory (see Westwood 1860 and Correspondence vol. 8). Henry Walter Bates, by contrast, had endorsed natural selection, arguing that mimicry in Amazonian butterflies offered ‘a most beautiful proof of the truth of the theory’ (Bates 1861, p. 513). See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [13 May 1863] and n. 28.
Daniel Oliver was assistant in the herbarium and librarian at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (R. Desmond 1994, List of the Linnean Society of London 1863).
Hooker was assistant director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; his father, William Jackson Hooker, was director.
Hooker probably refers to examinations at the University of London, where he was examiner in botany (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1862] and n. 4). He was also examiner for the Society of Apothecaries’ prize in botany, and a botanical examiner for medical officers in the armed services and the East India Company (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 385–7 and 537).


Bates, Henry Walter. 1861. Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley. Lepidoptera: Heliconidæ. [Read 21 November 1861.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 23 (1860–2): 495–566.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Decaisne, Joseph. 1863. De la variabilité dans l’espèce du poirier; résultat d’expériences faites au Muséum d’histoire naturelle de 1853 à 1862 inclusivement. Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des sciences 57: 6–17. [Reprinted in Annales des sciences naturelles (botanique) 4th ser. 20: 188–200.]

Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

List of the Linnean Society of London. London: [Linnean Society of London]. 1805–1939.

Naudin, Charles Victor. 1855. Organographie végétale. Observations relatives à la nature des vrilles et à la structure de la fleur chez les cucurbitacées. Annales des Sciences Naturelles (Botanique) 4th ser. 4: 5–19.

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

Westwood, John Obadiah. 1860. Mr Darwin’s theory of development. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 5: 347–8. [Reprinted from Gardeners’ Chronicle, 11 February 1860, p. 122.]


Sends "tendrilliferous" plants.

Plans visit to Down.

Naudin’s paper on tendrils [Ann. Sci. Nat. (Bot.) 4th ser. 9 (1863): 180–203].

T. V. Wollaston snubs Bates’s work.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 154–5
Physical description
inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4226,” accessed on 23 June 2024,

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