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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Scott   21 September [1863]1

Edinburgh | Botanic Gardens

Sept. 21st.


I have now finished my work on Primulas for this season.2 The greater part of it you will find in my Manuscript which I send off by to-days mail.3 You kindly promised to review it for me; and should it prove worthy, lay it before the Linnæan Society.4 I shall therefore be glad—if you can spare time to look it over—to re-write it in accordance with your criticisms. I am sorry that I had no ⁠⟨⁠opportunity to⁠⟩⁠ consult as to arrang⁠⟨⁠ement⁠⟩⁠ as I fear that my want of ⁠⟨⁠order⁠⟩⁠ will give you much unnecessary trouble.

I sent you a few weeks ago two copies of my paper on Sterility of Orchids.5 I hope they came duly to hand.

In your last letter you asked about seeds of the Linum monogynum.6 I have had a long-styled plant from a friend: it has now four fine plump capsules upon it, which I will send you when ripe.7

I will send you shortly results of my work on Peloric Antirrhinums,8 and Verbascums.9 The latter promise ⁠⟨⁠to be very⁠⟩⁠ interesting, they have afforded ⁠⟨⁠evidence of individual⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠terility, both male ⁠⟨⁠and femal⁠⟩⁠e proving good by the action ⁠⟨⁠of different⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠spe⁠⟩⁠cies

It will be later in the season before I can send results on the Passifloras & Maize.10 The former promise to be of great interest.

Some months ago I mentioned that I had observed female flowers on the terminal male spikes of Maize.11 If you would now like to see such a spike I can send you one.

I shall be glad to hear what you think of my Primula work when you have a little time to spare.12 And for the present | I remain | Yours respectfully & obliged | J. Scott

CD annotations

Top of first page: ‘Typical form Acropera’


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the following letter.
See letters from John Scott, [3 June 1863] and 23 July [1863].
Scott refers to the manuscript of Scott 1864a.
See letters to John Scott, 25 and 28 May [1863] and 6 June [1863]. CD communicated Scott 1864a to the Linnean Society; it was read on 4 February 1864.
Scott 1863a. CD’s copy of this paper is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Scott had sent a second copy of the paper for CD to give to Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter from John Scott, 16 June [1863], and letter to John Scott, 20 [June 1863]).
CD had suggested that Scott conduct crossing experiments with peloric plants (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to John Scott, 19 December [1862]; see also this volume, letters from John Scott, 6 January 1863 and 16 June [1863], and letters to John Scott, 6 June [1863] and 20 [June 1863]). Scott sent CD the results from his experiments in 1864, but they differed from CD’s own, and were not included in Variation (see Correspondence vol. 12, letters from John Scott, 19 March 1864, 10 June [1864], and 20 June [1864], and Variation 2: 166–7).
At CD’s suggestion, Scott had undertaken to repeat some of the crossing experiments of Karl Friedrich von Gärtner with differently coloured varieties of Verbascum (see Correspondence vol. 10, letters to John Scott, 19 November [1862], 11 December [1862], and 19 December [1862], and letter from John Scott, 17 December [1862]). Scott published his results from these experiments in Scott 1867. See also letter to John Scott, 7 November [1863].
CD had encouraged Scott to carry out crossing experiments on Zea mays (maize) and species of Passiflora similar to those discussed in Origin, pp. 250–1 and 270 (see Correspondence vol. 10, letters to John Scott, 11 December [1862] and 19 December [1862], and letter from John Scott, 17 December [1862]). See also this volume, enclosure to letter to John Scott, 6 March 1863, letters from John Scott, 21 March [1863] and n. 4, and 21 May [1863] and n. 17, and letters to John Scott, 24 March [1863] and 7 November [1863]. Scott published the results of his experiments with Passiflora in Scott 1864d.


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

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.

Scott, John. 1867. On the reproductive functional relations of several species and varieties of Verbasca. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 36 (pt 2): 145–74.

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


Sends Primula MS, which CD has promised to communicate to Linnean Society [see 4213].

Will soon send results on peloric Antirrhinum.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Scott
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
Source of text
DAR 177: 96
Physical description
ALS 3pp damaged †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4301,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

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