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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Daniel Oliver   [27 March 1863]1

Royal Gardens Kew

Friday morng.

My dear Mr. Darwin

By this post the flowers of the Edwardsia are sent in small tin box. I enclose bracts of some Marcgraaviaceae.—2

I am busy upon West African Amomums,3—the genus furnishing “Grains of Paradise” &c. & characterised by anthers with curious crest variable in different species, as over 3-lobate crest

[2 DIAGS HERE] Median lobe of crest —spreading arms usually curved in at front. In bud the lateral arms stick up

The flowers have each but one anther the cells of which embrace the top of style & the capsulate stigma projects at top. I can’t guess how the crest-arms work; they are (the lateral ones) so usual & so frequently incurved, altering from bud to flower, that one cannot but think they are not useless but serve some thing.

Ever very sincerely yrs | D Oliver


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to Daniel Oliver, 24–5 March [1863] and 28 March [1863]; the intervening Friday was 27 March 1863.
A paper by Oliver and Daniel Hanbury, entitled ‘On some new species of Amomum from West Africa’, was read before the Linnean Society on 16 April 1863 (Oliver and Hanbury 1863).


Sends some specimens for CD.

Is busy with W. African Amomum, whose floral structure he discusses.

Letter details

Letter no.
Daniel Oliver
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 173: 23
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4328,” accessed on 13 April 2021,

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