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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   24 [February 1864]



My dear Hooker.—

Do not hate me much— Can you spare me a Smilax with tendrils— You did give me S. aspera (var with mottled leaves) & I failed quite in making out action of tendrils, & this makes me unhappy, for as I now understand Gloriosa, this genus of Smilax alone has wholly beaten me—1 Enquire whether a young plant cd. be spared & if so, when the frost is gone, send it to care of “Down Postman” “per Rail Bromley Kent”2 & again I say do not hate me—

C. D.—


For CD’s observation of Gloriosa, see letter to J. D. Hooker, [8 February 1864] and n. 8. In his letter to Hooker of 25 [August 1863] (Correspondence vol. 11), CD wrote that he was ‘quite stumped’ by the Smilax aspera tendrils. His 1864 experiments with S. aspera var. maculata are dated 30 April and 4, 14, 18, and 19 May (see DAR 157.2: 25), and are discussed in ‘Climbing plants’, pp. 68–70.
Hooker noted sending Smilax in his letter of 16 March 1864.


‘Climbing plants’: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 2 February 1865.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 9 (1867): 1–118.

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


Asks for a Smilax to study movement.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 222
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4414,” accessed on 7 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12