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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Daniel Oliver   [17 March 1864]1

Thursdy. morng.

I have been looking at several species of Tecoma this morning. Trained up walls & iron girders or rafters they are more peculiarly unfavourable conditions for exhibition of climbing idiosyncrasies!—

T. capensis exhibits no rootlets nor do I see any indication of twining. It wd. seem to be a scrambler! T. undulata— I think I saw but a young plant. I doubt if it shew any twisting or climbing.—

T. jasminoides & T. Latrobei I find tips of branches spirally twisted—2 I put them in herewith.— T. Latrobei is the small-leaved one

Yours very sincerely D. O.

I wrote you about axis & leaf a few days ago.3 I have been thinking that I shd perhaps apologise for a letter which might have been more seemly if addressed to one of my students—but from the way in which the enquiry was put I thought there was indication of doubt upon one or two matters which routinists regard in the light of axioms.

CD annotations

1.1 I have … one. 3.2] crossed pencil
5.1 I wrote … axioms. 5.5] crossed pencil


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Daniel Oliver, 11 March [1864]. In 1864, the Thursday following 11 March fell on March 17.
CD had asked about the climbing movements of several species of Tecoma in his letter of 11 March [1864]. Though there is a note recording observations of T. jasminoides in DAR 157.1: 45, the only Tecoma species CD mentions in ‘Climbing plants’ is T. radicans (a synonym of Campsis radicans, the trumpet creeper; see pp. 25, 106, 114); he found that it climbed by its rootlets, and suspected that slight movements of its shoots were an indication that it had once been a twining plant. See CD’s notes on T. radicans in DAR 157.1: 59–60.


‘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.


Observations on climbing species of Tacoma. [Tecoma!?]

Letter details

Letter no.
Daniel Oliver
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 157.2: 107
Physical description
ALS 2pp inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4418,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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