skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [15 May 1864]



My dear Hooker.

We hear that you have returned & that they at Barlaston enjoyed your visit & that you begrimed yourself to your heart’s content with old dirty casts.1 I am to that degree presumptuous that instead of amusing myself by scribbling to you, I most days write a few paragraphs or sentences at my Lythrum paper, which I hope to send to Linn. Soc. this session.—2 Everything comes out very clearly.— As you are working, you poor wretch, at Melastomas, I suppose you will soon come to Lythraceæ; in looking at species with large flowers remember different lengths of pistils & stamens & if possible let me see.3 The Lagerstrœmia has flowered with me & by analogy is mid-styled & shd have 2 other forms.—4

I was very glad to get your last note with good news about Bates’ place; but I fear it will end his Nat. Hist. papers.5 By the way what a capital paper that was by Wallace.6

Your suggestion about Mr Bennett & Leersia has fructified & I shall get plants when they are up.—7

Thanks for letter from N. America forwarded to me.—8

Your penultimate letter told me much about yourself, which I wished much to hear.—9

I have now been more than a month without sickness,10 but I do not at all rapidly grow strong, & have to go to bed 2 or 3 times per day.— But it makes a wonderful difference in my life, that I can now occupy myself a little with old pursuits & read a little.

Farewell my dear old friend | C. Darwin


CD had not yet received the letter from Hooker in which he discussed his visit to Emma Darwin’s brother, Francis Wedgwood, and his family at Barlaston, Staffordshire (see letter from JDHooker, 14 May 1864 and nn. 4–7).
Hooker had referred to his work on the Melastomaceae for his contribution to Bentham and Hooker 1862–83 in his letter of [26 or 27 April 1864]; the order Melastomaceae corresponds approximately to the modern family Melastomataceae. CD’s paper ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria (see n. 2, above) investigated sexual trimorphism in Lythrum, a member of the Lythraceae.
CD had reminded himself to mention his Lagerstroemia, also a member of the Lythraceae, in his annotation to the letter from J. D. Hooker, [after 28 April 1864]. Keen to study its heterostyly, CD had acquired a Lagerstroemia from Hooker in 1863 (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 and 22 May [1863] and n. 13, and letter from J. D. Hooker, [31 July 1863]). CD referred to a mid-styled plant of L. indica in his notes in DAR 109: B116–17 and DAR 27.2: A17 v., and in Forms of flowers, p. 167. He concluded that the evidence for heterostyly in the species was ‘curiously conflicting’ (Forms of flowers, p. 168).
In his letter of [after 28 April 1864], Hooker enclosed a note from Henry Walter Bates announcing his election as assistant secretary of the Royal Geographical Society.
The letter has not been identified.


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

Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]


CD finishing Lythrum paper [Collected papers 2: 106–31].

Pleased at Bates’s appointment

and Wallace’s paper.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 233
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4496,” accessed on 25 July 2024,

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