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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [20 May 1864]



My Dear Father,

I am sorry to say you have misunderstood my letter,1 I wrote in a great hurry & was afraid it was not quite clear. In the diagrams of the long styled, each separate drawing is from the anther of a different plant; and all I meant was, that XX looked so large that I was alarmed whether it was not a short styled anther after all, & that I had made a blunder; so I took it & compared it with what I knew to be Long styled anthers’ pollen, & I found them both the same, proving that it was a long styled as I had intended.2

When I said X & XX did not come from same flower, all I meant was that out of the 5 Long styled anthers I drew, 2 separate plants had the long anthers. I will get some pulmonaria and see about the anthers, whether the larger anthers run through whole plants or whether each plant has a large one—3

I have not yet separated the Menyanthes into bundles & counted the proportion, but I will.4

I will also see about marking Menyanthes

CD annotations

3.1 I have … Menyanthes 4.1] crossed pencil
Cover: ‘Pulmonaria’ ink; ‘May 22d 64’ pencil; ‘5’ red crayon, circled red crayon
Cover, verso: ‘Pulmonaria’ pencil; ‘Pulmonaria’ ink; ‘May 22d 64 | Length of Anthers | More imperfect pollen grain in long-styled5   Long-styled seem to have long-anthers’6 pencil


CD’s letter querying statements in William’s letter of 18 May [1864] has not been found.
See letter from W. E. Darwin, 18 May [1864] and n. 3; William is referring to his marked drawings of long-styled anthers in the enclosure to that letter.
CD had evidently queried William’s discovery of longer anthers from buds on the long-styled forms as described in the enclosure to William’s letter of 18 May [1864], and may have asked if the long anthers on the long-styled flowers were common on flowers of a single plant, or if they appeared infrequently in each plant. CD believed that in most heterostyled species, the short-styled flower forms often had longer anthers than the long-styled flower forms (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 3 May [1864] and n. 2). William had already provided additional evidence of longer anthers on the opened, long-styled Pulmonaria angustifolia flowers (see letter from W. E. Darwin, 12 May [1864] and n. 6). See also letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 May [1864] and nn. 4 and 5.
CD refers to the counts of good and bad pollen from the two different flower forms that William had sent in his letter of 18 May [1864]. CD also recorded this information in the abstract numbered ‘5’ in DAR 110: A53, which correlates to the ‘5’ in CD’s annotation.
See n. 3, above.


Clarifies his letter of 18 May [4500].

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
MY 20 64
Source of text
DAR 110: A82, A87–8
Physical description
inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4504,” accessed on 3 July 2022,

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