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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   24 May 1864


May 24 64

My Dear Father,

I enclose drawings of more Menyanthes anthers,1 tho’ I am not sure whether you want them.

No’s 4 & 5 in first set of short styled anthers have double lines in part of the out-line, that is where gum on drying appeared to have contracted the anthers.2

I unfortunately put all 10 (being all the anthers from 4 separate flowers from different plants, 2 long, & 2 short) on the glass at once, so that by the time I had drawn some the others had shrunk a little. As you see in (1) flower of the long styled also, in (2) flowers of the short-styled

I also enclose drawings of Pulmonaria anthers.3 I took them all from the buds or as near buds as I could get.

You will see I have one flower of long & short marked as “hardly beginning to open” which appeared to me to be just in the same state, or if anything the long styled was the least bit more advanced.4

I am afraid I have gathered the last of the Pulmonaria except in full bloom, as it was I had a job to find buds.

Your affect. Son | W E D

I have come across an old book published at Newark in 1787 written by Robert Waring Darwin brother of Erasmus called Principia Botanica5

[Enclosure 1]6

Long styled Menyanthes 1 (1) (2) (3) (4)

L. St. M 2 (5) (5) (1) (2) (3) (4)

[Enclosure 2]

Short styled Menyanthes anthers 1 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Shortstyled Menyanthes 2 5 (1) (2) (3) (4)

[Enclosure 3]


(Very small corolla) Short styled anthers open much more than either of the long styled, pollen nearly all shed

[Enclosure 4]


Long sty P. bud with anthers hardly beginning to open

[Enclosure 5]


Long styled P (1 flower bud)

anthers open.

L Styled P. 1 flower bud

anthers broad looking from being open and pressed on the glass

by 1 flower bud I mean anthers from same flower and from as near a bud I could find

[Enclosure 6]


Sh Sty. P (1 flower bud) anthers hardly beginning to open

Short Styled P. (1 flower bud) anthers just beginning to open

CD annotations

0.2 May 24 64] ‘24’ double underl pencil; ‘64’ del pencil; ‘1864’ added above ‘64’, pencil; ‘Menyanth’ added below, pencil
3.4 also, … short-styled] del pencil
3.4 styled] ‘also in (2) flowers of the short-styled’7 added after, pencil
4.1 Pulmonaria] double underl pencil
8.1 I have … Botanica 8.2] crossed pencil
Top of second page: ‘May 24th 1864’ pencil
Enclosure 1: top of enclosure: ‘May 24th 1864’ pencil; above right-hand column: ‘Menyanthes’ pencil
Top of enclosure 2: ‘May 24 1864’ pencil
Bottom of enclosure 3: ‘May 24th 1864’ pencil
Bottom of enclosure 4: ‘May 24th 1864’ pencil
Enclosure 5: ‘May 24th 1864’ pencil
Enclosure 6: ‘May 24th 1864’ pencil


For William’s drawings of Menyanthes anthers, see enclosures 1 and 2. For his earlier drawings of anthers from the dimorphic Menyanthes trifoliata, see letter from W. E. Darwin, [19 May 1864].
William refers to the first set of short-styled anthers in enclosure 2.
CD had asked for comparisons of anthers from the buds of Pulmonaria angustifolia in his letter of 14 May [1864]. William had already sent drawings of anthers from buds with his letter of 18 May [1864]; see also letter from W. E. Darwin, [20 May 1864] and nn. 2 and 3. For William’s enclosed drawings of P. angustifolia anthers, see enclosures 3–6.
William refers to the anthers from the long-styled specimens in enclosure 4, and to the top four anthers from the short-styled specimens in enclosure 6.
Robert Waring Darwin (1724–1816) was Erasmus Darwin’s brother and CD’s great-uncle; his Principia botanica; or, a concise and easy introduction to the sexual botany of Linnæus was published in 1787 in Newark, Lincolnshire (R. W. Darwin 1787). CD’s reading notebooks record that he read R. W. Darwin 1787 in 1838 (see ‘CD’s Reading notebooks’ (DAR 119: 4a) and Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV); however, CD’s copy in the Rare Books Room–CUL is the third edition (R. W. Darwin 1810). See also Marginalia 1: 187.
All the enclosed sketches are reproduced at 50 per cent of their original size.
With these words CD was completing the sentence that continued on the next page of the letter; most of the next page concerned Pulmonaria, rather than Menyanthes, and CD probably separated the letter’s two pages.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Darwin, Robert Waring. 1810. Principia botanica: or, a concise and easy introduction to the sexual botany of Linnæus. 3d edition. Newark, Lincolnshire: M. Hage.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


Encloses drawings of Menyanthes and Pulmonaria anthers.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 110: A89–93, B48–50
Physical description
ALS 4pp †, 2 CD notes, diags 6pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4508,” accessed on 30 June 2022,

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