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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   18 June [1864]1


June 18.

My Dear Father,

I have signed the letter & forwarded it to Aunt Catherine.2 Corydalis Claviculata does grow here I think, I will have a look on Monday.3 My friend on the Isle of Wight sent me this morning what he triumphantly thought was Buckthorn, but it is Pyrus Tormentalis. I do’nt suppose I shall get Buckthorn this year now.4

I send you reference of Hermaphrodite Bees which I copy from the Revue itself5

Revue Des 2 Mondes

March 1st. 64.

Une Fête de la Science

Dans la Haute-Engadine pp 75–105

the Bees are mentioned pages—87–88—

I am at last settled down at the Bank, & find it very comfortable, though not so cheerful as Carlton Terrace; but I have managed to brighten myself up with flowers.6

I do’nt remember any tendrils on Corydal   I fancy I have some seed, unless I have lost it in moving.7

I will send you back Wallace very soon.8 I hope you keep up to the markers.

Your affect son | W. E Darwin

Do you want more photographs9


The year is established by the references to Revue des deux mondes and to William’s having moved house (see nn. 5 and 6, below).
CD’s sister Emily Catherine had married Charles Langton in October 1863; William, a banker, might have signed a letter concerning payments to Charles Langton following the marriage (see this volume, Supplement, letter from E. A. Darwin, Charles Darwin, and W. E. Darwin to Thomas Salt, 12 April 1864).
Corydalis claviculata, a synonym of Ceratocapnos claviculata (climbing corydalis), interested CD because it was intermediate between a leaf-climber and a tendril-bearer; CD finally ranked it among the tendril-bearers in his study of climbing plants (Climbing plants, pp. 45, 70–2).
CD wanted to see specimens of Rhamnus catharticus (a synonym of R. cathartica (buckthorn)) to determine whether the male and female flowers had different stylar forms (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from H. E. Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [18 May 1864]). Pyrus torminalis is a synonym of Sorbus torminalis, the wild service tree.
Revue des deux mondes, 1 March 1864, pp. 87–8, described recent observations by Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold on the generation of hermaphrodite bees; a similar report in Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 14 (1864): 158–9 was taken from Siebold 1864.
William had been lodging at 1 Carlton Terrace, Southampton (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to J. D. Hooker, [29 March 1863]. He was a partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, and presumably had moved into the premises of the bank at 25 High Street, Southampton.
See n. 3, above.
Alfred Russel Wallace’s paper on the origin of human races (Wallace 1864b); Wallace had sent CD a copy in May 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from A. R. Wallace, 10 May 1864 and n. 5).
William had taken a new photograph of his father some time before 19 May 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, frontispiece and letter from W. E. Darwin, [19 May 1864] and n. 8).


Doesn't think will be able to find Buckthorn. Sends reference from Revue de Deux Mondes. Is settled at the Bank.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 19)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4538F,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)