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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Daniel Oliver   [22 July 1864]1

Down Bromley Kent


Dear Oliver.

I am ashamed of myself for troubling you, busy as you are; but I was sorely tempted & I thought that you would naturally take a turn sometimes in the Garden.—2

I am very glad that you are going to have a holiday in France. On your return, perhaps you will observe this one point.— whether a leaf with a pitcher has ever fairly & closely wound round a stick or support.—3

My plant is improving for I have tried desperate methods of treatment & given it two steam baths daily at 100o. & it likes the stewing much.—4

The facts which you give me & your capital outlines will be of use.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Daniel Oliver. 21 July 1864. In 1864, the first Friday after 21 July was 22 July.
CD had asked Oliver about the climbing habits of Nepenthes (see letter to Daniel Oliver, 13 July [1864] and nn. 2 and 3, and letter from Daniel Oliver, 21 July 1864).
From his own observations, CD concluded that the leaves of Nepenthes wound around a stick in order to support the growing pitcher (see ‘Climbing plants’, pp. 46–7).
CD had much difficulty in cultivating Nepenthes (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 March [1863], and this volume, letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 April [1864]).


‘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.

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


Will DO observe whether leaf [of Nepenthes] with pitcher ever wound round a stick? CD’s plant is improving.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Daniel Oliver
Sent from
Source of text
Edward Ford (private collection); in September 2020 owned by ZHANG, Lun Xia (private collection)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4566,” accessed on 30 September 2022,

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