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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [4–]6 August 18641

Royal Gardens Kew

Aug 6/64.

Dear Darwin

I Hanburya climbs immensely like any other Cucurbit: to which order it belongs—it takes any amount of heat.2

II Cobæa seems to be a true Polemoniaceæ according to Bentham.3

III I have written about the Matador tree4

IV. I sent Beer yesterday.5

V I have written to Harvey.6

VI. We have no seed of Boronia.7

VII. Nepenthes climbs famously by the stalk of the pitcher & the pitcher fully develops after the process—it also thickens   Our Nepenthes have improved vastly since I first drew attention to them, & they are clambering away by said stalk beautifully.8

VIII The climbing Corydalis, of Sikkim is Dicentra thalictrifolia.9

IX. Vanilla only uses its roots to adhere like other Orchids10

X The Jasminum is J. parviflorum from Timor.11

I am looking out for other Climbers, for you— have you tried any Polygoneæ, they have not tendrils.12 I have heaps of examinations this week. I could not get off that for Army Asst. Surgeon, who have made the Nat. Hist. Exmn. voluntary & propose to pay me whether there are any candidates or no!13 I shall have a whole day clear to map out Nat Ords & shall use it, vigorously & see what I can make of it—14

Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker

XI Apios tuberosa is all but hardy & should flower15


Hooker wrote ‘Thursday’ in the heading and then deleted it; he evidently wrote at least four answers to CD’s queries on Thursday (see n. 5, below). In 1864, 6 August was a Saturday.
See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 4.
George Bentham. The description of Cobaea as a genus of climbing plants in the family Polemoniaceae later appeared in Bentham’s Handbook of the British flora (Bentham 1865, 2: 567). See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 9.
Hooker evidently passed CD’s query on to Richard Spruce. See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 11, and letter from Richard Spruce to J. D. Hooker, 29 July 1864.
See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 12. CD acknowledged receipt of Beer 1863 in his letter of [5 August] 1864 (a Friday); therefore, Hooker probably sent the book to CD on Wednesday 3 August.
William Henry Harvey. See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 14.
See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 15.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 9 [March] 1864 and n. 22. CD had also corresponded with Daniel Oliver about the climbing habits of Nepenthes (see letters to Daniel Oliver, 13 July [1864] and n. 2, and [22 July 1864] and n. 3, and letter from Daniel Oliver, 21 July 1864). CD cited Hooker’s remarks in ‘Climbing plants’, p. 46.
See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 10.
See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 6.
See memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 5. Hooker was evidently mistaken, for he later identified CD’s specimen as Jasminum pauciflorum (see letters from J. D. Hooker, [15 August 1864] and 26 August 1864).
In ‘Climbing plants’, p. 16, CD cites information on Polygonum dumetorum from Dutrochet 1844, p. 299, noting that he observed no allied plants.
Hooker was an examiner for the medical service of the Indian army (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 5 July 1864 and n. 7).
Hooker probably refers to his work on Genera plantarum (Bentham and Hooker 1862–83).
Apios tuberosa, a species of twining herbs in the family Leguminosae, is not mentioned in ‘Climbing plants’ or in CD’s notes.


Beer, Joseph Georg. 1863. Beiträge zur Morphologie und Biologie der Familie der Orchideen. Vienna: Carl Gerold’s Sohn.

Bentham, George. 1865b. Handbook of the British flora; a description of the flowering plants and ferns indigenous to, or naturalized in, the British Isles. For the use of beginners and amateurs. 2 vols. London: Lovell Reeve & Co.

‘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.

Dutrochet, René Joachim Henri. 1844. Recherches sur la volubilité des tiges de certains végétaux et sur la cause de ce phénomène. Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des Sciences 19: 295–303.


Replies to CD’s queries on climbing plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 157.2: 109
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4585,” accessed on 28 May 2024,

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