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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   30 August 1864

Royal Gardens Kew

Aug 30/64

Dear old D,

I scarce ventured to hope to see you here.1

Are you sure that your B. unguis is rightly named? There are no limits to the misplacement of labels amongst gardeners.2

Scott is off & I hope happily— my only fear is that he is a timid man, but I am sure he ought to & will do well— I saw too little of him, being overwhelmed with work.3

I am very sure that it is not worth your while nor expedient for you to answer Kollicker.4 It would not be dignified for the author of so great a book to enter into a discussion upon it in a weekly periodical— You cannot fancy Lyell answering an attack on the principles of the Principles in such an ephemeral periodical— (No offence to the Reader which I like & approve).5 Kollicker is extraordinary weak—& his grounds preoccupied— Then too Owen may attack him for taking his idea up, & a pretty diagram duel ensue.6 No my dear old D. let it alone. I should not object to a third party answering it.—but in truth it is not worth answering. It is a sort of article of which no one will recollect the arguments after 6 days.

If you do run down to Kew on Thursday afternoon or evening you will find Falconer, G. Wallich & H. Christy7 in the Gardens who eat at my house at 7 PM.

I spent as usual a delightful Sunday with Lubbock—which is my “little Down”.8

Ever yrs | J D Hooker

Referring to Herbm. I find that young states of 2 or 3 sp. (allies of unguis) may be confounded with B. unguis—& that without Flower it would be difficult to identify them.9


Before his departure for Calcutta, John Scott had visited Hooker at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 August 1864]).
Hooker refers to Charles Lyell and Principles of geology (C. Lyell 1853), and to the Reader.
As an alternative to CD’s theory of evolution by natural selection, Kölliker proposed a theory of parthenogenesis according to which new forms developed from the ova or germs of parent organisms without fertilisation (see Kölliker 1864c, p. 235). Richard Owen had coined the term ‘parthenogenesis’ in R. Owen 1849.
John Lubbock lived near Down in Chislehurst, Kent.
See n. 2, above.


John Scott has sailed.

Concurs with Lyell that CD need not reply to Kölliker.

CD’s Bignonia plants cannot be told apart without flowers.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 236–7
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4602,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

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