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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. H. Balfour   22 September 1864

Tortworth Court | Wotton under Edge1

22 Sept 1864

My Dear Sir

Your letter2 has been forwarded to me at this place where I am spending a few days of leisure after the meeting of the British Association3   Hooker & his wife4 are here also & we have a very pleasant party

I dont know the Nurseryman in Edin. who can supply the Cowslips & Primroses which you want, but I shall write to Edin and endeavour to get the specimens you want from our Botanic Garden.

I think that Scott got his plants in the garden—5

I am glad to hear that you are carrying on your interesting investigations. Hooker tells me that you have lately been examining Lythrum in a similar way6

I am | Yours sincerely | J H Balfour


Tortworth Court, Wootton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, was the residence of Henry John Reynolds–Moreton, third earl of Ducie (Burke’s peerage 1864).
Letter to J. H. Balfour, 15 September [1864].
The British Association for the Advancement of Science held its annual meeting in Bath from 14 to 21 September 1864 (Report of the thirty-fourth meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, p. lix). See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [19 September 1864].
Balfour refers to Joseph Dalton and Frances Harriet Hooker.
John Scott. See letter to J. H. Balfour, 15 September [1864] and n. 2. Balfour was regius keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (R. Desmond 1994).
CD had begun to experiment on the trimorphic plant Lythrum salicaria in 1862; he completed his studies with the presentation of ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria at the Linnean Society on 16 June 1864. For an account of CD’s experiments on this plant between 1862 and 1864, see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix III. For CD’s earlier work on dimorphism, see the letter to Daniel Oliver, 17 September [1864] and n. 4.


Burke’s peerage: A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of the United Kingdom. Burke’s peerage and baronetage. 1st– edition. London: Henry Colburn [and others]. 1826–.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]


Does not know an Edinburgh nurseryman who can supply the cowslips and primroses CD wants; will try to get them from the Botanic Garden.

Hears from Hooker that CD is also examining Lythrum.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Hutton Balfour
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 33
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4620,” accessed on 8 March 2021,

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