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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. H. Harvey   8 November [1864]1

4. Winton Road | Leeson Park, Dublin

Nov. 8th. Evening.

Dear Darwin

Only this evening I received your reminder of the 5th.2 addressed to College—3 But in truth it was neither forgetfulness nor neglect which prevented my sending you an answer to the Mem. Joseph Hooker gave me in London4— which mem. I have kept ever since in my pocketbook—but, since my return from England I have been shut up in the house—by order of my physician—& have been forbidden going to College— Now I cant give you the particulars you require till I can consult the specimens in the Herb.—& I must wait for a fine day to be allowed to do this, even in a closed carriage. All I can promise therefore is to send you the particulars the very first day that I am permitted to go to town. I hope it may be in a few days— I assure you I shall not miss the first opportunity.5

I take it the climbing habit of these Cape plants has come on them through being grown under disadvantages of climate, in a warm greenhouse. Had they been grown under the dry, hot air of Algeria, I have no doubt they would have been like their S.A. brethren.— Almost all Cape shrubs (Heaths however less than others) are caricatured by the way they are grown here. I think I saw at Kew, Melianthus Major climbing up a pillar— He would never have done so under the free air at home.6

Hoping to write you in a few days, I am | Yours very truly | W. H. Harvey.

CD annotations

1.1 Only … house— 1.5] crossed pencil


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. H. Harvey, 10 November 1864.
CD’s letter to Harvey has not been found. He had been seeking information from Harvey about climbing plants native to the Cape region of South Africa since July (see memorandum to J. D. Hooker, [24 July 1864?] and n. 14, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 September [1864]).
Harvey was professor of botany and curator of the herbarium at Trinity College, Dublin (R. Desmond 1994).
CD had enclosed a memorandum for Harvey in his letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 October [1864]. The memorandum has not been found.
See letters from W. H. Harvey, 10 November 1864 and 11 November 1864.


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.


The plants from the Cape did not show climbing habit in native country; WHH believes it a consequence of their being grown under disadvantages of climate.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Henry Harvey
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 117
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4665,” accessed on 9 April 2020,

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