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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   15 [February 1865]1



My dear Hooker

I write again chiefly to tell Oliver not to trouble himself to inform me on Hildebrand’s paper in Bot. Zeitung on Pulmonaria; as author has sent me a copy.—2 Secondly to tell you not to come here, if you had thought of it, on Feb. 25th, as we shall have visitors & this would spoil for me your visit.—3 Any other Saturday, when you can spare time wd suit us.—

Can you give me any notion what to subscribe for poor dear Falconer’s bust: would 5 guineas be too much or not enough?—4

I meant to have shown you a paper by Heer,—, an address to some Helvetic Soc:—in which he discusses alpine & arctic Floras—5 he does not allude to your paper, but considers Scandinavia as parent source, from being oldest mountain range6

Wallace has published some splendid papers in Proc. Zoolog. Soc. & Geograph. Journal on distribution in Malay Arch.—7

I am reading & skimming through Lyell’s new Edit. of Elements:8 it is an astonishing monument of labour, knowledge & clear thought. What a wonderful man he is.— I wish some one wd concentrate similar knowledge & labour on a work on the whole science of Botany, excluding of course systematic Botany.9 I do believe a work of great interest cd. be made. There is a redundance of elementary Treatises: but a summary of knowledge seems to me much wanted.—

Yours affect | C. Darwin


The date is established by the reference to the memorial fund for Hugh Falconer (see n. 4, below).
CD refers to ‘Dimorphismus von Pulmonaria officinalis’ by the German botanist Friedrich Hildebrand (Hildebrand 1865, pp. 13–15). In his letter to J. D. Hooker, 10 December [1864] (Correspondence vol. 12), CD asked Hooker to ask Daniel Oliver to look out for discussions of CD’s work on floral dimorphism in Botanische Zeitung; he especially wanted to see the paper by Hildebrand on dimorphic Pulmonaria (see also Correspondence vol. 12, letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 21 June 1864, and letter to Friedrich Hildebrand, 25 June [1864]). Hildebrand 1865 appeared in two parts, the first part in the issue of Botanische Zeitung for 6 January 1865, pp. 1–6, and the second part in the issue for 13 January 1865, pp. 13–15. CD’s annotated copy of Hildebrand 1865 is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL (pamphlets Q262 and G1236). CD cited the second part of the paper in ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’, p. 430, and in Forms of flowers, p. 101.
In his letter of 9 February [1865], CD had encouraged Hooker to visit Down House. On 25 February 1865, Emma Darwin recorded in her diary (DAR 242) that ‘Ed. 3 Jossi & Horace’ came; that is, Edmund Langton and Katherine Elizabeth Sophy, Margaret Susan, and Lucy Caroline Wedgwood visited, and Horace Darwin, who had been in London since 20 February, returned home. The ‘Josselinas’ was the family nickname for Caroline and Josiah Wedgwood III’s daughters, with whom Edmund Langton was friendly (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Charles and Emma Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [4 May 1863]).
CD may have read the notice in the Reader, 11 February 1865, p. 167, of the subscriptions being raised for a memorial of Hugh Falconer in the form of a marble bust. Falconer died on 31 January 1864 (DNB).
CD refers to Oswald Heer’s address to the Société Helvétique des Sciences Naturelles (Heer 1864). There is an annotated copy of Heer 1864 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
In his essay ‘Outlines of the distribution of Arctic plants’ (Hooker 1860), Hooker supported CD’s theory of plant migrations southward from the Arctic during a former cold period; CD used this theory to explain present distribution patterns of Arctic and alpine plants on isolated mountain tops and higher elevations in temperate and tropical regions (see Origin, pp. 365–82). Hooker’s observations led him to conclude that the Arctic flora as a whole was largely Scandinavian, and that this Scandinavian flora was of great antiquity and was more widely distributed over the globe than the other Arctic floras (Hooker 1860, pp. 251, 253, 258). See Correspondence vol. 10, letters to J. D. Hooker, 25 February [1862] and 7 March [1862], and letter from J. D. Hooker, 27 February 1862; see also Browne 1983, pp. 117–29, 133–5. For Heer’s statement that Scandinavia was a source for alpine plants of the northern hemisphere, see Heer 1864, pp. 24–6. On the back of Heer 1864, CD wrote: ‘Very good pamphlet with objections [to CD’s theory] very well put.— & forcible’.
CD refers to papers by Alfred Russel Wallace in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London and in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society on geographical distribution in the Malay Archipelago, where Wallace had made observations between 1854 and 1862 (Wallace 1862, 1863a, 1863b, 1863c, and 1864b). Wallace had sent these papers to CD in January (see letters from A. R. Wallace, 20 January 1865 and 31 January [1865]). See also C. H. Smith ed., 1991.
CD refers to the sixth edition of Charles Lyell’s Elements of geology (C. Lyell 1865), published in January 1865 (Publishers’ Circular, 1 February 1865, p. 60). Lyell had offered to send CD a copy of the book in his letter of 16 January 1865. There is an annotated copy of C. Lyell 1865 in the Darwin Library–Down (Marginalia 1: 524–5).
Hooker and George Bentham were already collaborating on a multi-volume work on systematic botany (Bentham and Hooker 1862–83).


Browne, Janet. 1983. The secular ark. Studies in the history of biogeography. New Haven, Conn., and London: Yale University Press.

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

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.

Heer, Oswald. 1864. Discours prononcé à l’ouverture de la 48e session de la Société Helvétique des Sciences Naturelles. N.p.: n.p. [Reprinted from Bibliothèque Universelle et Revue Suisse (Archives des sciences physiques et naturelles) n.s. 21: 335–69.]

‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’: On the character and hybrid-like nature of the offspring from the illegitimate unions of dimorphic and trimorphic plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 20 February 1868.] Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 10 (1869): 393–437.

Lyell, Charles. 1865. Elements of geology, or the ancient changes of the earth and its inhabitants as illustrated by geological monuments. 6th edition, revised. London: John Murray.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1862. List of birds from the Sula Islands (east of Celebes), with descriptions of the new species. [Read 13 January 1862.] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1862): 333–46.


Hildebrand has sent copy of his paper on Pulmonaria in Botanische Zeitung.

How much should CD contribute to Falconer’s bust?

Oswald Heer on alpine and Arctic floras.

A. R. Wallace on geographical distribution in Malay Archipelago.

Lyell’s new edition of Elements. Wishes someone would do a book like it on botany.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 261
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4772,” accessed on 10 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13