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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Traherne Moggridge   17 May [1865]1

14 Charles St. | Paddington

May 17

Dear Sir

I send by rail a few plants of Lythrum Græfferi which I procured from wet places at Mentone—2 The blossoming of this plant was so unusually late that I was unable to make any observations— I also enclose some bulbs of two species of Romulea.—3

Are you aware that Pulmonarias are dimorphic?—4

yours very sincerely | J. Traherne Moggridge

There are a few seeds & 3 plants of Primula marginata5


The year is established by the reference to Romulea (see n. 3, below).
CD had first obtained specimens of the trimorphic Lythrum graefferi in 1862 in order to compare it with L. salicaria (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to Daniel Oliver, [17 September 1862], and letter to J. D. Hooker, 6 October [1862]; the specimens are in DAR 142). He gave a brief description of the plant as having ‘a close general correspondence in structure’ with L. salicaria in ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria, pp. 189–90 (Collected papers 2: 123; see also Forms of flowers, p. 165). His notes on L. graefferi are in DAR 27.2: 40–2. CD continued to perform crossing experiments on L. salicaria from 1865 to 1867 in order to establish the relationship between ‘illegitimate unions’ and hybrids (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 December [1865] and nn. 5 and 6). See also letter to M. E. Wichura, 3 February [1865] and n. 9.
In July 1864, CD had asked Moggridge to send additional Romulea bulbs when he returned to Mentone the coming winter (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. T. Moggridge, 15 July 1864 and n. 2, and letter to J. T. Moggridge, 1[7] July 1864).
CD’s son William Erasmus Darwin had discovered dimorphism in Pulmonaria in May 1863 (see Correspondence vol. 11, letters from W. E. Darwin, 4 May [1863] and 8 May [1863]). CD and William made extensive observations on P. angustifolia in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12). CD’s notes on Pulmonaria are in DAR 110: A40–94 and B15–17. He discussed P. angustifolia in ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’, p. 431, and in Forms of flowers, pp. 104–10, 239, 252, and 287. CD and Moggridge first discussed dimorphism in July 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. T. Moggridge, 15 July 1864, and letter to J. T. Moggridge, 1[7] July 1864).
After an earlier examination of a short-styled specimen, CD had stated that there was ‘hardly any doubt’ that the species was dimorphic (‘Dimorphic condition in Primula, p. 81; Collected papers 2: 48). Moggridge had enclosed specimens of the two forms of Primula marginata in his letter of 15 July [1864] (Correspondence vol. 12; see also ibid., letter to J. T. Moggridge, 1[7] July [1864]). Moggridge described the species in Contributions to the flora of Mentone (Moggridge 1865–8, pl. 11).


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’: On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. By Charles Darwin. [Read 21 November 1861.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 77–96. [Collected papers 2: 45–63.]

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

‘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.

‘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.]


Sends fresh plants from France: Lythrum graefferi, Romulea.

Does CD know Pulmonaria is dimorphic?

Letter details

Letter no.
John Traherne Moggridge
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 202
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4835,” accessed on 18 May 2022,

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