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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [18 June 1866]1



My Dear Father,

I send you the 3 kinds of Buckthorn.2 I went to the place yesterday, and marked some shrubs, there seemed about as many female trees, as there were of the other two put together   As soon as I have examined pollen etc of the two I will let you know.

Your affect son W E Darwin

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘[Abord ] | abort [ovules] | 12 [fms]red crayon 3
Verso: ‘barely 127000 [altho looks] beautifully [impressive] | 127000 or 12–13/7000 middle sp p’ pencil 4


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 19 [June 1866]. In 1866, 18 June was the Monday before 19 June.
William had promised to send specimens of the different flowers produced by Rhamnus cathartica (buckthorn) from the Isle of Wight (see letter from W. E. Darwin, [7 May – 11 June 1866] and n. 3). William and CD initially thought that the species might have hermaphrodite, as well as male and female forms; however, they later determined that the plant had two male and two female forms (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 19 [June 1866] and n. 4, and letter from W. E. Darwin, 20 June [1866] and n. 6).
CD described the partially aborted pistil in the male flowers of Rhamnus cathartica in a note dated 19 June 1866 in DAR 109: A41. See letter to W. E. Darwin, 19 [June 1866] and n. 4.
These annotations refer to the size in inches of pollen-grains in the different flower forms of Rhamnus cathartica. See letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 June [1866].


Sends some specimens of three kinds of buckthorn.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 109: A70
Physical description
ALS 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5109,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14