skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Daniel Oliver   9 June 1866

Royal Gardens Kew

June 9/1866

My dear Sir/

Your plant is, I think, Anchusa italica 1

Schacht’s ‘Lehrbuch2 I am afraid you will not find at Linn. Soc. If you think it worth while referring to I suppose we might make an exception again to our stringent rule about lending books!3

very sincerely yrs | Dl. Oliver


Anchusa italica ( a synonym of A. azurea var. azurea) is a Mediterranean herbaceous perennial that was introduced to British gardens in the nineteenth century (Coats 1968, pp. 15–17). CD evidently enclosed a request for Oliver to identify the plant in his letter to J. D. Hooker, [4 June 1866].
Oliver refers to the Lehrbuch der Anatomie und Physiologie der Gewächse (Textbook on the anatomy and physiology of perennials) by Hermann Schacht (Schacht 1856–9). In his chapter on pangenesis in Variation 2: 384, CD cited Schacht 1856–9, 2: 12, on ‘adventitious buds’, which CD said might be formed ‘almost anywhere’ in plants.
CD occasionally requested books from the library of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, when he was unable to obtain a copy from the Linnean Society (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 8, letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 November [1860]).


Coats, Alice Margaret. 1968. Flowers and their histories. London: Adam & Charles Black.

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

Schacht, Hermann. 1856–9. Lehrbuch der Anatomie und Physiologie der Gewächse. 2 vols. Berlin: G. W. F. Müller.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Identifies a plant.

CD will not find Hermann Schacht’s Lehrbuch [der Anatomie und Physiologie der Gewächse (1856–9)] at the Linnean Society Library.

Letter details

Letter no.
Daniel Oliver
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 173: 32
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5116,” accessed on 19 April 2024,

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