skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Maw   18 June 1866

Benthall Hall, | nr. Broseley.

June 18th. 1866.

Dear Sir

Some months ago you asked me whether any examples of bud sports had come under my notice1 & think therefore you will like to have the accompanying fragment of a Fern-leaved Beech bearing a branch of the ordinary form of foliage2   It is from the garden of Mr W De Crewdson of Helme Lodge Nr Kendal3   The tree I am informed is about twenty years old, an occasional leaf of intermediate character occurs here & there, but for the most part the branches bearing the two forms are well marked & distinct.

Believe me Dr Sir | very truly yrs | George Maw

C Darwin Esq.


The letter to Maw has not been found. CD had written to several correspondents in March and April for information on bud variations in which characteristics of parent or ancestral species appeared either in pure or blended form (see letter to Robert Caspary, 4 March 1866, letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1866], and letter to Asa Gray, 16 April [1866]).
Maw refers to Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’, a graft hybrid that bears both fern-like leaves and normal leaves of the species. Adventitious buds often give rise to shoots bearing normal leaves, and intermediate forms of leaves may also occur (A. Mitchell 1996, p. 233). For CD’s interest in graft hybrids, see the letter to Thomas Rivers, 27 April [1866] and n. 4.
William Dilwerth Crewsden resided at Helm Lodge, Kendal, Westmorland (Post Office directory of Northumberland).


Mitchell, Alan. 1996. Alan Mitchell’s trees of Britain. London: HarperCollins.

Post Office directory of Northumberland: Post Office directory of Westmoreland, Cumberland, Northumberland, and Durham. London: Kelly and Co. 1858.


In response to CD’s request for bud-sports, he sends a piece of a fern-leaved beech.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Maw
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Benthall Hall
Source of text
DAR 171: 101
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5124,” accessed on 17 October 2019,

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