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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   21 June [1866]1


June 21

My Dear Father,

I send 2 females with outlines of my sketches, the 4 females outlined are from 4 different trees.2

I have all particulars down about them if you care for them.

I should it say it certainly was case of dimorphic become diœcious3

Broomfield says “dioecious said to be polygamous”.4


CD annotations

1.1 4 females] ‘flowers’ added pencil; erased
End of letter: ‘Primordial’5 pencil


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Darwin, 20 June [1866].
William’s original sketches of Rhamnus cathartica, together with extensive notes on each specimen, are in DAR 186: 43.
William refers to the description of Rhamnus cathartica in Bromfield 1856, a flora of the Isle of Wight. The description reads: ‘dioecious, or sometimes, it is said, polygamous’ (Bromfield 1856, p. 107).


Bromfield, William Arnold. 1856. Flora Vectensis: being a systematic description of the phænogamous or flowering plants and ferns indigenous to the Isle of Wight. Edited by William Jackson Hooker and Thomas Bell Salter. London: William Pamplin.


"It [Rhamnus catharticus?] is certainly a case of dimorphic become dioecious."

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 109: A80
Physical description
AL 2pp inc †, sketch †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5129,” accessed on 19 April 2024,

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