skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Rivers   9 September 1867

Nurseries, Sawbridgeworth, Herts.1

Sep 9/67

My Dear Sir/.

I am tempted to submit to you the result of a curious cross in peaches.

Some three years since my son wishing to raise, a fine peach with fine flowers, took some pollen from that brilliant beautiful variety the “Double Crimson Chinese peach” & fertilised carefully (ie removing the stamens from the female parent) some flowers of a variety called Leopold the 1st.2 this is a very large melting peach giving large pale flowers. Last spring one of the seedlings raised from the crossed flowers blossomed & to our surprise gave no sign of change, for its flowers were large & pale like its female parent, this tree escaped notice till very recently when it was found full of Almond-like fruit their pulp even harder & more almond-like than those given by the male parent the Double Crimson Chinese Peach.

I enclose two fruit

No. 1 is the seedling raised from the fertilised flowers

No. 2 is the fruit of the Double Crimson Peach the male parent of No. 1

The force of the male in making a fine large peach into a fruit more almond-like than itself is to me most surprising

Pray forgive my intrusion   I am looking anxiously for your new book3

I am My Dr Sir | Yrs. very truly | Thos. Rivers


The location of Rivers’s nursery is followed on the letterhead by: ‘Harlow Station is the most convenient for passengers. | Great Eastern Railway’.
Rivers’s son, Thomas Francis Rivers, developed several new varieties of peach and other soft fruit for the commercial market (Journal of Horticulture 39 (1899): 161–2).
Rivers refers to Variation; CD discussed Rivers’s observations on the relationship between the peach and the almond in Variation 1: 338–9 (see also Correspondence vols. 11 and 13).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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


Reports on a curious cross in peach varieties, in which the male made a firm large peach into a fruit more almond-like than itself.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Rivers
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 171
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5624,” accessed on 1 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15