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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Friedrich Hildebrand   3 July 1868


July 3d | 1868.

Dear and honoured Sir

after having received some days ago Prof. Bentham’s address to the Linn. Soc. sent by your kindness I got this morning two new papers of yours and I thank you very much for them.1 Also the first half of the second part of your work on domestication was forwarded to me from Stuttgart and I was quite astonished by the great mass of facts you have made out and the skill in ordering them.2 I feel very thankful to you to have mentioned my experiments on Corydalis and Primula so kindly; just yesterday I sent away an essay on the contrivances for fertilization in the Fumariaceae, but I fear that it will last some time before I can send you a copy.3 I enclose a specimen of Corydalis cava, that I have prepared for you this spring, perhaps you might like it as a proof of my results.—4 At the end of September I am going to live at Freiburg in Breisgau (Baden)5 were I have become professor of Botany at the University. I am very glad that I shall have now more opportunity in going on with my experiments but I fear that I shall not be able to use this opportunity in the first time, as I find that the botanical garden of Freiburg is quite in disorder. I shall wait some time before it is ordered and the obstinate gardener removed.6

Perhaps you will like to hear, that my old father,7 who has rather large estates and grounds in Pomerania has read some parts of your work on domestication with great pleasure and found a great many things proving true his observations.

Once more I give you my best thanks for sending me your papers and | remain | Dear Sir | yours | truly | Hildebrand

CD annotations

1.10 At the … (Baden) 1.11] scored red crayon


Hildebrand refers to George Bentham’s anniversary address to the Linnean Society, made on 25 May 1868 (Bentham 1868). Bentham referred to Hildebrand’s Geschlechter-verteilung bei den Pflanzen (Hildebrand 1867a) in Bentham 1868, pp. lxxiv–lxxv. Hildebrand had asked CD to send him his papers so that he could give an account of them in Botanische Zeitung (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 21 June 1864). The papers that CD sent were probably ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’ and ‘Specific difference in Primula: both papers were published in the June 1868 issue of the Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany). Hildebrand published a German summary of ‘Illegitimate offspring’ in Botanische Zeitung 40 (1868): 648–51, 666–9, 684–6; he did not review or translate ‘Specific difference in Primula. No letter from CD accompanying the enclosures has been found.
The German translation of Variation, Carus trans. 1868, was published by E. Schweizerbart’sche Buchhandlung in Stuttgart. Hildebrand’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for this edition (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV).
CD discussed Hildebrand’s observations on Primula sinensis and Corydalis cava in Variation 2: 132–3. CD said that if it had not been for Hildebrand’s work he would not have noticed hermaphrodite plants that nevertheless required to be crossed. Hildebrand’s paper on the Fumariaceae was published in Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Botanik (Hildebrand 1870).
Accompanying the letter is a specimen pressed to a piece of paper (DAR 166: 209/1): some fragments of the specimen survive. Some flowers are annotated ‘a’ and some ‘b’; beside the specimen is written: Corydalis cava a: impollinized with its own pollen b: impollinized with pollen of another individuum. April. 1868. See plate facing p. 822.
Freiburg im Breisgau is in the former German state of Baden (now Baden-Württemberg).
The obstinate gardener has not been identified.
Friedrich Hildebrand Sr.


Bentham, George. 1868. Anniversary address. [Read 25 May 1868.] Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (1867–8): lvii–c.

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

‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’: On the character and hybrid-like nature of the offspring from the illegitimate unions of dimorphic and trimorphic plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 20 February 1868.] Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 10 (1869): 393–437.

‘Specific difference in Primula’: On the specific difference between Primula veris, Brit. Fl. (var. officinalis of Linn.), P. vulgaris, Brit. Fl. (var. acaulis, Linn.), and P. elatior, Jacq.; and on the hybrid nature of the common oxlip. With supplementary remarks on naturally produced hybrids in the genus Verbascum. By Charles Darwin. [Read 19 March 1868.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 10 (1869): 437–54.

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


Thanks CD for mentioning his Corydalis and Primula experiments in Variation.

Has become Professor of Botany at Freiburg.

Encloses specimen of Corydalis cava.

Letter details

Letter no.
Friedrich Hermann Gustav (Friedrich) Hildebrand
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 209
Physical description
3pp † enc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6267,” accessed on 21 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16