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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Maw   13 January 1869

Down. | Bromley. | Kent.

Jan. 13. 1869.

My dear Sir,

I am very much obliged for your kindness in offering to observe anything for me in your tour, which I hope will be in every way successful.1

There are two points, but it is a thousand to one against your being able to aid me.

The rams alone of Merino sheep have horns, and I want much to know how many months or weeks after birth the horns appear. The answer would be much more useful, if there exists in the same country a breed of sheep with both sexes horned, and if I could learn how many months after birth the horns in such breeds first appear.2

Secondly I have wished during many years for a living specimen of the Drosophyllum; I know that it grows near Gibraltar, but as it is rare my wish to compare it with Drosera is I fear quite hopeless.3

Many thanks for your Memoir which relates to a subject that formerly interested me greatly.

The illustrations are admirable and must have put you to much expense and the whole subject cost much labour.4

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


For more on CD’s interest in merino sheep, see the letter to J. V. Carus, 5 January 1869.
Drosophyllum is a genus of insectivorous plants; D. lusitanicum (the Portuguese dewy pine) is the only species. It is found in parts of Portugal, Spain, and northern Morocco. CD first began experiments on Drosera rotundifolia (the common sundew) in the summer of 1860, and worked on other species of that genus as well (see Correspondence vol. 8). He had advised Joseph Dalton Hooker to acquire a specimen of Drosophyllum as early as 1864, but Hooker was evidently unsuccessful (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 November [1864] and n. 15).
See letter from George Maw, 9 January 1869 and n. 2. Maw 1868 contains five pages of coloured illustrations showing the disposition of iron in variegated strata.


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

Maw, George. 1868. On the disposition of iron in variegated strata. [Read 22 April 1868.] Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 24: 351–400.


Thanks GM for offer of observations. Would be interested to know when the horns of merino rams first appear,

and has long wished for living specimens of Drosophyllum.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Maw
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Library (MAW/1/14)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6552,” accessed on 18 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17