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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Henslow   25 September 1869

St John’s Parsonage | St John’s Wood

Sep 25 /69

Dear Mr Darwin.

Many thanks for the pamphlet sent, & duly received—on additions to fertility of Orchids;1 & which has interested me much. I must apologize for not having returned a paper on Phyllotaxis. I cannot understand part of it at all; viz: about the “rectangle” & the letters to the fig I found are wrong in some places.2 Though the rest of the paper is interesting.

I beg to send you a copy of my Expression on same subject.3

Hoping you are in good health | believe me | yrs very truly | Geo Henslow

Ch Darwin Esq


The reference is to ‘Fertilization of orchids’.
Henslow refers to C. de Candolle 1865. See C. de Candolle 1865, p. 208, for the ‘rectangle’ and p. 205 for the figure. CD’s annotated copy, a separately paginated offprint, is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. For CD’s own interest in phyllotaxy, see Correspondence vol. 11.
Henslow had presented a paper on phyllotaxy at the Linnean Society in April 1868 (Henslow 1868). See also Correspondence vol. 16, letter from George Henslow, 13 April 1868.


Candolle, Casimir de. 1865. Théorie de l’angle unique en phyllotaxie. Bibliothèque universelle et revue Suisse. Archives des sciences physiques et naturelles 23: 199–212.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

‘Fertilization of orchids’: Notes on the fertilization of orchids. By Charles Darwin. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4th ser. 4 (1869): 141–59. [Collected papers 2: 138–56.]


Thanks for a paper on phyllotaxy.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
St John’s Wood
Source of text
DAR 166: 169
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6909,” accessed on 22 October 2019,

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