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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Henslow   22 November 1869

St John’s Parsonage | St John’s Wood

Nov. 22 /69

Dear Sir

Mr Henderson Junr. florist of S. Johns wood informed me that Lapageria rosea never sets seed unless artificially impregnated.1 The anthers cluster round the stigma & cover it with pollen; but it appears, from his account, to be powerless on the stigma of the same flower. I should be glad to know if this has been noticed by yrself or others. If not, it would seem to be another case analogous to Linum Grandifolium Passiflora sp. & other well known instances.2

Yrs truly | G Henslow


The reference is probably to Andrew Henderson of Henderson & Son, nurserymen, 3 Wellington Road NW (Post Office London directory 1869, and R. Desmond 1994). Joseph Dalton Hooker had advised CD to obtain Lapageria rosea, the Chilean bellflower, from this nursery in his letter of 9 [March] 1864 (Correspondence vol. 12).
CD described self-sterility in Linum in ‘Two forms in species of Linum. For self-sterility in Passiflora, see Scott 1864, Munro 1868, and Correspondence vols. 10 and 11. Linum grandifolium is an error for Linum grandiflorum.


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

Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

Munro, Robertson. 1868. On reproduction and cross-fertilisation of Passifloras. [Read 11 June 1868.] Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh 9: 299–402.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

‘Two forms in species of Linum’: On the existence of two forms, and on their reciprocal sexual relation, in several species of the genus Linum. By Charles Darwin. [Read 5 February 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): 69–83. [Collected papers 2: 93–105.]


Observations on fertilisation of Lapageria rosea by E. G. Henderson, florist of St John’s Wood.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
St John’s Wood
Source of text
DAR 166: 170
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7004,” accessed on 23 February 2020,

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